Executive Director Update
August 30, 2011
This is another in a series of occasional ASHA Executive Director updates. These updates are intended to provide ASHA members with a more in-depth view of various ASHA programs and National Office units, key member services and initiatives, and the names and roles of ASHA staff. Information about staff changes and ASHA National Office recognitions/awards is also included.
Many thanks to those of you who have provided feedback regarding the previous updates or suggestions for future Executive Director updates.
ASHA's Survey of Members About Future Trends
An important responsibility of ASHA's Board of Directors is strategic planning. Of course, understanding members' views of our environment and the future challenges we face is key to effective strategic planning.
One way ASHA gathers information about members' views is through online surveys. Not surprisingly, in 2009 and 2010, the focus of several member surveys was the economy. ASHA wanted to know how the recession was affecting members and what resources ASHA could provide to help. We gathered a lot of information over the past 2 years and have been using member feedback to respond to member needs. In 2011, we continued to ask questions related to the economy while also seeking to find out how members are responding to issues that will have an impact on the professions over the next 5 to 10 years. This "Future Trends" survey has been fielded to Advisory Council Members, preregistrants to the Health Care/Business Institute, and preregistrants to the Schools Conference. We will be fielding it to a number of other constituent groups throughout the year, but I thought you might be interested in some of the highlights so far.
Since our members' ability to serve diverse populations is more important than ever, the survey asks two questions related to cultural competency:
- How qualified do you believe you are to provide services to multicultural populations?
- Where did you obtain your professional education to treat those with communication disorders among multicultural populations?
More than 70% of respondents indicated that they felt very or somewhat qualified to provide services to multicultural populations. (It is interesting to note that a similar question was asked in a 1994 survey, and at that time only 45% indicated that they were qualified.) Most respondents said they get their education on this topic "on-the-job," though the second highest category was through continuing education activities. Most of the survey participants—around 90%—indicated that they have received some education in this area. In a 1993 survey, that number was 73%.
The survey also explores the area of online education and its effectiveness:
- Have you participated in any distance education (web-based) courses (professional development, continuing education, etc.) in the last 12 months? (Include both receiving and/or providing educational content.)
- How effective do you believe distance education is for providing audiology and/or speech-language pathology educational content?
More than half of the respondents have participated in distance education in the last 12 months, but less than 35% of respondents felt that distance education was very effective in providing audiology and/or speech-language pathology content. An interesting related fact is that 66% of 2-year and 4-year Title IV degree-granting postsecondary institutions in the United States offered college-level distance education courses in the 2006–07 academic year.
A third area of the survey deals with the use of social media:
- How do you currently use online social networks (e.g., Facebook or Twitter)?
- Which of the following statements best summarize how ASHA should use new technologies to effectively conduct its business over the next 1–2 years?
- ASHA needs to improve member forums, listserves, and the member directory to a state-of-the-art application.
- ASHA needs to move cautiously with technology and be careful of the costs involved.
- ASHA needs to focus on mobile technologies like smart phones and tablet computing.
As expected, most of the respondents said they use social media to connect with family and friends. Most respondents do not use social media in their professional activities. One interesting finding is that about 35% of those who responded do not use social media. More than half of those surveyed selected the need to improve member forums, e-mail lists, and the ASHA member directory to a state-of-the-art application as their top priority, which is consistent with ASHA's focus.
Finally, we asked members about changes in their employment situation:
- During the past 12 months, have you experienced any of the following undesired changes in your employment situation?
- Job loss/layoff
- Involuntary reduction in work hours
- Involuntary increase in work hours
- Reduction in salary or benefits (without change in hours)
- Conversion from salaried to hourly or PRN pay
- Increase in the number of sites served
- Decrease in the number of sites served
- Reduction in caseload/workload/productivity
- Increase in caseload/workload/productivity
- Replacement by support personnel
- Change in employment facility
- Employment facility was closed
Though very few—less than 3%—indicated that they had been through a layoff, around half of the respondents indicated that they were seeing an increase in caseload or workload, which is slightly higher than what was reported by survey respondents in 2009 and 2010.
If you would like to review all of the questions from the survey and see a detailed breakdown of the results, the survey data are available on ASHA's website. We will be sending the survey to a variety of other groups in 2011. If you are interested in sharing your thoughts about the topics in the survey, please consider filling out an InTouch with the Board form on ASHA's website.
National Office Staff Updates
The following individuals are new to the ASHA staff since April 2011:
- Ali Arshed, Network Engineer
- Chad Caruso, Business Systems Analyst
- Bridget Murray Law, Managing Editor, The ASHA Leader
- Jonathan Marcus, Senior Administrative Assistant
- Carrie Stanley, Account Manager, Membership & Sales
The following ASHA staff have changed positions since April 2011:
- Jerome Abellano, Network Engineer
- Kevin Brooks, Network Desktop Applications Analyst
- Matthew Cutter, Writer/Editor, The ASHA Leader
- Irina Plotnikova, Professional Development Program Coordinator
Recent ASHA and ASHA National Office Awards
ASHA was named one of greater Washington's healthiest employers by the Washington Business Journal. ASHA's wellness program not only helps support the health and wellness of staff, it also helps reduce the Association's health care costs.
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