Phi Theta Kappa Middle States Regional Coordinator Honored with Community College Spirit Award
On June 16, during its annual New Jersey Community College Awards Ceremony, the New Jersey Council of County Colleges presented the 2014 Community College Spirit Award to Phi Theta Kappa Middle States Region Coordinator Pattie Van Atter for her exemplary service to New Jersey’s community colleges.
“Since its inauguration in 1993, the Community College Spirit Award has been an honor bestowed to those who embody the community college spirit – perseverance, dedication and excellence,” said NJCCC Chairman Bakari G. Lee, Esq.
Van Atter, of Sicklerville, was recognized for her work in leading New Jersey’s 19 community college Phi Theta Kappa Chapters to develop and implement the New Jersey Community College Completion Challenge (NJC4), a series of campus-based events that took place in October 2013 to raise awareness about the importance of completing associate degree and certificate programs. New Jersey was the first state in the country to have a statewide completion challenge event involving all of its community colleges.
NJC4, which was also sponsored by the New Jersey Education Association, aimed to get students to sign pledges that they would complete their degrees and certificates so that they would be prepared to transfer to a four-year college or university or enter the workforce. In addition, faculty and staff members signed completion champion pledges to serve as mentors to students. In all, 11,525 students signed pledges to complete their degrees and certificates and 5,679 faculty and staff members signed completion champion pledges. In addition, Van Atter was asked to lead a national presentation on NJC4 at the Phi Theta Kappa Convention in Orlando, FL in April, and is co-authoring the “how to” guide for other states to conduct similar events.
Van Atter, who is the coordinator of instructional support services at Delaware Technical and Community College’s Wilmington Campus, is a graduate of Gloucester County College and was inducted into the Alpha Psi Pi Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa in October 1998. She was named to the 2000 New Jersey All-State Academic Team and was awarded the President’s Medallion of Service and Leadership. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Temple University on a Phi Theta Kappa scholarship, and became a charter member of the Phi Theta Kappa Middle States Regional Alumni Association, where she served as president from 2003 to 2004.
In 2004, she was elected to the Phi Theta Kappa Alumni Advisory Council. In 2007, she was appointed by Phi Theta Kappa Executive Director Dr. Rod Risley to serve a three-year term on the board and in 2010, was appointed to serve as chair for the Alumni Advisory Council. Van Atter was appointed Phi Theta Kappa Middle State Region Coordinator in 2012.
In April 2014, the Middle States Region was awarded the Phi Theta Kappa Distinguished Region Award. The Distinguished Region Award recognizes achievements of regions in areas of programming and organizational structure. Criteria include quality of regional programming, especially demonstrated leadership and/or Honors in Action programming at regional meetings; overall strength of chapters in the region; membership growth; and the quantity and quality of chapter participation in such programming as the Five Star Chapter Plan and Hallmark Awards.