American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

SIG Volunteer Leadership Handbook

Volunteer Leaders

Board of Special Interest Group Coordinators

The Board of SIG Coordinators (BSIGC), representing the various SIGs, is a standing board of the Association and coordinates SIG operations. The BSIGC is responsible for the development of guidelines and operational procedures, as needed, and for oversight and coordination of all SIG activities.

The BSIGC is charged with the following:

  1. Advise the BOD on issues identified by the various SIGs;
  2. Execute specific actions approved by the BOD;
  3. Ensure that the SIGs are operating within the minima and maxima range of activities and that those activities are approved as part of the Association's strategic plan;
  4. Communicate and cooperate with the various organizational components of the Association to promote the goals and activities of the SIGs as they relate to the Association's Strategic Plan and related activities and programs;
  5. Coordinate activities and facilitate communication between and among the SIGs;
  6. Develop, as necessary, guidelines and operational procedures generally applicable to all SIGs;
  7. Prepare annual reports of SIG activities, to be submitted in accordance with policies and procedures of the Association;
  8. Elect individuals from the BSIGC to represent the interests of SIGs on other boards/committees of the Association when requested (e.g., Council for Clinical Specialty Recognition, CCSR). (In February 1995, the BDC approved, by motion, that its representative must have served previously or be serving as a Division [SIG] Coordinator);
  9. Assume responsibilities for Study Sections that may be established.


Members of the BSIGC include the SIG Coordinators, a Chair appointed by ASHA's Committee on Committees, a NSSLHA representative, two officers from ASHA's Board of Directors, the Vice Presidents for Audiology Practice and Speech-Language Pathology Practice, and the Director of the Special Interest Groups as ex officio.


The Committee on Committees shall appoint an affiliate of one of the SIGs to serve as Chair. In submitting its list of candidates for Chair, the BSIGC will strongly encourage the Committee on Committees to select a SIG affiliate who has also served recently as a SIG Coordinator.

The Chair may not serve concurrently as a SIG Coordinator or CC member.

Terms of Office

The Chair shall serve one 3-year term. SIG Coordinators shall serve for no more than two consecutive 3-year terms.

Coordinating Committees

The SIG Coordinating Committee (CC) represents the affiliates of the individual SIG. Its primary purpose is to plan and coordinate the activities of the SIG, including

  • overseeing the content and publication of Perspectives;
  • providing input to and supporting the Association's strategic initiatives;
  • suggesting and providing content for ASHA programming and continuing education activities;
  • identifying and providing expertise to committees and boards (i.e., ASHA Convention Topic Area Program Committee);
  • identifying content experts for ASHA-sponsored conferences and other educational programming through collaboration with the appropriate ASHA unit(s);
  • providing input to policy and advocacy matters;
  • fostering future leaders of the Association by communicating with and nurturing affiliates through appropriate channels (i.e., ASHA's Leadership Training, Association-led mentoring opportunities);
  • prioritizing initiatives;
  • organizing affiliates.

Each SIG CC is responsible for ensuring that the SIG operates within the established programmatic guidelines (see Required Activities of a SIG).


The SIG CCs may range in size from four to five members: a Coordinator, an Associate Coordinator, one or two additional elected committee members, and an Editor. All CC positions are elected with the exception of the Editor—who is appointed, due to the specific knowledge and skills required of the position—from the CC or general SIG membership by the elected members of the CC. Although it is an appointed position, the Editor serves as a full voting member of the committee.

Small or new SIGs may have difficulty constituting a five-member CC; as a result, they may operate with a four-member Coordinating Committee. They would have three elected positions plus a substantive editor, with the option to expand to an elected membership of four persons. Increasing the number of elected members must be anticipated at least one full election cycle in advance and requires a rationale statement. In addition, any changes would need to remain in place for 3 years.

All other SIGs could/should fill four elected seats.

Each CC includes a member of the NO staff who serves as ex officio and facilitates meetings, projects, and activities of the SIG. Ex officios are full working members of the Coordinating Committees, but do not vote.

SIG Coordinator and Associate Coordinator

The Coordinator and Associate Coordinator are selected by and from the members of each CC. The Coordinator chairs the SIG CC and represents the group on the Board of SIG Coordinators (BSIGC). Additional responsibilities include convening and chairing CC meetings and conference calls, assigning individuals to activities, and attending BSIGC meetings. If the Coordinator is unable to serve, the Associate Coordinator assumes the responsibilities of the Coordinator, including service on the BSIGC. Holding the position of Associate Coordinator does not guarantee an individual will become Coordinator.


Only sitting members of the CC are eligible to elect the Coordinator and Associate Coordinator. The CC should choose the successor(s) prior to expiration of the current term of service for the office(s). The SIG Coordinator-Elect is required to participate in the ASHA New Committee and Board Chair Orientation process and is expected to attend the BSIGC meeting held in conjunction with the ASHA Convention in November as part of the orientation and transition process.


Coordinators shall serve 3-year terms beginning January 1 of the year following the elections. Should a CC member be elected SIG Coordinator during his/her 2nd or 3rd year on the committee, the term of office will be extended to allow the member to serve the full 3-year term of office of SIG Coordinator, if eligible. (Note: Coordinating committee members are limited to serving two 3-year terms, not to exceed 7 years in total.

Associate Coordinators do not serve set 3-year terms. (For example, a committee member elected to the AC position after serving 1 year on the CC will serve 2 years as the AC.)

SIG Coordinating Committee Member

SIG Coordinating Committee members are expected to follow the roles and responsibilities specified by the Board of Special Interest Group Coordinators and actively contribute to the success of the SIG.

CC members conduct SIG business as assigned on an ongoing basis through

  • face-to-face meetings
  • regular communication with the Coordinator and other CC members via e-mail, telephone, etc.
  • conference calls or other special meetings/communications as necessary

Perspectives Editor

In recognition of the specific knowledge and skills required of the position, the SIG Editor, an appointed position, was made a full voting member of the SIG Coordinating Committee, effective January 1, 2012. This individual will serve as the point person for all issues related to Perspectives as a member publication and CE product. As appropriate, the Editor will work with the Coordinating Committee, CE Content Manager, and Editorial Review Board to:

  • Conduct a pilot, if necessary, for the purpose of qualifying the publication to be a CE self-study product
  • Ensure publication timelines are met
  • Develop the SIG's editorial calendar, including identifying topics and authors, in collaboration with the SIG Coordinating Committee, CE Content Manager, and Editorial Review Board
  • Solicit content and set appropriate deadlines for manuscript submissions
  • Inform authors of submission requirements, including editorial style, timelines, copyright and permission requirements, CE question-writing guidelines, etc.
  • Assign reviewers from the Editorial Review Board to review specific manuscripts for each issue (at least two reviewers are needed for each manuscript)
  • Solicit CE Content Manager review of all content to ensure learning outcomes, component articles, and CE questions are accurate, timely, written at the graduate level, and align with the issue as a CE product (in addition to the two reviewers from the Board)
  • Negotiate with authors to revise manuscripts and CE questions as necessary to address concerns/criticism of the ex officio, CE Content Manager, and/or reviewers
  • Submit content, including CE files created by CE Content Manager and copyright forms to NO editorial staff 2 months preceding the 1st day of the publication month
  • Review proofs from NO staff, collect responses to queries from authors, and submit query answers to NO staff
  • Work with the CE Content Manager, NO staff (SIGs, ASHA Professional Development), and outside contractor (i.e., for exam processing) to resolve any CE Participant complaints/questions related to issue and/or exam content

This position holds a leadership position on the SIG CE Committee. Although CE Content Managers often work closely with their respective Coordinating Committees, they are not official members of the CC.

For more information, please refer to the Communications Package from the SIG Editorial Assistants (available to Coordinating Committee members only).

Terms of Office

All CC members serve 3-year terms. They may be re-elected for and serve consecutive terms, but not more than two consecutive 3-year terms. Under special circumstances, it may be necessary to extend a term of office by 1 year in order to realign SIG election cycles. In any event, no individual shall serve for more than 7 consecutive years on a CC.

When more than two vacancies occur in 1 year, the term of office of a current member can be extended for 1 year. In the event of a disagreement concerning the selection of the individual to remain on the CC, the BSIGC Chair will make the final decision.

All CC members must be members in good standing (dues paid) of their SIG by February 1 of each calendar year during their term of office.

Ensuring Continuity of Leadership—"For the purposed of administrative continuity, it is strongly recommended that when the SIG Coordinator is in his/her terminal year of service, that the Associate Coordinator be chosen from among those people on the CC who will continue or be eligible for re-election in the following year."


Serving on a SIG CC is reserved for ASHA members in good standing who have selected membership in that SIG. Only ASHA members are eligible to nominate, vote, and hold office; International Affiliates, ASHA Associates, and Students are ineligible. (Please note: ASHA Members who join SIGs as doctoral students fall under the Student Category and are ineligible to nominate, vote, and hold office.)

Individuals can serve on one CC at a time.


CC members, with the exception of the Editor, are elected by a plurality vote of the affiliates in the respective SIG.


Nominations are conducted online in the late winter/early spring of each year and are open approximately 4 weeks. Once the nomination period has ended, all submissions are processed and provided to the current Coordinating Committee for review. It is the responsibility of the Coordinator, or other CC designee, to contact all nominated individuals, whether or not they were selected as an election candidate, alternate, or otherwise. From the names submitted, the committee selects three candidates per vacancy to run in the election. The selected candidates must provide written confirmation of their interest to run in the election. A copy of the confirmation must be provided to the SIG Election Manager. Once confirmation has been received, the candidates are asked to provide biographical information that will be available to voters on the election ballot.

*If no names are submitted for a committee during the nomination process, the position will remain vacant until the following election cycle. If only one candidate is nominated, the nominee will win the position by acclamation.

Elections are conducted online in the late spring/early summer and are open approximately 4–5 weeks. A vendor will manage all aspects of the election once it opens (provide technical assistance, monitor participation rates, etc.). Feedback, including satisfaction ratings and comments, will be provided to the BSIGC after the close of the election. Individual election results will be provided to the respective Coordinators the following week. Coordinators must notify all candidates of the election outcome within 2 weeks of receiving the results. Specific vote counts should not be shared unless a written request is submitted; such requests should be sent to the SIG Election Manager for response.

Committee Vacancies

The number of upcoming vacancies for a committee will be determined in the months prior to the Call for Nominations. If a committee has more than two members rotating off in a given year, a current committee member has the option of extending his/her term for one year. Service terms will be checked to determine who is eligible for an extension and/or who is eligible for re-election. CC members who wish to run for re-election must have their names put forward during the Call for Nominations by an eligible affiliate or through self-nomination. They are not automatically placed on the election slate.

Committee Members are eligible for a term extension IF:

  • they have not already extended their current term
  • they are not currently serving their 7th consecutive year

Committee Members are eligible for re-election IF:

  • they can serve a new 3-year term without exceeding 7 consecutive years of service


Situations may arise that prevent a CC member from performing designated responsibilities adequately over time. In the event a CC member determines he/she cannot complete the current term of office, he/she must resign in writing. His/her replacement will be the nominee who received the next highest number of votes in the most recent election to serve the remainder of the vacated term.

Requests for Resignation

The Coordinator may determine that, in the interest of efficient and effective completion of SIG activities, the inability of a committee member to fully participate needs to be addressed directly. The following guidelines have been developed for handling such situations, should the need arise:

  1. The situation should be discussed in an initial phone call or face-to-face meeting with the committee member. The CC roles and responsibilities list can be used as a reference with the goal of increasing the member's awareness of expectations for committee participation. Sensitivity and discretion should be practiced when addressing personal issues.
  2. A follow-up conversation (via phone or face-to-face meeting) should take place in a reasonable timeframe to determine if the situation has changed and if there has been improvement in participation. If it is decided that sufficient changes have not occurred, the Coordinator should clearly define the expectations and provide reasonable timelines in which the expectations can be met (e.g., participation on all SIG conference calls for the next 3 months).
  3. If changes have not occurred following the second call/meeting, a third call or meeting should be held to discuss the situation after it has been discussed with the other members of the CC. Depending on the circumstances, the Coordinator should present the CC member with the option ofr resigning. If circumstances indicate that redefining a plan for completing the required activities would ensure the committee member's full participation, then this option should be raised.
  4. If the CC member is being asked to resign or if she or he resigns by mutual agreement, a follow-up letter should be written and sent to the member by the Coordinator summarizing the outcome of the discussion and confirming the resignation. Copies should be sent to the BSIGC Chair, monitoring vice presidents, ex officio, and SIG Director.

All meetings and phone calls concerning the above should be documented. The Coordinator should be in contact with the ASHA ex officio at each step.

Committee Member Resources

In addition to the SIG Leadership Handbook, all Coordinating Committee members should be familiar with the roles and responsibilities of a Coordinating Committee member and ASHA's Committee Toolkit [PDF].

Coordinators should also review the Committee/Board Chair Online Orientation and attend the Committee/Board New Chair Orientation, which is held on Committee Day of the annual ASHA Convention.

For additional ASHA resources, see Additional Resources.

Additional Volunteer Opportunities

Coordinating Committees are responsible for planning and coordinating the activities of their respective SIGs, including prioritizing initiatives and organizing affiliates. However, this obligation does not require that CC members personally complete all tasks and activities. Rather, the CC oversees the work and may invite participation by—and delegate duties to—other affiliates.

CE Content Manager

The Continuing Education (CE) Content Manager (formerly the CE Administrator) facilitates the review process, including reviewing content and revising CE questions, if necessary. In addition, this position provides the NO staff with information needed to register the issue/activity and develop the online exam. The CE Content Manager

  • assists the Editor to conduct a pilot, if necessary, for the purpose of qualifying the publication to be offered as a CE self-study product
  • reviews Perspectives content to ensure learning outcomes, component articles, and CE questions are accurate, timely, written at the graduate level, and align with the issue as a CE product
  • assists the Editor in negotiating with author(s) to revise manuscript(s), if necessary
  • reviews CE questions to ensure content and format are appropriate and meet CE guidelines and standards
  • develops CE-related information (e.g., word count, learning outcomes, etc.) required to register each issue as a CE product
  • creates exam and issue files and submits them to the SIG Editor in a timely manner to ensure publication occurs simultaneous CE information, due to SIG NO editorial staff 2 months preceding the 1st day of the publication month
  • works with SIG Editor, NO staff (SIGs, ASHA Professional Development), and contractor to resolve any CE Participant complaints/questions related to exam questions/content

This position holds a leadership position on the SIG CE Committee. Although CE Content Managers often work closely with their respective Coordinating Committees, they are not official members of the CC.

For more information, please refer to the Communications Package from the SIG Editorial Assistants (available to Coordinating Committee members only).

Associate Editor

An Associate Editor is sometimes identified by a SIG to assist the Editor with his/her duties related to Perspectives as a member publication and CE product, including working with the Editorial Review Board (ERB). Some SIGs may use this position to train their future Editors. Although they may work closely with the Editor and/or other SIG volunteers, Associate Editors are not official members of the CC.

SIG Subcommittees

The SIG Coordinating Committee (CC) oversees the operations and activities of its standing and BOD-approved ad hoc subcommittees. As of January 1, 2012, each SIG maintains two standing subcommittees to accomplish the Core Functions of the SIG—the Editorial Review Board (ERB) and Continuing Education Committee (CE). In the fall of each year, the CCs should review the rosters for these committees and provide any updates to their ex officio and the SIG Program Coordinator.

Additional subcommittees or ad hoc committees may be established per approval of the BOD and must have an ex officio or other National Office staff member assigned. These committees must be established in accordance with Association policies and procedures and must be aligned with and included in ASHA's Strategic Plan. The charge of these subcommittees or ad hoc committees should be time- or task-specific; they may be created by the BOD in response to a SIG request or requested by the BOD or National Office.

For more information, please refer to the Communications Package from the SIG Editorial Assistants (available to Coordinating Committee members only).

Editorial Review Board

The ERB consists of the Editor, Associate Editor (if identified), and peer reviewers; the board

  • assists the Editor in the development of the Perspectives editorial calendar, including identifying issue editors, authors, and topics
  • reviews manuscripts as assigned by the Editor consistent with the individual reviewer's expertise
  • submits recommendations to the Editor to approve (with/without modification) or reject a submission

Please note: Each article must be reviewed by at least two reviewers. The same reviewers may review an entire issue or the Editor may assign different reviewers to manuscripts that will be published in the same issue. Once assigned, the reviewer is expected to also review any revised versions of the manuscript through completion of the review process and acceptance of the manuscript for publication.

Continuing Education Committee

The CE Committee works in conjunction with the Coordinating Committee to oversee the CE activities of the SIG. This committee

  • provides input to the Continuing Education Board (CEB) and Scientific and Professional Education Board (SPEB), as appropriate
  • identifies CE opportunities for affiliates through Course Search
  • assists in the design of approved SIG-sponsored education projects (both CE-bearing and non-CE-bearing), such as online chats and Convention sessions

It is recommended that the CE Content Manager chair this committee; however, it is not required.

Project/Activity-Specific Opportunities

There are three volunteer opportunities that do not require BOD approval:

Coordinating Committee Project Team (CCPT)

A CCPT* is created to work on a specific, time-limited task or project (e.g., review an ASHA product).

For example, although a Coordinating Committee may choose to carry out a program/activity as a group or have an individual perform the work, the committee may invite affiliates to work on a Coordinating Committee (name of initiative) project team (CC_PT). The CCPT's charge must be explicit, and a deadline for completion of the work must be specified.

Member Advisory Groups (MAGs)

A Coordinating Committee may be asked to identify affiliates to serve on an ASHA Member Advisory Group (MAGs)*. A MAG, made up of SIG affiliates and other ASHA members, assists staff with an ASHA initiative (e.g., review of CPT codes).

Individual Affiliates

There may be activities that require the help of only one or two affiliates (e.g., identify affiliates in a state to serve on a speakers bureau).

*CC_PTs and MAGs are ad hoc groups and are dissolved at the completion of the tasks. Unless stated otherwise, a CC_PT or MAG comprises no more than five individuals. Similarly, individuals are invited to work on behalf of the SIG on an ad hoc basis. Once the project is complete, the individual's work is done.

For more information, see the SIG-National Office Collaboration Model.

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