Board of Directors Meeting Report: June 24–26, 2011
The Board of Directors (BOD) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) met on June 24, 25, and 26, 2011, at the ASHA National Office. Following are highlights of the Board's discussions:
President's Welcome/Executive Director Update Highlights
President Rao convened the meeting at 9:00 a.m., welcoming the Board members and again thanking them for their continued service to the professions and ASHA. Besides the written summary provided to all Board members, Executive Director Arlene Pietranton updated the Board about a number of items:
- Certification Maintenance compliance for the 2007 to 2009 cohort has reached 99%. For the 2008 to 2010 cohort the compliance rate is currently at 87%, which is ahead of the '07–'09 cohort at this time last year.
- Processing time for new certification applications once complete materials are received at the National Office is now under 2 weeks, and frequently is less than a week. That compares to as much as 14 weeks a few years ago.
- Schools Conference registrations are nearing the 1,000 mark. We expect attendance to be ahead of forecast.
- Preregistration for Convention is approaching 1,000, which is ahead of last year at this time. In the interest of continuous improvement, a number of changes have been made for this year, including the following:
- The opening session has been moved to Thursday morning to help set the stage for the entire Convention. Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, brain scientist and author of the New York Times bestselling memoir My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey, will be the opening keynote speaker. Greg Mortenson, who was originally considered as keynote speaker, will not be speaking at Convention.
- More CEU opportunities have been made available for attendees by adding the first ever twilight sessions, occurring at 6:30–7:30 p.m. on Thursday.
- There will be a get together on Saturday morning for anyone interested in the Associates program.
- The Convention website has been overhauled to make it easier to navigate, and we'll be providing a new tool for developing one's own personal schedule that is easy to use.
- At least two rooms will be designated throughout the Convention to automatically handle any room that reaches capacity. Using networked rooms and a Speaker Ready Room will avoid lockouts.
- Selected sessions will be recorded to create an online library of sessions that will also be eligible for CEUs.
Continuing Education Board (CEB) Update
Ellen Fagan, director of continuing education, updated the Board on a number of changes and progress reports of the CEB. These include the following:
- In support of ASHA's Strategic Pathway and based on recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Evidence-Based Practice (ACEBP), the CEB initiated a long-range project in 2008 to influence the infusion of principles of evidence-based practice into courses offered by ASHA Approved CE Providers. A number of actions have been taken so far, including additional website resources, dedicated web pages, materials for presenters, and collection of data from CE providers.
- Effective July 1, 2011, individuals must meet at least one of the following conditions to be eligible to earn ASHA CEUs.
- ASHA Member (includes the Life Membership and International Affiliate categories)
- ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) Holder
- Licensed by a state or provincial regulatory agency to practice speech-language pathology or audiology
- Credentialed by a state regulatory agency to practice speech-language pathology or audiology
- Credentialed by a national regulatory agency to practice speech-language pathology or audiology
- Engaged in a Clinical Fellowship under the supervision of an individual who holds the ASHA CCC
- Currently enrolled in a master's or doctoral program in speech-language pathology or audiology
(Note: Associates are not eligible to earn ASHA CEUs, but may be eligible to earn professional development hours [PDHs].)
- Effective July 1, 2012, all ASHA Approved CE Providers must be in compliance with a new requirement that is part of ASHA's 12 Requirements for ASHA Approved CE Providers. This requirement (Requirement 3: Transparency in Course Planning, Delivery and Marketing) has to do with making sure any CE Provider focuses their courses on scientific and professional education, not product or service promotion; has processes to resolve and disclose conflicts of interest, the management and disclosure of financial and in-kind support of CE courses; and appropriately manages exhibits and advertising associated with CE courses. In order to give CE Providers ample opportunity to comply with the new requirement, the CEB has set the full compliance date for more than a year from now.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation Update
As a charitable nonprofit (501(c)(3)) whose sole member is the Association, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation periodically updates ASHA's Board about its programs, plans, and future strategies. Jon Miller, 2011 President of the Foundation, and Nancy Minghetti, the Foundation's Executive Director, updated the Board about recent fundraising and funding efforts of the Foundation. Nancy reminded the Board that 75% of ASHFoundation donations come from individuals. This steady growth of giving has enabled the foundation to expand its giving to more and more researchers. In addition, in 2006, ASHA was able to present a special $600,000 anniversary gift to the foundation. These funds were used to support research related to evidence-based practice and advancing knowledge about the efficacy of treatment and assessment practices. The process involved the development of grant mechanisms and guidelines in 2007 and grant competitions in 2008, 2009, and 2010. Eighty-one applications were received over 3 years and 10 grants were funded for a total of $595,000. Grant research areas included hearing science, speech and language, voice and swallowing, and severe disabilities, and were addressed through mentored grants, independent grants, and collaborative projects. So far,
- two projects have received additional national funding,
- one project is awaiting funding notice,
- one project has an NIH grant in revision,
- all researchers report (based on survey data) enhanced collaboration across disciplines and labs,
- numerous papers have been presented at national research meetings, and
- all researchers report ASHFoundation funding was critical to their professional growth.
The Board discussed the tremendous value of this program and the overall work of the Foundation to the professions of audiology and speech-language pathology and conveyed ASHA's commitment to continued ongoing and, when possible, special initiative collaborations between the ASHFoundation and ASHA.
Chief Staff Officer for Audiology Vic Gladstone reported on the progress of ASHA's review of some patents that might have an impact on audiologists who wish to perform hearing tests over the Internet. Patent attorneys Michael Pavento and Richard Goldstucker provided an overview of certain patents related to telepractice. In essence, the patents are directed to methods and associated devices for performing diagnostic hearing tests using a computer network to allow interaction between a test administration site and one or more remote patient sites. Though there have not been any patent infringement filings related to any of these patents, ASHA will continue to monitor the situation.
Special Interest Group (SIG) Transition
Julie Noel, vice president for speech-language pathology practice, and Jaynee Handelsman, vice president for audiology practice, reviewed the status of the development of a document outlining new procedures for adding, modifying, and dissolving SIGs. This new process will be brought to the Board later this year. They also provided an update regarding the process for identifying, planning, and conducting ASHA-sponsored continuing education. Chief Staff Officer for Speech-Language Pathology Lemmie McNeilly reminded the Board that the restructuring of the special interest program calls for the SIGs to be integral to and integrated within ASHA. One way of working toward these principles is to have a staff member from the unit that works on these issues on a day-to-day basis serve as ex officio (staff liaison). Executive Director Pietranton has made the ex officio assignments. This week SIG staff kicked off a series of SIG ex officio meetings that will address topics such as general ex officio responsibilities, Perspectives, Convention, and face-to-face meetings. Current SIG ex officios and the director of the SIG program, Michelle Ferketic, will hold meetings with each new ex officio (last year the BOD approved hiring of additional staff to support the new SIG program) to discuss the specific work of their respective SIG. At the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2011, new ex officios will join their respective SIGs on conference calls so that the new ex officios will have a chance to interact with the SIG leadership and learn about the issues that the SIG is working on. In addition, because there are increasing requests for SIG input on ASHA initiatives, a subcommittee of the Board of SIG Coordinators and staff will be formed in August to develop a model for managing multiple requests for input, including identifying affiliates to assist with the work, coordinating work groups, and working collaboratively to complete the work in a timely manner.
Associates Program Update
Chief Staff Officer for Communications Marty Rome provided a brief update regarding the implementation of the new Associates affiliation category for communication sciences and disorders support personnel. He pointed out that for the next few months ASHA will be primarily gathering information from members regarding likely prospects for affiliating with ASHA as Associates. He reported that the Schools Conference in July will include some focused content for assistants and a special rate for assistants who are interested in attending the Schools Conference for 1 day. He also mentioned that audiology or speech-language pathology assistants who are interested in participating in the Associates trial program can register for a free trial. He reminded the Board that the earliest that someone may affiliate as an Associate is September of 2011.
Chief Staff Officer for Operations Chuck Cochran reported that sales of the townhouses that are being developed on the old ASHA headquarters property at 10801 Rockville Pike are progressing faster than expected. At this time, 20 townhomes have been sold. ASHA receives payments from the gross sales proceeds. Chuck also reported that ASHA has leased another portion of the fifth floor of the National Office and the new tenants will be moving in in July. Another company has expressed interest in most of the remaining space on the fifth floor.
Committee on Committees Appointments
The Committee on Committees reviewed, discussed, and approved appointments to a variety of committees for terms to begin on January 1, 2012.
ASHA's strategic plan, the Strategic Pathway to Excellence, was developed in 2007 and first implemented in 2008 as a strategic management system for aligning Association objectives with initiatives and resources. The Pathway provides direction to staff from the Board as priority activities are determined and has been in use for 3 years. In 2010 the Pathway was reviewed and updated by the Board of Directors for a new implementation cycle starting in 2012.
At this Board meeting, Vice President for Planning Barbara Moore led the Board in a discussion and exercise intended to help the Board develop a routine process for discussing issues that are having a significant impact on members, the Association, or our professions and using the Pathway to guide the decision-making process.
After a discussion, the Board adopted two resolutions. First, that ASHA's National Center for Evidence-Based Practice in Communication Disorders (N-CEP) undertake an evidence-based systematic review in 2011 on the impact of sensory integration treatment on the communication outcomes of preschool and school-age children with sensory motor problems, and second, that N-CEP undertake an evidence-based systematic review in 2011 on the efficacy of discourse-based treatments for adults with right hemisphere deficits.
Advisory Council Meetings Report
Nancy Alarcon, chair of the Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Council and George Purvis, chair of the Audiology Advisory Council, each summarized the outcomes of the March Advisory Council meetings and the further discussions that have followed the meetings through use of the collaboration sites. The Board expressed thanks to both Advisory Councils for their ongoing valuable input and discussed continued opportunities to engage the Advisory Councils on topics of interest and importance to the Board.
Immediate Past President Tommie L. Robinson Jr. presented an update to the Board regarding the nominations and elections process. Tommie reported that a significant amount of additional information was provided about the 2012 candidates in The Leader and on the ASHA website, and led a discussion about ways to increase member participation in elections. The Committee on Nominations and Elections and ASHA staff will continue to look for ways to improve both the information provided to members about candidates and the opportunity and ease of voting. Tommie also presented a number of recommendations that came from the 2008 Ad Hoc Committee on Nominations and Elections Practices Report for enhancing leadership cultivation processes. The Board decided to revisit those recommendations since the moratorium on making changes to the governance structure and bylaws will end in 2012. The Board also elected a few Advisory Council members for 2012 who are filling vacancies that remained open after the regular AC election process.
BOD Operational Guidelines/Confidentiality
In January, 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. As a follow up to that presentation, the presidential team met further with Ms. Gattuso to determine if the Board's operational guidelines needed to be updated. At today's meeting Immediate Past President Tommie L. Robinson Jr. presented the Board with some proposed changes to the Board's operational guidelines and conflict of interest and confidentiality policy. This policy will require affirmation by each member of the Board at the beginning of each year. After discussion, the documents were put in final form and approved by the Board.
Financial Performance and Budget Review
Vice President for Finance Bob Augustine reviewed ASHA's audited financial performance for 2010. He reported that dues income was ahead of 2009 as a result of further growth in membership, a record retention rate of 98.5%, and the dues increase that was initiated in 2010. Non-dues revenue was also ahead of 2009, primarily due to good performance in conference revenue, but also to increased participation in e-learning and telephone seminars. Expenses for 2010 were well under budget for the year. ASHA received an unqualified audit report (no concerns from our auditors). After some discussion, the Board voted to accept the audit report.
Bob also reported on ASHA's 2011 financial performance. As of May 31, 2011, dues revenue, non-dues revenue, and expenses are tracking as budgeted. ASHA is forecasting positive revenue over expenses in 2011. Bob also reported that no dues increase is anticipated for 2012.
Board Assessment Process
Andrea Falzarano, director of association governance operations, provided a summary of the governance evaluation process that has been in place since 2009. It was noted that ASHA is committed to a board self-evaluation process as it is one of the key principles in association management of an effective board. The Board decided in 2009 that every 2 years it would conduct a self-evaluation to assess its strengths, identify areas of improvement, and determine actions to close any gaps. A 2011 self-assessment survey will be completed by Board members and discussed at the August Board meeting.