The History and Bright Future of Chi-At-Large Chapter: One School Becomes Five Working Together, Combining Strength & Resources!
The Chi Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) originated in 1962 at the College of St. Catherine (CSC).
In 1986, St. Catherine's and two other nursing programs - Gustavus Adolphus College (GAC) and St. Olaf College (SOC) - united to form the innovative Minnesota Intercollegiate Nursing Consortium (MINC), a coalition partnership intended to maximize the resources of the three colleges for all of their students. MINC was approved as a single program by the National League of Nursing in October 1987. In February 1988, MINC formally applied to STTI to change Chi chapter to represent and include the new single consortium program. The goal was to have the change in place before MINC graduated its first class in 1990.
This led to much discussion at STTI because this was a unique request that had never occurred in the history of the organization, and no process existed to guide a decision. STTI sent a representative to conduct a site visit September 25-26, 1989. The representative met with college officials from the three MINC schools, Chi chapter officers, Chi Faculty Counselor Lois Devereaux, Chi chapter members, MINC Director Dorothy Mrkonich, MINC faculty, and conducted a review of chapter records. The request to transfer the Chi Chapter (CSC) to Chi Chapter (MINC) was approved at the 30th Biennial Conference of Sigma Theta Tau International in November, 1989.
In 1991 CSC announced intent to withdraw from MINC. GAC and SOC announced MINC would continue with two cooperating schools. This necessitated another change to Chi Chapter since the chapter was now sponsored by MINC and would leave CSC without a STTI chapter. Work on this process began immediately so that no students from any of the three schools would lose opportunity for STTI membership.
In February 1993, the STTI Board of Directors approved conditional approval of the Chi Chapter petition to become a chapter at large with CSC, GAC and SOC as named schools with the granting of the charter amendment contingent upon NLN accreditation of the re-established independent nursing program at CSC. CSC was accredited in fall 1993 and the charter amendment process proceeded.
The Chapter Amendment Chartering Ceremony was held Thursday, April 14, 1994, from 7-10pm in East Marian Lounge of St. Joseph's Hall at the College of St. Catherine. Chi Chapter (MINC) became Chi-at-Large Chapter (CSC, GAC, SOC). Betsy Farley (GAC Class of '91 graduate) was Chi Chapter President at this time. Brenda Canedy, past Chapter President, and Lois Devereaux - both CSC faculty - were instrumental in leading this effort. Nell J. Watts, RN MS, FAAN, and past Executive Officer of STTI from 1974-1993 was the STTI chartering officer and speaker. This distinguished speaker was one of our nation's leading nursing visionaries at this time.
In 2005, Chi-At-Large began an exciting new chapter of its history when it expanded again! This time, Bethel University was welcomed as a member school into the chapter. The Chapter Amendment Chartering Ceremony was held in November 2005 at Bethel University.
After the STTI Leadership Conference in Atlanta in April 2010, Globe University/Minnesota School of Business (GU/MSB) began its process of starting its own STTI chapter. The majority of faculty were already STTI members, including: Ellen Eichten (CSC Class of '70 graduate), Faye Uppman, co-chair of the Minnesota Association of Colleges of Nurses (MACN), Judy Pechacek (Chief Nursing Officer of Fairview Southdale Hospital), Sharon Stanke (Twin Cities Health Professionals [TCHP] Educator of the Year 2009) and Raney Linck, who was encouraged by STTI staff at the Atlanta Leadership Conference to begin MSB's journey to chapter membership.
GU/MSB founded its own nursing honor society chapter in June 2010, and immediately began working cooperatively with Chi-At-Large. A joint service project for Feed My Starving Children brought the two groups together for the first time on June 24, 2010, which was a huge success. Further cooperation lead all parties to see the exciting possibilities of working more closely together in the future.
In November 2010, another milestone in Chi-At-Large history was reached when the Chi-At-Large Board of Directors voted to invite the GU/MSB program to become a member in the chapter. In September 2011, the membership voted to amend the chapter's bylaws to formally add GU/MSB. On March 1, 2011, a formal Charter Amendment application was sent to the international headquarters. On June 2, the International STTI Board approved the addition of GU/MSB. The process will be complete with a new Charter Amendment Ceremony in the fall - tentatively on Nov. 3, 2012 at St. Olaf College.