Standards of Excellence

The Standards of Excellence program has been a staple of ZBT for years, used as a benchmark for chapter performance and a guide in determining award winners at the Fraternity’s International Convention. Now, the program has been modernized to meet the needs of chapters, colonies and the individuals who review and score submissions.

The submission portal for 2020 has closed.

COVID-19 Update: ZBT staff is committed to accommodating your chapter’s COVID-19 situation, including submissions for Standards of Excellence. Both the Accreditation Checklist and Full Details documents have been reviewed and annotated in red with guidance for completion as best possible for all chapters. The process remains the same, including chapter-submitted materials which should reflect your year overall. Plans for events which have been delayed should be submitted, anything tied to your year prior to COVID-19 adjustments should be accounted for in your submissions. If you would like to discuss your chapter’s situation or have any questions regarding certain criteria and their application through the end of the academic year, please contact Brian Hoffman.

The purpose of the Standards of Excellence program is to create strong chapters with a clear and consistent understanding of the expectations of the ZBT experience. The Fraternity has identified 11 areas of emphasis, with 16 minimum accreditation standards and 101 additional standards; chapters must earn at least 12 of 16 accreditation points to be eligible for Fraternity awards, while the additional standards highlight chapter accomplishments and best practices. Only chapters which meet the accreditation minimum (12 of 16) will be eligible for awards.

The 11 areas of emphasis are:
• Academics
• Heritage
• Alumni and Parent Engagement
• Operations
• Campus Involvement
• Recruitment
• Conduct and Risk Prevention
• Ritual
• Education
• Service and Philanthropy
• Finances

This video outlines navigating the revised guidelines for submitting SOE materials.

The submission process has again been simplified to provide a larger window and offer increased transparency in scoring discussions. For appropriate criteria, standardized forms have also been created which should be used for corresponding areas. As a reminder, each submission should include any relevant supporting documentation, such as philanthropic contribution receipts, meeting minutes, retreat agendas, event pictures, etc. Submissions will not receive credit if they have insufficient supporting documentation, such as “we did this” or no evidence of an event or policy.

The submission portal is open from September 1, 2019 through May 3, 2020, with chapters able to submit materials on an rolling basis by criteria or as a bulk upload for the entire section. There will be an appeals window to review submissions with staff in mid-May.

The Fraternity recognizes the reporting process and required accreditation criteria are adjustments for chapters; similarly, there is a level of understanding required between Fraternity initiatives and chapter implementation. Further, the Fraternity recognizes there are unique challenges or circumstances on all campuses, and that no two chapters are the same. However, to be a representative chapter of Zeta Beta Tau, certain benchmarks must be met. Failure to meet the minimum level of accreditation will result in progressive accountability for the chapter.

Year One Non-Accredited:

  • The chapter will work with staff to create a development plan to meet the minimum accreditation level.
  • The chapter will receive a priority visit from staff early in the academic year to review implementation of the plan.
  • The chapter will be placed on a “watch” list for all non-accredited areas.

Year Two Non-Accredited:

  • The development plan will be reviewed and revised as appropriate, keeping the chapter on the “watch” list for all non-accredited areas.
  • The chapter will receive a priority visit from a senior staff member at the start of the academic year and its leadership and advisors will receive specific training surrounding chapter operations and expectations.

Year Three Non-Accredited:

  • The chapter will be audited by the Fraternity staff and may need to present a “show cause” to the Supreme Council.
  • The chapter will be placed on a probationary status and must meet the minimum standards for at least one year following the audit to regain good standing.
  • Visits to the chapter will remain at high priority level for up to two academic years.

Learn more about Chapter AwardsIndividual Award winners and Special Award honors and past recipients.