Board of Directors Meeting Report: January 10-11, 2014

ASHA's Board of Directors (BOD) met at the National Office (NO) on January 10 and 11. Following are highlights of the Board's discussions.

President's Opening Remarks

President Elizabeth McCrea convened the meeting at 8:30 a.m., Friday, January 10, and began by sharing that, as the very robust agenda for the January meeting portends, 2014 is going to be a particularly busy and challenging year, but one that she is confident that the Board and staff are well prepared for. She thanked Immediate Past President Patty Prelock for her inspirational leadership in 2013 and welcomed four new Board members: President-Elect Judith Page, Vice President for Academic Affairs in Audiology Barbara Cone, Vice President for Planning Edie Hapner, and Vice President for Standards and Ethics in Speech-Language Pathology Lissa Power-deFur. They began their 3-year terms of office on January 1, 2014.

CEO Update

In addition to providing the written summary with the pre-meeting materials, Chief Executive Officer Arlene Pietranton updated the Board about a number of items:

  • Final counts of attendance from the ASHA Convention in Chicago have been shared with the Board via the written summary. Total attendance was 14,311, a new record. All member attendance categories were up, but first timers showed a significant increase over 2012, exceeding their attendance by more than 1,500.
  • In late December, ASHA's three main publication venues—the scholarly journals, The ASHA Leader, and the Special Interest Groups' Perspectives—were brought together into a single, powerful online site called ASHAWire, hosted by Silverchair Information Systems. Visually striking and easy to navigate, ASHAWire is designed to enrich the reading and learning experience of ASHA members as well as to attract new readers.
  • The E-mail Preference Center now gives members a convenient, self-serve tool for updating their e-mail opt-out preferences and managing e-newsletter subscriptions. Early returns on the usage data show that members have been engaging through these preference forms in significantly higher volumes than in the past. In addition, Action Center workload for processing opt-out requests has been reduced by 96%.
  • ASHA's Identify the Signs bilingual public education campaign is off to a very successful start. Launched last September, the Signs campaign reached an audience of more than 140 million in its first 3 months.
  • ASHA is participating in the International Communication Project 2014 (ICP), an initiative with counterpart professional organizations in Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, and New Zealand. This winter, an ICP website will come online and a Google Hangout—an online event with ICP representatives and audience engagement—will be held. The Project encourages signatories to the Universal Declaration of Communication Rights. The Declaration will be featured on the ICP site, but it can also be signed now at this temporary site.

Preliminary (Unaudited) Year End Report

Carolyn Higdon, Vice President for Finance, presented a summary of ASHA's preliminary financial performance through December 31, 2013. She reported that revenue is expected to exceed expenses in 2013. She also discussed the role of the audit committee and the expected timing of the auditor's report. ASHA's audit committee met in December to begin the audit process. She reported that audited financials for 2013 will be ready by the end of April. Carolyn also shared that she planned to continue a program of financial education that she began in 2013. At today's meeting, Carolyn shared a list of budget terms and definitions that has been posted on the collaboration site as a reference tool for Board members. The Board discussed potential additional financial education topics for 2014.

Property Update

Chief Staff Officer for Operations Chuck Cochran reported that sales of the townhouses that are being developed on the previous ASHA headquarters property at 10801 Rockville Pike are progressing very well. As of November 30, 2013, there were contracts on 97 of the 115 townhomes that are available. Since the beginning of the project, ASHA has received more than $18 million from StreetScape (the developer) and expects to receive a total of approximately $24 million from StreetScape upon completion of the project in 2014. Chuck also reported that only 1,600 of a total of 22,000 square feet remain to be rented on the fifth floor of the NO building. That space is being actively marketed in the area with hopes to have the fifth floor fully rented by the end of the year.

Review of BOD Operating Procedures

President Elizabeth McCrea and CEO Arlene Pietranton reviewed the operating procedures of the Board of Directors. They reminded Board members that BOD decisions are based on the following considerations: (a) how the issue fits into the Strategic Pathway, (b) expected outcomes and performance measures, (c) anticipated return on investment, and (d) whether it is the best use of Association resources. The Board also takes into account (a) what it knows about the members' wants and needs, (b) what is happening in the environment that is relevant, (c) what is the Association's capacity and does the Association have the right strategic position to address the issue, and (d) the ethical implications of the Board's choices. President McCrea and CEO Pietranton also reviewed the operational guidelines that are designed to ensure that the Board's leadership of the Association is consistent and that the Board's communication with the membership is optimal. The Board's responsibilities are broken into four areas: planning, operations, audit, and communications. After discussion, the Board agreed that the document effectively captures the Board's operating methods and procedures.

Strategic Pathway

ASHA's strategic plan (the Strategic Pathway) is updated every 3 years. The current plan is in its third year, so the Board will be using the final version of the updated Envisioned Future 2025 to facilitate updating the Pathway for 2015–2017. Discussions at the January meeting focused on reaching agreement that the current iteration of the 2025 envisioned future is accurately and clearly stated and achievable. The Board also discussed establishing priorities for those activities that will have the most impact on moving the organization toward that future state. Discussions about the 2015–2017 Strategic Pathway will continue throughout 2014.

Membership and Membership Satisfaction Trend Data

Director of Surveys and Analysis Sarah Slater reviewed the member counts and satisfaction data for various constituents. Sarah first presented the affiliation and member counts, which show steady growth over ASHA's history. She also shared the member retention data for audiologists and speech-language pathologists for the past 10 years, which show retention rates of more than 97% for audiologists and 98% for speech-language pathologists. Sarah pointed out that ASHA's remarkably high retention rates put the Association in the very top range of individual membership organizations. Sarah shared a variety of other member data that all demonstrate ASHA's strong and steady growth, high member satisfaction, and significant market penetration. Member counts and member data from 2013 are undergoing final analysis and will be published on ASHA's website in March.

Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Reframing the Professions

Early in 2013, the Board of Directors passed a series of resolutions to form ad hoc committees to further study recommendations from the Changing Health Care Landscape Summit. One of those committees, the Ad Hoc Committee on Reframing the Professions, was charged with identifying specific elements that reframe the professions of speech-language pathology and audiology to meet the changing needs in the health care arena, higher education community, and school settings. At this meeting, BOD liaisons to the committee—Vice President for Speech-Language Pathology Practice Gail Richard and Vice President for Audiology Practice Donna Smiley—presented the committee's report. After discussion, the Board voted to accept the report, which means that the Board considers the primary work of the committee completed and will now discuss the specific recommendations of the report. The Board asked the BOD liaisons to collaborate with CSOs Neil DiSarno and Lemmie McNeilly for the formulation of specific recommendations to be presented to and decided upon by the Board.

The report will be available on the website in early February.

Report From the Ad Hoc Committee on Supervision

In 2012, the Ad Hoc Committee on Supervision was charged with determining the training essential to the development of skills and knowledge required for effective clinical supervision. At this meeting, Chief Staff Officer for Science and Research Margaret Rogers presented the report of the committee. The report provides recommendations for the training of clinical supervisors in regard to overarching skills and knowledge as well as specific training necessary for supervision of targeted groups of supervisees, including students in clinical training programs, audiology students in the culminating externship, speech-language pathology graduates in the clinical fellowship, professionals transitioning from one area of practice to another, and support personnel. The report also makes recommendations for development and implementation of comprehensive and systematic training in supervision.

At today's meeting the Board discussed the report [PDF], voted to accept it, and asked ASHA staff to further define the next steps, so that the BOD can understand the resources that might be required to accomplish these steps and how those actions should be prioritized.

Fiduciary Duties Review

Christina M. Gattuso, an attorney with the law firm of Kilpatrick Townsend LLP (ASHA's legal counsel), reviewed the legal and fiduciary responsibilities of Board members. ASHA's BOD is provided this review at the beginning of each year to ensure that Board members fully understand the responsibilities of serving on the ASHA BOD.

Planning for March 2014 Advisory Council (AC) Meetings

Chair of the Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Council Perry Flynn and Chair of the Audiology Advisory Council Wayne Foster led the Board in a planning discussion for Advisory Council meetings to be held at the NO in March. The Board discussed a number of topics to be brought to the ACs for their advice and guidance during the March meeting, and they also discussed new methods for developing additional topics for this meeting with the help of AC members. The agenda will be refined over the next few weeks and communicated to AC members in pre-meeting materials that will be disseminated in February.

Membership Forum Debrief and Recent InTouch Submissions

Immediate Past President Patty Prelock and CSO for Communications Marty Rome led the Board in a discussion of feedback received from the November Convention membership forum and from ASHA's InTouch-with-the-Board forms received in 2013.

From the membership forum at Convention there were three primary topics of concern: the time that was required to form the outcomes committee; significant frustration with skilled nursing facility practices that are negatively impacting SLPs; and continued challenges within school systems related to paperwork, lack of planning time, and the concern that Medicaid billing is driving treatment. Each of these issues was discussed at the forum and, in some cases, ASHA staff provided additional information following Convention. For example, in December, ASHA offered a free web chat with ASHA staff from units covering health care services, ethics, and the health care regulation. The web chat offered an opportunity for SLPs to describe situations of concern and engage in problem solving with ASHA staff about potential actions and resources that could be of assistance.

Marty reported that most of the InTouch-with-the-Board forms submitted by members in 2013 were related to operational issues that staff were able to respond to and resolve quickly. There was a significant amount of feedback related to H.R. 2330 and to a proposed change to the ASHA Code of Ethics. All members who sent in forms with questions, comments, concerns, or praise were responded to individually.

Generative Discussion

Starting in 2012 and then continuing the practice in 2013, the BOD designated time at each meeting to engage in generative thinking on a specific topic. A generative discussion is a method of interaction that enables the Board to look at a topic from a broad perspective. Its purpose is to help the Board work on a complex topic in a way that facilitates their focus on the specific aspects of that topic that the Association may be able to impact and needs to understand thoroughly. At this meeting, the Board reviewed the generative topics from 2012 and 2013 and discussed topics that might be added. The Board will prioritize all of the topics and revisit those with the highest priority at future meetings in 2014.

Report From the Ad Hoc Committee on Committees, Boards, and Councils

The Ad Hoc Committee on Committees, Boards, and Councils (CBC) was given the charge to conduct a review and evaluation of ASHA's current committee, board, and council structure and processes and develop recommendations for enhancing those processes. The final report, which was presented by Chair of the Audiology Advisory Council Wayne Foster, Vice President for Government Relations and Public Policy Theresa Rodgers, and Director of Association Governance Operations Andrea Falzarano, includes 16 recommendations:

  1. Develop (by and for each CBC) a member engagement plan.
  2. Improve volunteer processes and communication.
  3. Eliminate the election process for CBCs with combined appointment/election processes and CBCs with an election-only model.
  4. Clarify the criteria for public members.
  5. Create a new dynamically focused and strategically driven model.
  6. Incorporate discipline responsiveness documents into the new model.
  7. Eliminate inactive CBCs.
  8. Develop a structural calibration plan for making final decisions regarding the continuing role of ASHA's existing CBCs.
  9. Update the Resolution Form to align with the calibration plan.
  10. Develop broader participatory processes.
  11. Create a structural communication plan.
  12. Organize a graduate placement program for ASHA so that Leadership Development Program (LDP) graduates transition to CBC appointments.
  13. Expand the LDP graduate placement program to include regional and state employment programs.
  14. Enhance member participation through a volunteer cultivation system.
  15. Develop a committee, board, and council procedural template.
  16. Include CBC chair selection processes in the procedural template.

After discussion, the Board agreed that a number of the recommendations can be incorporated into regular staff operations. Those have been remanded to the NO staff who will determine the best methods and timing for incorporating those into operations. The Board also agreed that some of the other recommendations would require a bylaws change and that others require more detailed information, planning, and individual resolutions. The Board voted to accept the report. Additional resolutions for the recommendations that require BOD decisions will be forthcoming.

The report will be available on the website in early February.

Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Feasibility of Standards for the Clinical Doctorate in Speech-Language Pathology

In 2013, the Ad Hoc Committee on the Feasibility of Standards for the Clinical Doctorate in Speech-Language Pathology was convened to explore and determine the costs and resources needed to establish standards for the clinical doctorate in speech-language pathology and explore and model potential costs and resources needed to establish a standards evaluation program (including a possible accreditation program) for speech-language pathology post entry-level clinical doctoral programs.

At today's meeting, Vice President for Academic Affairs in Speech-Language Pathology Shari Robertson and CSO for Science and Research Margaret Rogers shared the committee's report [PDF], which includes the following recommendations:

  • ASHA initiate the development of guidelines for academic programs offering the clinical doctorate in speech-language pathology;
  • ASHA and the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CAPCSD), through the CSD Education Survey, monitor the rate of development of such clinical doctoral programs, including the number of programs and number of students enrolled and graduated;
  • ASHA monitor the success of guidelines use, growth of programs, financial variables, and relevant risk factors to determine when or if recognition or accreditation is warranted.

After discussion, the Board asked for some changes to the report and voted to accept it with those changes. A resolution will be forthcoming that will give the Board further opportunity to discuss and vote on the specific recommendations summarized above.

Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Leadership Cultivation

In early 2013, the BOD created the Ad Hoc Committee on Leadership Cultivation to provide recommendations on leadership development. The report of that committee, which was chaired by former ASHA President Tommie Robinson, who also participated in today's discussion via conference call, includes a number of recommendations designed to generate a diverse base of ASHA members for future appointed or elected positions. After discussion, the Board suggested some modifications to the report. Once those modifications have been made, the Board will have an opportunity to review the final report and continue discussion on the collaboration site and at future meetings.

Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Interprofessional Education

The ASHA Ad Hoc Committee on Interprofessional Education (IPE) was created in the spring of 2013 to develop specific actions that address education and core competencies of interprofessional education related to reimbursement models for students and members. The discussion of the report was led by CSO for Speech-Language Pathology Lemmie McNeilly. She was joined via conference call by IPE Committee Chair Bob Burkhard, former Board liaison to the committee, Neil Shepard, and ASHA staff ex officio to the committee, Janet Brown. A number of recommendations were considered to be high priorities by the Ad Hoc Committee. After discussion, the Board suggested some modifications and clarifications to the report. The Board will have further discussions about the report and the recommendations via the collaboration website and conference calls.

Update on NSSLHA/ASHA Integration

In 2011, ASHA and the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA) agreed to an integration plan designed to maintain NSSLHA's autonomy and enhance ASHA and NSSLHA's ability to better engage all students. At today's meeting, NSSLHA National Advisor Carlin Hageman provided an update of the integration process. He reported that the wording for changes to NSSLHA's bylaws that were required as part of the integration has been approved by the NSSLHA Council. He also reported that NSSLHA and ASHA took a major step in the integration of the two associations with the launch of the online NSSLHA application. Students are now able to join NSSLHA through an online membership application that is fully integrated into ASHA's member database, netFORUM. This system seamlessly registers a student and immediately provides the student with an account number for accessing member-only benefits. NSSLHA has also established a pilot introductory offer to minimize the cost of membership for those students who want to affiliate with National NSSLHA for the first time at an introductory rate for the option of limited benefits at a lower cost.

Update on the Academic Affairs Board Strategic Plan

In April 2013, the Academic Affairs Board (AAB) met to develop a plan to increase the PhD student pipeline and workforce for researchers and faculty-researchers. Because there are multiple stakeholders with a vested interest in the success of this initiative, the strategic plan was developed with input from CAPCSD via the CAPCSD liaison to AAB as well as other ASHA entities identified in select proposed initiatives. At today's meeting, Vice President for Academic Affairs in Speech-Language Pathology Shari Roberts and CSO for Science and Research Margaret Rogers updated the Board about the status of the strategic plan and asked the BOD for input.

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