The MPA at Marywood University hosts a chapter of Pi Alpha Alpha national honor society. The national headquarters of Pi Alpha Alpha is located in Washington, D.C. The office (as well as staff) is shared with the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). NASPAA is a professional education association dedicated to the advancement of education, training, and research in public policy and administration. The Association's membership consists of the undergraduate and graduate education programs in public affairs and administration of more than 250 academic institutions in the United States. Affiliated with NASPAA are many federal, state, and local government agencies, university public affairs and administration programs in other nations, and national public interest groups all of whom share a concern for improving the quality of public management.
The national organization of Pi Alpha Alpha is directed by a national president, vice-president, and national council comprised of twelve members elected to four year overlapping terms. The president and vice-president each serve two year terms; the vice-president also serves as president elect and succeeds to the office of president. Officers are elected at the society's biennial meeting, held in the fall of each odd numbered year in conjunction with the Annual Conference of NASPAA. In addition, a national director, appointed by and serving at the pleasure of the national council, provides the society with staff support.
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.
Membership is limited to persons 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. Candidates for undergraduate degrees who rank in the upper ten percent of their graduating class may be inducted provided that:
(a) They have completed 15 hours of coursework required for the 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 and at least a 3.0 in all other coursework.
(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.
Students who have maintained a GPA of at least 3.7 and have completed at least fifty percent (50%) of the required coursework are eligible to be inducted into Pi Alpha Alpha.
Each chapter plans its own programs and activities. Biennial meetings are held in conjunction with the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration Annual Conference. During this meeting, a distinguished person of national stature, who has made outstanding contributions to the profession, is nominated by the National Council for honorary membership in the Society. The national office maintains communication with chapters, prepares certificates, publishes a chapter roster, and annual report. PAA also sponsors two annual awards for the "Best Student Manuscript in Public Administration," one for masters and one for doctoral students.