Membership in PAA is limited to persons who demonstrate academic achievement in public affairs and administration program in NASPAA member schools and/or outstanding public service, and who fall within the following classes: student, alumni, faculty and honorary. All memberships are national memberships with a local chapter affiliation. All categories of membership enjoy the same rights and privileges.
The categories of membership are:
Undergraduate Student Memberships - Candidates for undergraduate degrees who rank in the upper ten percent (10%) of their graduating class may be inducted provided:
- They have completed 15 semester hours of course work required for the public affairs or public administration major or its equivalent;
- They have maintained an average grade of 3.5 on a scale of 4.0 in all courses in public affairs and public administration, and at least a 3.0 in all course work.
- They have met the requirements of (a) and (b) above and are in at least the last semester or quarter of their junior year.
Transfer students who meet the qualifications for undergraduate membership may be inducted after they have completed a minimum of one full year of course work in the school or college to which they transfer and in which the chapter is located.
Masters Degree Student Memberships – Students may be inducted from among the master’s degree students in the department, institute, or school wherever the Pi Alpha Alpha chapter membership is based provided:
- They have maintained a GPA of at least 3.7. A chapter may set higher GPA requirements if it chooses.
- Master degree students must have completed at least fifty percent (50%) of the required course work (a minimum of 18 semester hours or 27 quarter hours). A chapter may set a higher percent of completion if it chooses.
Doctoral Students - Doctoral students who meet the requirements for Pi Alpha Alpha masters degree student membership or who have completed all the requirements for the MPA or its equivalent, may be inducted without restriction as to number.
Alumni Memberships - Those who meet all the requirements of student membership but who have graduated before induction by a local chapter may be inducted as alumni members. Student members become alumni members upon graduation.
Faculty Memberships - Any full-time member of a NASPAA member institution faculty, offering course work in a public affairs or administration degree program at which a Pi Alpha Alpha chapter is located, may be elected to faculty membership by the chapter.
Honorary Memberships - Honorary membership is appropriate for any person who has achieved distinction in public administration and who possesses the distinguished qualities that Pi Alpha Alpha fosters. Local chapters may induct as many as two individuals per year without express approval of the National Council. Honorary membership should be bestowed prudently so as to recognize outstanding accomplishment that will bring added honor to Pi Alpha Alpha, the chapter, and the individual. Prior to induction of more than two honorary members, the local chapter must request approval of the National Council. (See Section VI, “Honorary Memberships.”)
Procedures for Induction of New Members
Induction of members shall not occur more than twice a year. At least two weeks prior to induction, you must place your order for certificates and jewelry items online through the PAA Web Store, in order to receive them in time for your induction ceremony. If the order is not placed within this timeframe, your certificates and jewelry items will not be guaranteed to arrive in time for your induction ceremony. The name listed online must be submitted exactly as it is to appear on the certificate.
It adds meaning to the induction process if it can be conducted with an appropriate ceremony. In many chapters, this includes a talk by a respected leader in our field who may be inducted as an honorary member of the chapter at the conclusion of the ceremony. Student, alumni, and faculty members may be presented with awards and recognized for achievements. Every effort should be made to make the induction ceremony meaningful and impressive. Officers should be present, wear medallions, and take active roles in the ceremony.
The Pi Alpha Alpha oath (Appendix F) may be recited as part of the induction ceremony, but this is not required. The oath helps those attending the induction ceremony to understand and appreciate what membership in Pi Alpha Alpha means. The oath may be read by an officer, the inductees individually, or by the inductees as a group. Chapters that recite the oath at the induction ceremony should be sensitive to individuals who choose not to participate for personal or religious reasons.