American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

ASHA Governance Frequently Asked Questions

What is the role of governance in an Association?

Association governance exists to identify and achieve the association's mission, vision, and its strategic objectives and outcomes. Associations are most successful when they are driven by strategic plans that define expected outcomes and have a plan-focused governance structure.

Do associations ever review their governance?

Yes. Associations periodically review their governance to determine if it continues to meet the needs of its members. This periodic review is important because a governance structure that served the association well in the past may no longer be satisfactory in meeting the needs of the association and its members.

Has ASHA reviewed its governance recently?

Yes. In 2005, ASHA appointed an Ad Hoc Committee on Governance Structure and Process to conduct a review and evaluation of ASHA's governance structure to determine if it continued to meet the Association's governance needs and the needs of members and the professions.

Did the Committee recommend any changes?

Yes. The Committee recommended that ASHA move from a bicameral to a unicameral governance model that includes a 16-member Board of Directors (BOD). The committee also recommended that ASHA establish an Audiology Advisory Council and a Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Council each comprised of 53 members (one member from each state; one representative from the District of Columbia, NSSLHA, and from the constituency of members who reside outside of the United States).

Why did the Committee recommend this change?

Until the new governance structure was approved in March 2007, ASHA's governance had been shared between a 13-member Executive Board and a 150-member Legislative Council (LC). The system worked well enough, but it was large and complex, slowing decision-making. The Committee agreed that a unicameral model would create a governance structure that is responsive to ASHA member wants, needs, and trends; serves members and the professions efficiently and effectively; meets current and future governance challenges; and is satisfying to those members who are involved in ASHA governance activities.

What is the role of ASHA's new Board of Directors?

The BOD is responsible for carrying out fiduciary and governing responsibilities such as approving the budget; approving position statements, guidelines and other policy documents; creating and dissolving standing committees, councils, boards, ad hoc committees; creating and dissolving special interest divisions; and making decisions in the best interest of ASHA members, the professions, and the Association based on timely advisory information from various stakeholders.

What is the role of the two new Advisory Councils?

The Advisory Councils are responsible for discussing and ranking issues of concern to members, advising the BOD on issues the Board brings to the Advisory Councils and on issues that need to be considered as the Association engages in strategic planning, reviewing ASHA's approved budget and forecasts and providing input and recommendations on budget items to be considered in the development of the next year's budget, participating in the formal peer review of all ASHA policy documents, and electing representatives to the Committee on Honors, Committee on Nominations and Elections, Government Relations and Public Policy Board, and the Financial Planning Board.

How is the new Board of Directors representing the unique needs of both professions?

The BOD has four audiology-designated positions and four speech-language pathology positions. Audiologists vote for audiology-designated positions and speech-language pathologists vote for speech-language pathology-designated positions. In addition, the Chair of the Audiology Advisory Council (AAC) is elected by AAC members; the Chair of the Speech-Language Pathology Council (SLPAC) is elected by SLPAC members and both Advisory Council Chairs serve on the BOD.

What body approved the Committee's recommendations?

The Committee prepared a report, ASHA's Governance Structure and Process: A Proposed New Model, which was submitted to ASHA's former LC at their meeting in March 2007. The LC voted by a wide margin (122-21) to adopt the new governance structure recommended in the report (LC 1-2007).

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