One of Phi Theta Kappa’s primary goals is to provide leadership opportunities for student members, so retaining student participation — which included hearing from the 2019-20 international student officers — was a priority for its virtual event.
When it became clear that Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society (PTK), the official honor society for two-year colleges, couldn’t safely hold its 2020 annual convention as planned — in person in Dallas in April — canceling it didn’t seem like the best course for the organization.
The annual convention, which typically has taken place over three days and draws approximately 3,500 college students, faculty, and administrators, “is tied to nearly everything we do as an organization throughout the year,” said Lynn Tincher-Ladner, Ph.D., Phi Theta Kappa’s president and CEO. “We were determined to host the event in some form.”
But what format? In creating PTK Catalyst 2020, held April 16-17, as a virtual event, staff were guided by three questions, said Erin Cogswell, PTK’s public relations and content coordinator:
1. How do we translate content to a virtual platform?
“Evaluating your content is imperative,” Cogswell said. Audience attention spans are shorter, and content is experienced much differently. As PTK converted its three-day conference to a two-day virtual event, it concentrated on the content most important to participants and sponsors, she said. “We made tough decisions to condense 10 hours of ballroom content down to just three or four hours.” Phi Theta Kappa’s primary goals are to provide scholarships and leadership opportunities for student members, so retaining student participation and recognition were priorities.