Initiatives > PAA Honor Society
NATIONAL HONOR SOCIETY FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS
Article I - Name
The National Honor Society for Public Affairs and Administration shall be
known as Pi Alpha Alpha.
Article II - Purposes
The purposes of this society shall be to encourage and recognize
outstanding scholarship and accomplishment in public affairs and
administration, to promote the advancement of education and practice in
the art and science of public affairs and administration, and to foster
integrity, professionalism and creative performance in the conduct of
governmental and related public service activities.
Article III - Membership
Section 1 - Classes of Membership
Membership shall be limited to those who demonstrate academic achievement
in public affairs and administration programs in NASPAA member schools
and/or outstanding public service, and who fall within the following
classes: student, alumni, faculty, and honorary. All membership is
national membership with local chapter affiliation where appropriate.
(a) Student Membership
(1) Undergraduate Students
Candidates for undergraduate degrees who rank in the upper ten percent
(10%) of their graduating class may be inducted provided that:
(a) they have completed 15 semester hours of course work required for the
public affairs or public administration major or its equivalent;
(b) they have maintained an average of 3.5 on a scale of 4.0 in all
courses included in the major in public affairs and public administration,
and at least a 3.0 in all other course work.
(c) they have met the requirements of (a) and (b) above and are in at
least the last semester or quarter of their junior year.
(2) Transfer Students
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.
(3) Graduate Students
A graduate student may be inducted from among the masterís degree students
who have maintained a GPA of at least 3.7 for fifty percent (50%) of the
required course work (a minimum of 18 semester hours or 27 quarter hours).
(4) Doctoral Students
Doctoral students who meet the requirements for Pi Alpha Alpha masterís
degree student membership or who have completed all the requirements for
the MPA or its equivalent, may be inducted without restriction as to
(b) Alumni Membership
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 shall become alumni members upon graduation.
(c) Faculty Membership
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 such local chapter.
(d) Honorary Membership
(1) Local Honorary
Any person who has achieved distinction in public administration and who
possesses the distinguished qualities that Pi Alpha Alpha fosters may be
inducted to honorary membership in a local chapter. Local chapters may
induct as many as two individuals per year without express approval of the
National Council. Prior to induction of more than two honorary members,
the local chapter must request and receive approval by the National
(2) National Honorary
A person who has made a particularly distinguished contribution to public
administration through practice or education may be inducted to national
Section 2 - Nomination for Membership
Each chapter shall have a nominating committee to nominate chapter
members. This committee shall consist of at least three members, two of
whom shall be members of the full-time faculty who teach in the college,
school or department offering the public affairs or administration degree
(b) National Honorary Membership
The National Council and local chapters may nominate candidates for
national honorary membership. The selection of the national honorary
member will be made by a majority vote of the National Council or as
prescribed by National Council policy.
Section 3 - Election of Chapter Membership
Election of local chapter membership shall be by a three-fourths vote of
those present at an official chapter meeting.
Section 4 - Induction
(a) The National Council may prescribe a standard induction ceremony to be
used by all chapters, but where such does not exist, local chapters shall
establish their own induction ceremony.
(b) Induction for all member categories shall not occur more than twice a
(c) Where the number of students eligible is less than 10 based on the
twenty percent (20%) rule (Article Ill, Section l(a)(3). The number of
students inducted is left to the discretion of the chapter, but shall not
(d) Notice of decision to induct to any class of membership by a local
chapter shall be sent to the National Director at least 30 days prior to
induction. Included with such notice shall be (1) the national induction
fee for each inductee, (2) and membership request forms certified by the
appropriate dean or program director that inductees meet membership
Section 5 - Transfer of Student Members
A student member in good standing, who transfers to another school which
has a Pi Alpha Alpha chapter shall enjoy all the rights and privileges of
said chapter, but shall be considered an official member of the chapter in
which the student was inducted.
Section 6 - Chapter Affiliation of Alumni, Faculty, and Honorary Members
Members may elect a chapter of their choice for active membership subject
to rules and regulations dealing with such transfers as may be
promulgated by the National Council.
Article IV - Local Chapter Governance
Section 1 - Officers
(a) All officers must be members of Pi Alpha Alpha.
(b) Each local chapter shall have as a minimum the following officers:
president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer (the offices of
secretary and treasurer may be combined at a chapterís discretion) elected
annually, and their names shall be reported to the National Director. The
office of treasurer shall be held by a faculty member and may be the
Section 2 - Faculty Advisor
Each chapter shall choose one member of the faculty teaching in the
program or programs upon which the institutionís NASPAA membership is
based to act as chapter Advisor. The National Director shall be informed
of the name of such Advisor and informed promptly of changes.
Section 3 - By-Laws
Each chapter may make such by-laws, not inconsistent with this
constitution or with the national societyís by-laws, as it may deem
Section 4 - Annual Report
(a) The secretary (or secretary-treasurer) of each local chapter shall
report to the director annually, on or before May 15, the names and number
of active members of the local chapter, chapter officers and Advisor, the
financial condition of the chapter and such other information as may be
requested by the National Director.
(b) Such reports should include the treasurerís (or secretary-treasurerís)
financial statement, and shall bear the signature of the chapter Advisor.
Article V - Establishment of Local Chapters
Section 1 - Local Chapters
(a) A local chapter may be established at any college or university
granting the baccalaureate or higher degree which is: A member of the
National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration, and
accredited by an appropriate regional or national accrediting association.
(b) Establishment of chapters outside the continental limits of the United
States shall be in accordance with the provisions of this Article, except
that the National Council may make such modifications as are appropriate
in applying the accrediting association clause of this Section.
Section 2 - Chapter Application and Approval
(a) All applications for the establishments of a chapter shall be sent to
the National Director whose duty it shall be to consult with the Chapter
Application Review Committee. The Chapter
Application Review Committee, appointed by the president of Pi Alpha
Alpha, shall review and investigate applications according to eligibility
criteria adopted by the Pi Alpha Alpha National Council and recommend to
the National Council acceptance or rejection of the applications.
(b) A majority vote of the National Council is necessary to approve
chapter applications. Upon approval of a local chapter application, the
National Director shall send to each chartered chapter a letter announcing
the acceptance of new local chapters.
(c) The National Director shall notify the applying school within a
reasonable amount of time whether its application was approved or
disapproved. A charter shall be sent with notification of approval.
Section 3 - Charter Rescission
A chapter charter may be rescinded by the National Council:
(a) for failure to maintain standards of membership set forth in Article
(b) for failure to maintain the quality standards of Article V, Section 1;
(c) upon non-payment of fees; or
(d) when a chapter has been inactive for three or more consecutive years.
Article VI - National Organization
Section 1 - National Council
There shall be a National Council, which shall serve as the governing body
of the society.
Section 2 - Officers
The National Council shall consist of the president, the president-elect,
the two most recent past presidents, and ten members elected by the
chapters. Five of the ten members are to be elected each biennium for
four-year terms. Officers and council members shall serve until their
successors are elected or appointed and take office. The president shall
fill by appointment any vacancy in the council caused by death,
resignation, or other inability to serve, or by lack of a sufficient
number of past presidents. The National Director shall serve as ex-officio
member of the National Council.
Section 3 - Functions and Meetings
(a) The National Council shall be vested with the responsibility for the
management of the affairs of the society and shall act in the capacity of
a board of directors. The council shall adopt such rules as may be
appropriate for the governance of the society.
(b) Meetings of the National Council or executive committee shall be held
upon written or printed notice to be mailed not less than ten nor more
than forty days before the date of the meeting. Meetings shall be at the
call of the president, or of any five members of the National Council, or
of three members of the executive committee. The expenses of the National
Council or officers shall not be a charge on the national treasury.
Section 4 - Executive Committee
An executive committee, consisting of the president, president-elect, the
most recent past president, and two members of the National Council
appointed by the president with the approval of the National Council,
shall have the power to exercise all the functions of the council between
annual meetings and when the council is not in session. All actions taken
by the executive committee shall be reported promptly to the members of
the council. The National Director shall serve as ex-officio member of the
Section 5 - Nominations and Elections
(a) The president shall appoint a nominating committee not less than 60
days prior to each biennial meeting. The nominating committee shall
consist of the three most recent past presidents able and willing to serve
thereon and not more than two additional persons designated by the
president. If three past presidents are not available, the president may
appoint a sufficient number of other members to complete the committee.
The nominating committee shall present nominations for officers and
council members at the biennial meeting of society members.
(b) Additional nominations may be made from the floor by any member at the
time the nominating committee makes its report.
(c) All nominations shall be voted on by separate vote for each office.
Each chapter of the society shall be entitled to one vote. The nominee
receiving the highest number of votes for each office shall be declared
elected and shall thereupon take office.
(d) The council may provide for election by mail ballot to each chapter in
any year in which it is impossible to hold a biennial meeting. Space shall
be provided on the ballot for writing in the names of additional
candidates. The nominee receiving the highest number of votes for each
office shall be declared elected and shall thereupon take office.
Article VII - National Officers
Section 1 - Officers
The officers of the society shall be president, president-elect and
Section 2 - Election/Term of Office
The president and president-elect, who will automatically succeed to the
office of the president upon completion of the presidentís term, shall be
elected at the regular biennial meeting of the society as outlined in
Article VI, Section 5 of this constitution for a two-year term of office.
Section 3 - Duties of National Officers
(a) National President
(1) The national president shall preside at all national society meetings
or conferences. The president shall have authority to call for an assembly
of delegates from each chapter whenever it is in the best interests of the
society to hold such a conference. The president shall also serve as chair
of the national executive committee.
(2) The national president of the society shall serve as chair of the
(3) The national president may appoint such committees as the National
Council deems necessary.
(b) National President-Elect
The national president-elect shall exercise the powers of the national
president when the national president is unable to executive them.
(c) National Director
(1) The National Director shall be appointed by the council and shall
serve at its pleasure. The National Director shall be generally
responsible for the execution of society business, subject to policies
established by the council. The duties of the director shall include those
(2) The National Director shall keep the official minutes of the Society
and perform such other duties as are associated with this office-including
those of secretary-treasurer. The National Director shall sign all
vouchers which are initiated for the withdrawal of current funds and sign
all checks drawn on the current fund account.
(3) The National Director shall keep a file of all correspondence between
the chapters and the national organization; shall receive and properly
record all applications for affiliation with the national organization,
and transmit to the members of the national executive council notice of
such application; shall keep a directory of members; issue certificates;
and perform other duties pertaining to this office. The National Director
shall initiate all requests for payment of current funds from the treasury
of Pi Alpha Alpha.
(4) The National Director shall be custodian of all the securities of the
society and shall be bonded in an amount to be determined by the National
Council. The National Director shall prepare and submit annually to the
National Council the budget and a financial statement for the fiscal year
of July first through June thirtieth.
Section 4 - Vacancies
In case of death, resignation, or inability of the president to perform
the duties of the office, the president-elect shall immediately succeed to
the office of president for the unexpired term. If the unexpired term is
less than six months, the term of office shall extend to serving out the
unexpired term and two additional years. In case of an interim vacancy in
the office of president-elect, the council shall choose by mail, telegraph
or telephone ballot a new president-elect to serve until the next biennial
meeting. Such vacancy may be filled by a vote of the chapters at the next
biennial meeting confirming the councilís action. By electing the interim
president-elect to that office for the remainder of the term or by
electing the interim president-elect to the office of president, whichever
is appropriate and consistent with provisions of the constitution
regarding presidential secession. The members may take any other action
they deem as appropriate to the end that there shall be in office at all
times both a president and a president-elect.
Article VIII - National Meetings
Section 1 - Biennial Meeting
(a) A biennial meeting of members of the society shall be held at a time
and place designated by the National Council. Whenever possible, the
biennial meeting of the society shall be held every even number year.
(b) The National Director shall notify the chapters of the time and place
of the societyís meeting at least 90 days before the date set for the
meeting. Such notice shall urge each chapter to send at least one
(student, alumni, faculty, or honorary) delegate to the national meeting.
(c) Honorary members are entitled to attend and vote at the biennial
meeting if elected to represent a chapter.
Section 2 - Delegates and Voting
Each chapter shall be entitled to one official vote on society matters,
but may send such number of delegates as it may care to send. The expense
of delegates shall not be a charge on the national treasury of the
Article IX - Fees
Chartering, induction and other fees as may be appropriate shall be
determined by the National Council. Their payment by local chapters shall
be required for each member inducted. The national induction fee for each
member inducted shall be submitted by the local chapter.
Article X - National By-Laws
The National Council may make and amend by-laws consistent with this
Article XI - Amendment of the National Constitution
The constitution may be amended by a three-fourths vote of the chapter
delegates in convention or by a majority of all active chapters voting by
mail ballot within a period specified by the National Council.
Approved October 28, 1977
Amended April 9, 1978
Amended April 15, 1980
Amended January 1999
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