American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

NSSLHA Strategic Plan


Status Report: March 2009


NSSLHA: The Future of the Communicative Sciences and Disorders Professions


The mission of the National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association (NSSLHA), the pre-professional membership association for students interested in the study of communicative sciences and disorders, is:

  • To advocate for students at the national, state, and local level;
  • To forge professional relationships between speech-language pathologists and audiologists;
  • To provide resources to prepare students to become professionals, and;
  • To facilitate the transition from NSSLHA to ASHA membership and other professional organizations as the entry into the profession.

Issue A: Membership

The number of students entering CSD programs and becoming NSSLHA members is not projected to meet the growing need for CSD services. In addition, pre-professional membership does not reflect the diversity of the population at large.

Outcome/Goal A

More students entering undergraduate and graduate CSD programs will become active participants in NSSLHA.


  • Educate students and faculty about NSSLHA and the role of local chapters.
  • Examine the current membership structure of NSSLHA.
  • Investigate what CSD students desire from a pre-professional organization.
  • Re-examine membership benefits currently available to members of the organization.
  • Promote NSSLHA's benefits, programs, and accomplishments to faculty, undergraduate, and graduate students.


  • Exhibited at the Council of Academic Programs in CSD Conference (April 2008)
  • Completed a survey of CSD member and non-member students (December 2008)
  • Initiated a by-laws amendment to address equal representation on the Council (January 2009)
  • Created a Member-at-large position (January 2009)

Outcome/Goal B

NSSLHA's membership will better reflect the population as a whole and the diversity of those who receive the services from CSD professionals will be increased.


  • Facilitate the recruitment of diverse undergraduate and graduate students in local chapters through education and partnerships with the national organization.
  • Educate the public about CSD professions; target educational opportunities aimed at underrepresented groups, such as:
    • Males
    • Cultural and Linguistic Minorities
    • International Students
    • Audiology Students
    • Non-Traditional Students (second career; generational differences)


  • Entered into an agreement with Bilingual Therapies to provide scholarship opportunities for Bilingual NSSLHA members. (January 2008)
  • Participated in the Health Occupation Students of America Conference (June 2008)
  • Distributed materials to 14 local chapters or private institutions across 11 states to host CSD Career Awareness events.(On-going)

Issue B: Advocacy

NSSLHA strives to be the student voice in audiology and speech-language pathology professional organizations and government agencies.


NSSLHA will participate in decisions affecting the professions of speech-language pathology and audiology to ensure that student input is recognized and considered.


  • Ensure a NSSLHA presence on professional boards and other decision-making entities.
  • Ensure that ASHA considers the impact upon students of the rules/regulations it adopts.
  • Ensure state level participation in professional organization and legislative issues.
  • Establish lines of communication with related professional and student organizations (e.g., NAFDA, AAA).
  • Allow opportunity for student input (panels, conference, questionnaire).


  • Regional Councilors are represented on key ASHA board and committees (Ongoing)
  • NSSLHA's vice-president participated in a student discussion with the Council of State Association Presidents (November 2008)

Issue C: Communication

NSSLHA has extensive resources that are not readily available and frequently accessed by members and chapter advisors.


Increased knowledge, personal ownership, and utilization of the resources available through NSSLHA.


  • Use technology to its full extent to communicate with NSSLHA members.
  • Streamline channels of communication with all members.
  • Provide multiple opportunities for participation to meet the needs of all members and allow for maximum utilization of NSSLHA resources.
  • Customize communications and resources for the varied audiences of NSSLHA.


  • Hosted conference calls with local NSSLHA chapters (August/September 2008)
  • Implemented an online NSSLHA membership application (March 2009)

Issue D: Organizational Relationships

NSSLHA needs to define and advance its relationships with other related student and professional organizations.


Foster productive and collaborative relationships with other related organizations.


  • Create a position statement on NSSLHA's relationship with related organizations.
  • Learn more about the other student and professional organizations.
  • Collaboration with the executive board of NSSLHA and other student organizations in co-sponsored events.
  • Participation in other organization's conventions, meetings, and conferences to gain a better understanding of how each organization functions.
  • Keep other organization up to date with activities of NSSLHA through e-mail.


  • Co-hosted the student luncheon at the NBASLH Conference (April 2008)
  • Exhibited at the NAFDA Conference (April 2008)

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