Establishing a Local Chapter
Local chapters are the backbone of Pi Alpha Alpha: it is through the programming of local chapters that Pi Alpha Alpha promotes and rewards excellence in public service. Local chapters need not have a major agenda of activities, but each activity is important, each has a positive impact on the way in which students and faculty on local campuses view scholarly and practitioner excellence in public service. Local chapters of Pi Alpha Alpha may be established and maintained only in those colleges and universities whose academic program in public policy, affairs and administration is a NASPAA member. Also, please see the Advisor FAQ page for more information.
The public affairs, public policy, or public administration program must be a full member of NASPAA and not an associate member. Applications to establish new chapters are received by NASPAA and are forwarded to the NASPAA Pi Alpha Alpha Special Ad Hoc Committee (Committee). The Committee reviews the application and other materials submitted by the local chapters to verify compliance with eligibility criteria. When it has been determined that the criteria have been met, applications are forwrded to the Committee for final approval. Members of the Committee review and vote on new chapter applications throughout the year. NASPAA staff then notifies the chapter of the approval and issues a local charter to the new chapter.
After the Committee has approved a chapter’s membership application local chapters pay a one-time application fee of $150 at the time application. No further annual or periodic fees, assessments, or membership dues are charged to chapters. Individuals joining Pi Alpha Alpha are charged a one-time membership fee. This fee is collected by the local chapters and remitted to NASPAA prior to the induction of new members.
Reporting of data
In order for the local Pi Alpha Alpha chapter to remain in good standing, the NASPAA school (which the Pi Alpha Alpha Chapter belongs to) must submit its Annual Data Report. NASPAA uses this information to verify that the number of students inducted by the chapter does not exceed 10% of an undergraduate graduate class or an unusally large percentage of a graduating Master's Degree class. Moreover, each chapter is strongly advised to submit a Pi Alpha Alpha annual report. This annual report allows the local chapter to share with NASPAA any noteworthy activities beyond your induction ceremony (photographs are welcome). Finally, you are able to apply for a chapter grant by submitting your annual report.
Chapters will be deemed inactive if either of the following has happened:
- Five years without submitting an annual report
- Three years without inducting new members
After a chapter becomes inactive, NASPAA Staff will attempt to contact and reengage the chapter. Periods of inactivity are likely to happen, and so no chapter charter will ever be rescinded due to inactivity. However, while inactive, a chapter may not participate in PAA specific activities or opportunities.
To reactivate a chapter, a chapter should induct students. NASPAA will also request the name of the chapter advisor and may request additional information about the chapter before students can be inducted again.
Local chapter charters can only be rescinded by the NASPAA Executive Council for failure to maintain standards of membership set forth in the Chapter Handbook.
Officers and Selection
Each local Pi Alpha Alpha chapter may elect officers from its membership. The decision to elect officers as well as the number of officers rests soley with that local chapter. However, the election of officers must be done in accordance with that chapter's constitution. Officers may include a President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and Chapter Advisor. Chapter officers and the selection process for each must be stated in the constitution of the local chapter. The President, Vice President, and Secretary are elected by the chapter membership. The Chapter Advisor is a member of the faculty or staff who is selected by the faculty with input from the chapter officers. The Treasurer also may be elected by the membership, though it is not unusual for the Chapter Advisor to also serve as Treasurer. The timing of elections and terms of office should be specified in each local chapter constitution. Alumni members may also serve an officer role.
Responsibilities of the officers are spelled out by each chapter in its constitution. Typical duties include:
- The President is responsible for coordinating and initiating chapter activities. The President may delegate to or share this responsibility with the Vice President and other officers. The President presides at all meetings and serves as the official representative of the chapter.
- The Vice President works with the President to coordinate activities and performs other duties as directed by the President. The Vice President serves in the capacity of the President during times that the President may be absent.
- The Secretary shall act as President during the absence of the President and the Vice-President and shall keep the official minutes of the Chapter and perform other duties as normally are associated with this office.
- The Treasurer shall collect and manage the dues (if any) and other chapter funds.
- The Secretary and Treasurer position can be combined if this specified in the chapter's constitution.
- Chapter Advisor is a member of the faculty who gives input to the other chapter officers about desirable and appropriate activities and potential speakers. The Chapter Advisor may be the NASPAA Principal Representative or another member of the faculty selected by the faculty with input from the chapter officers. Chapter officers and Chapter Advisors need to reach agreement about how they will share leadership and ceremonial responsibilities. The advisor is also responsible for coordinating and overseeing the submission of the annual report to the National Office. A Chapter Advisor also usually serves as the contact person for new members. In many chapters, the Chapter Advisor serves as the Treasurer or Secretary-Treasurer.