By HQ Staff

On January 5, 1996, Phi Kappa Psi launched the President’s Leadership Academy (PLA) at the Hickory Ridge Conference Center in Lisle, Illinois, with 32 chapter presidents. PLA was a revolutionary program, offering participants an intensive and interactive leadership development experience. The goal was to prepare Phi Psi officers to lead their chapters — with consistency.

Over the last 28 years, much has changed within Phi Kappa Psi, the fraternity/sorority industry and society. Fraternity membership is up 66%, advances in technology have changed how we consume information and the needs of undergraduate students have evolved. The result is a renewed approach to core Phi Psi programming.

Introducing Compass, Phi Kappa Psi’s online learning management system. Adopted in 2021, Compass allows the Fraternity to provide rudimentary education and training to the entire active membership with the click of a mouse or tap of a finger. The modules housed on Compass deliver consistent messaging, can be accessed anywhere the internet is available and at any time, and cost just cents on the dollar compared to previous in-person counterparts. 

The first two steps in extending online programming to members have already taken place. In the fall of 2021, Phi Psi launched its first online training modules designed to familiarize new chapter officers and committee chairs with their roles within the chapter. Collectively known as Ascend, the program builds a foundation of fundamental leadership skills and then targets officer-specific responsibilities for each role. 

The second online program, Embark, was unveiled in August 2023. Embark is the Fraternity’s hybrid new member education program. The online modules were designed to supplement in-person meetings led by the chapter’s Fraternity Educator with new member classes. Embark offers modules on Phi Kappa Psi history, the history of fraternities and sororities, an introduction to leadership, values-based living and various cultural awareness topics. The goal of Embark is to prepare members for an impactful and developmental lifelong membership in Phi Kappa Psi. 

While in-person experiences remain a critical aspect of the Phi Psi programming model, there has been an expanded focus on creating leadership and educational opportunities that all members of the Fraternity have access to.

Online programs like Embark and Ascend ensure that every member of a chapter can receive consistent education and training during their Phi Kappa Psi journey. Members engage at a pace that is suitable for them, and each module includes features like closed captioning and scripts to better support members with hearing difficulties or those who learn better through reading. The content is available year-round instead of participants missing potential training opportunities that are only in person once or twice per year. As soon as participants take on an officer role, they can access their training to best prepare themselves for the role as opposed to waiting until an in-person experience is offered. 

The Programming Team at Phi Kappa Psi aspires to develop additional modules that enhance skills and further educate both undergraduate and alumni members on various topics that can contribute to wholistic development of all Phi Psis. We want Phi Psi to continue to be an asset to members up until and after graduation, so if you’re interested in learning more about future endeavors and how to contribute, please contact