Candidate for Vice President for Planning: Kathy L. Coufal, CCC-SLP

Why are you running for Vice President for Planning on the ASHA Board of Directors?

The ASHA Leader asked the candidates:

What is your top priority if elected to the ASHA Board of Directors?

The vice president for planning role is to strategically and creatively facilitate alignment of the diverse activities of the association with the Strategic Pathway to Excellence. My top priority is for every member to view ASHA as a reflection of themselves and the primary source of resources for our members. I seek to be open to the needs and views of our members and to trends impacting the professions, and to facilitate engagement among the various constituencies within ASHA. By promoting positive collaboration that builds on the interdependence of all members, committees, boards and councils; connecting unique ideas, projects and initiatives; and advancing creation of new partnerships, while serving as a liaison among professionals, students and consumers, I will work on behalf of all members.

Dr. Kathy L. Coufal's diverse clinical, academic, and service experiences represent rewarding opportunities for engaging in ongoing learning, gaining perspective, identifying professional trends, and developing policy. She draws upon relevant situations to share with her students and relies on her analytic thinking and collaborative style in working with colleagues. Dr. Coufal has a distinguished record of innovation and leadership in service to professional organizations.

Early experience in a large rehabilitation hospital was especially valuable when Dr. Coufal was recruited to open a speech-language pathology program for Easter Seals. She later served a Head Start program, working with a Lakota Sioux population of children and mentoring staff to promote language development and school readiness skills. Dr. Coufal draws on those unique experiences in advocating for students to leave their comfort zones and immerse themselves in contexts that challenge their sensitivities and foster growth. When recruited to develop and direct the first Early Intervention program for a large metropolitan school district, she relied on her creative and strategic approach, leading a program serving 600 families annually. This experience advanced her administrative skills, her passion for early language, and her expertise in collaborative, consultative service delivery.

These examples of pioneering career opportunities punctuate her contributions in higher education. Dr. Coufal has served as Professor, Department Chair, and Program Director at Wichita State University and currently as Professor and Program Director, University of Nebraska–Omaha. She has directed undergraduate, master's, and doctoral research, has been named outstanding NSSLHA Advisor, and has received the Honors of the Nebraska Speech-Language-Hearing Association, among other accolades.

Dr. Coufal is a proud ASHA Fellow. Service to ASHA has been one of the most rewarding opportunities of her career, including co-chairing the 2011 ASHA Convention, chairing the SPEB, serving on ASHA's Legislative Council, and spearheading the creation of a child language specialization. Her wide-ranging service at state and national levels and extensive professional contributions support her goal: promoting members' involvement.

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