Frequently Asked Questions
I am interested in establishing an Alpha Epsilon Lambda chapter on our campus. Can a chapter be established under my direction and once established, invite students, meeting the criteria, to join?
You may serve as the initial faculty advisor and organizer. Ideally, you should identify one of your initiates as the founding president. This should be someone who can assist you in getting the chapter started.
Can a faculty member (graduate school dean or associate dean) lead and manage an AEL chapter on a continuing basis?
Yes, provided that the faculty member is named as an Honorary Member of the chapter and therefore becomes eligible to serve as chapter president. Students should be elected as vice president and secretary- treasurer even if administration and financial duties are managed by graduate school support staff. University career staff who provide these support services to the chapter over many years may also be named as Honorary Members of the Chapter. They would therefore become eligible to serve as secretary- treasurer, but not as vice president or president.
Can the Chapter President signature on certificates be digitally added?
Yes, simply provide AEL with a transparent, high-quality digital signature file and your chapter's certificates can be printed to include this signature. This is helpful for chapters with a large number of inductees.
What qualifications do I need to become a member?
Minimum requirements for membership in Alpha Epsilon Lambda include:
1) completion of at least 12 credit hours as a degree-seeking student in a graduate program
2) Academic Members must demonstratea grade point average placing the student in the top 35% of campus graduate students, and
3) Leadership Members must demonstrate a record of leadership and service to graduate students or graduate student organizations as an elected officer
4) National Member, International Member, Fellow, Governing Member, and Honorary Member are additional distinctions awarded by Alpha Epsilon Lambda.
Is eligibility based on whether the student is in the top 35% among other graduate students in his/her department or in the top 35% among ALL graduate students in the University?
The 35% criterion is intentionally ambiguous. You have the flexibility to choose the peer grouping that matches your ability to measure and evaluate. Leadership qualifications are checked more carefully.
Is it permissible to have more than 10 charter members for the installation meeting?
Yes, as many as you please. One chapter started with over 50 members.
What are the fees required for AEL Membership?
National Induction fee is $25.00 per student for a lifetime membership. This includes a certificate and pin.
Who attends/participates in the installation ceremony?
Typically you invite your graduate school dean and others recommended by your faculty advisor and founding president. We have example ceremony programs which can be sent to you. Some may even be posted to the web page.
How do I apply to become a Member of Alpha Epsilon Lambda?
An applicant campus must identify a qualified student to complete the Chapter Establishment Procedures. AEL recognizes this student as the founding president until an election is held at the chapter installation ceremony.
The founding president submits a Notice of Intent to the AEL National Headquarters which identifies the founder and includes his or her qualifications summary. AEL sends an acknowledgement of its receipt upon certification of the founder's qualifications for AEL membership.
Upon receipt of notice of approval from AEL, the chapter organizes and conducts a formal installation ceremony for the chapter charter members and faculty advisor. When possible, the AEL National Headquarters sends an officer to the chapter installation ceremony. The chapter is asked to send a chapter representative to the next AEL meeting for recognition of the new chapter.
Who determines membership to AEL?
The AEL national headquarters determines Charter membership and National Honorary membership. When a chapter has been established, they determine Academic Members and Honorary Members. Chapters may nominate Leadership Members, but these are subject to AEL national headquarters review and approval.
How often is a National Meeting held?
National meetings are required at least once every five years.
Does AEL hold regional meetings? If so, how often?
AEL has held informal regional meetings as part of the national and regional conferences of NAGPS. These are primarily social events rather than business meetings.
Are name, insignia, and publication trademarked, patented and registered?
How are National Officers elected?
AEL's national executive officers (President and Vice President) are elected by the Governing Members. The Board of Directors elects the staff/corporate officers (Executive Director and Secretary-Treasurer). The Board of Directors is composed of AEL's executive and staff officers (President, Vice President, Executive Director, Secretary-Treasurer) and at least one at-large Governing Member.
Is AEL incorporated?
Yes, AEL incorporated on May 23, 1991 in the State of Florida.
How does AEL assure that chapters maintain scholastic standards?
AEL requires that each chapter adopt and follow a constitution that dictates the academic qualifications for membership. Faculty advisors (typically the campus graduate school dean) assist chapter officers in the selection process. Failure to adhere to the required academic standards can result in revocation of the chapter charter. The AEL national headquarters (President and Executive Directors) evaluate all charter member applications and approve only those students qualified as chapter members. The average rejection rate is 50%. Typically, all applicants meet the 35% academic criteria but many charter applicants do not meet the leadership and service requirements of AEL.
How does AEL monitor and discipline chapters for failure to meet financial commitments and minimum standards?
Chapters may nominate Leadership Members, but these are subject to AEL national headquarters review and approval. If dues are not paid in a timely manner the chapter's faculty advisor or graduate school dean is notified. AEL reviews Leadership Member applications from each chapter to verify nominees meet leadership standards.. If a chapter becomes inactive, again the faculty advisor or graduate school dean is notified. The AEL national headquarters is available to assist in revitalizing an inactive chapter by providing communications and membership recruitment support.
Can chapters assess additional fees for AEL?
The national office requires that local chapter dues not exceed the national dues rate. The chapters may charge an additional banquet to cover meal costs.
How many members are registered with AEL?
There are 46 established chapters and over 15000 members recorded for AEL.
How much time is needed to order pins, certificates, and cords for new inductees?
Orders should be placed 10 to 14 days prior to the shipping deadline. We ship orders via USPS Priority or by Express Mail on shorter deadlines.
How are chapter's initial student members selected? By whom?
A "Founding President" initiates the process by submitting a Notice of Intent form which includes his or her qualifications summary. If judged qualified by AEL, this individual becomes the authorized agent to pursue the Chapter establishment process. The steps are outlined at http://gradschools.org/?page=start.
The Founding President then assembles a list of Charter Member candidates and submits their qualification forms to AEL office for review and approval. We recommend that the founding president pre-screen the candidates to avoid a large number of candidate rejections. In parallel the founding president drafts all required governance documents and identifies a Faculty Advisor. The Charter is issued in the name of the university and lists the names of approved Charter Members, Founding President, and Faculty Advisor.
The national office reviews qualifications only for the first group of Charter Members.
After that point the discretion in selecting Academic Members and Honorary Members, within the limits of the AEL Constitution and Bylaws, is a matter for local consideration. Chapters have the flexibility to use department, college or university-level comparisons as a basis for meeting the 35% criteria. Chapter Leadership Members nominated by the chapter are subject to AEL national headquarters review and approval.
Is the society school or student based? Who holds the Charter?
The Chapter exists as a registered student organization at the university. The Chapter officers are students or Honorary Members.
What schools are members of AEL?
We have a list of chapters on the web site at http://www.gradschools.org/?page=certificate within the drop menu option.
Can one simply become a member of the national body if there is no chapter present at ones university?
AEL can award a special membership to students at campuses where there is not an AEL chapter. This category is called National Member or International Member. This membership classification is typically reserved for graduate students who serve as executive officers of their campus graduate student organization. Applicants should submit a resume for our review to determine if they qualify. The National Member application forms are available at http://gradschools.org/?page=national_member_applications.
But for the applicants qualifying only for the Academic Member or Leadership Member categories, an AEL Chapter must be established at their campus.
What is a typical GPA?
There is no typical GPA. Each university Chapter must work with the graduate school records office to determine the 35% level.
Is this society by invite only?
The AEL National Headquarters must approve the group of Charter Members to get the Chapter started. We also must approve all Chapter nominees for Leadership Member status.
The chapter officers are usually responsible for the membership selection process. Typically the officers obtain from the university a mailing list of the students with a GPA greater than 3.20 or whatever threshold represents the top 35 percentile. Afterwards, they mail these students an invitation letter along with an application to join AEL. Sometimes the graduate school does the mailing for the Chapter.
Chapters are required to personally invite officers of campuswide graduate student organizations to submit applications.
Does AEL have an official color scheme?
Yes, AEL's official colors are silver and crimson.