Student Ethics Essay Award

Submissions are now closed for the 2016 Student Ethics Essay Award (SEEA) competition. Authors of winning essays will be notified in June 2016. See Student Ethics Essay Award recipients to view previous winners and read their winning essays.

The SEEA program is conducted as part of ASHA's efforts to enhance ethics education activities. The goal of the program is to encourage students to think about ethical decision making and create greater awareness of situations that could pose ethical dilemmas as they prepare to start careers in audiology, speech-language pathology, or speech, language, and hearing sciences.

The essay competition is open to students who are enrolled in any undergraduate, post baccalaureate, or entry-level graduate program (U.S. only) in communication sciences and disorders (CSD). Participating students write an essay on the selected ethics topic and submit it to their CSD program director or his/her designee for initial review; each program director/designee may select up to five student essays for submission to ASHA for the final review and selection process. Members of ASHA's Board of Ethics review the essays and select three winning authors, who receive

  • one student registration to the ASHA Convention (first place winner only);
  • monetary prizes ($750, $500, and $250 for first, second, and third place, respectively);
  • certificates of achievement;
  • a 1-year national NSSLHA membership;
  • invitations to the NSSLHA Luncheon and Honors Ceremony during the ASHA Convention

Winners and their essays are recognized

  • on the ASHA website,
  • at the NSSLHA Luncheon and Honors Ceremony, and
  • in The ASHA Leader.

Award Eligibility

  • The individual must be a student enrolled in any undergraduate, post baccalaureate, or entry-level graduate program (U.S. only) in communication sciences and disorders (CSD).
  • The individual must be enrolled part-time or full-time during the 2015–2016 academic year.

2016 Student Ethics Essay

Topic: Client Abandonment

During your professional career in audiology or speech-language pathology, changes in employment may occur, thereby ending clinical relationships with those you serve. Inappropriate transition of services could potentially compromise the welfare of persons served. In those situations, it is imperative to ensure continuity of care; to do otherwise may be considered client abandonment.

In your essay, present an ethical dilemma or challenge that may be faced by a clinician in the area of client abandonment. Then, using ethics resources and the ASHA Code of Ethics, identify one or more Principles and the corresponding Rule(s) that you believe have been violated and provide a rationale for your choice(s). Finally, suggest how the situation could be handled for a proper resolution and what could have been done differently to minimize the likelihood that the ethical dilemma would have occurred at all.

Essay Requirements

  • Essay Format
    • 1,200 words or less, excluding title and any references (essays exceeding the 1,200-word limit will be disqualified)
    • Standard format including title, introduction, body, and summary/conclusion
    • Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx), Times New Roman 12-point font, double-spaced, on 8½" x 11" white paper
    • Page numbers in footer, starting with first page
    • No writing in header
    • No footnotes, only end notes
    • All sources cited when quoted, even Code of Ethics
    • Add final page after essay containing student's name and university, and essay word count
  • The SEEA Application Form [PDF] is an electronically-fillable PDF that must be completed and signed by the student and program director/designee, and submitted with the essay.
  • The student's name and other identifying information should appear only on the SEEA Application Form and on the final page as noted above, in order to ensure objectivity in the review process.
  • Entries must be original work, unpublished, and not under consideration for publication elsewhere.
  • Individuals may not submit more than one essay. Submissions of entries authored by multiple individuals will not be considered.

Essay Resources

Essay Evaluation Criteria

The CSD program director/designee may use any criteria and means he/she chooses for evaluating essays. Possible evaluation criteria include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Has the writer followed the essay format and submission requirements described above?
  • Has the writer approached the essay topic in a fresh, rich, and illuminating way, avoiding moral platitudes and oversimplification?
  • Has the writer demonstrated familiarity with the ASHA Code of Ethics (2010r), relevant Issues in Ethics statements, and other ethics-related resources?
  • Does the writer make a contribution to ethical deliberation and discernment that is mature, insightful, and likely to be both helpful and interesting to students and ASHA members?
  • Has the writer presented his/her position in a clear, logical manner that facilitates understanding of the writer's reasoning?
  • Has the writer supported his/her arguments with factors that are ethically relevant and avoided preoccupation with matters that have little logical relevance to the writer's thesis?
  • Is the writer's analysis comprehensive, objective, balanced, and thorough?
  • Is the essay free of grammatical, typographical, and punctuation errors?

Submission Instructions/Checklist for Students

  • Confirm that you and your essay meet the eligibility and format requirements.
  • Complete and electronically sign the student section of the SEEA Application Form [PDF].
  • E-mail (1) your essay (MS Word) and (2) the application form (PDF) to your program director/designee by Friday, April 15, 2016. (Essays/applications submitted directly to ASHA by students will not be accepted.)
  • Print and submit your essay to your program director/designee by Friday, April 15, 2016.

Submission Instructions/Checklist for Program Directors/Designees

Submission Deadlines

  • Student Deadline: April 15, 2016
  • Program Director/Designee Deadline: April 22, 2016


For questions on the SEEA or the submission process: Karol Scher, staff liaison to Ethics Education Subcommittee, at [email protected].

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