In this model, an existing chapter adds a school of nursing to its existing charter. This process is called an amendment. There is an application and review process for amending a charter. The process is somewhat faster than chartering a new chapter because the Sigma Board of Directors gives final approval for amending a chapter’s charter.
In 2011, Sigma approved a new procedure for adding additional schools of nursing to an existing chapter to form an at-large chapter. Groups wishing to join an existing chapter are no longer required to form an independent honor society and operate for a full year. They may simply follow the suggested process for establishing a collaborative relationship and then operate as a prospective at-large chapter for 6-12 months. Once the groups can demonstrate a collaborative history according to the suggested guidelines, they may complete the Chapter Charter Amendment online application.
The existing chapter’s leaders and members must approve the addition of the school(s). All schools that join with the existing chapter must meet the same minimum requirements for Sigma affiliation:
- School of nursing grants a minimum of a baccalaureate or equivalent degree.
- If the school offers a degree that is not called a baccalaureate degree but may be equivalent, send a copy of the curriculum to staff for review by the Sigma Governance Committee.
- School of nursing’s programs are accredited by an appropriate accrediting agency recognized by the Sigma Governance Committee.
- For groups within North America, the accrediting agencies would include NLNAC, CCNE, or ACNE.
- For groups outside North America, please contact Sigma staff.
- University administration and school of nursing officials must agree to support a Sigma chapter at the institution of higher education.
Benefits of choosing this model include:
- Larger membership
- More potential volunteers/chapter leaders
- More financial resources
Challenges to choosing this model include:
- More logistical issues for meetings and events
- More planning and communications required for elections, leadership, transition, programming, member communications, and finances
- Depending on how far apart the institutions of higher education are, each school of nursing may need to have events at their campuses in addition to larger, chapter-wide activities
- Some members may not want to participate in activities that involve significant travel away from their own school