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Student Ethics Essay Award

Submissions open September 1, 2020, for the 2021 Student Ethics Essay Award (SEEA) competition. Authors of winning essays will be notified in June 2021. See SEEA 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). Former and current members of ASHA's Board of Ethics review the essays and select three winning authors. SEEA winners receive the following:

In collaboration with NSSLHA, SEEA winners and their essays are recognized in the following locations.

Award Eligibility

Students: To be considered eligible to participate in the SEEA competition, you must be

  • enrolled in any undergraduate, post baccalaureate, or entry-level graduate program (U.S. only) in CSD, and
  • enrolled part-time or full-time during the 2020–2021 academic year.

2021 Student Ethics Essay

Topic Background

Clinical supervisors have unique responsibilities to the clients/patients/students they serve as well as to the student clinicians with whom they partner. Regardless of the title—clinical supervisor, clinical educator, or preceptor—the welfare of the persons served ultimately rests with the supervising audiologist or speech-language pathologist and must be held paramount.

Although the Board of Ethics does not have jurisdiction over students, the Code of Ethics does apply to their supervisors, clinic directors, and mentors. When working with student clinicians, supervisors may only delegate tasks that are commensurate with the education, training, and experience of the student. Supervisors must also inform clients/patients/students of the name, role, and credentials of the person who is providing their professional services. At no time may a supervisor delegate tasks that require the unique skills, professional judgement and/or credentials of the certified individual (e.g., diagnosis, test interpretation, and development of therapy plans).

Essay Topic: Ethics in Supervision

Consider the ethical issues that may arise when professional services are provided by student clinicians. In your essay, present a potential ethical challenge or dilemma that may be faced by a student clinician and/or supervisor in this scenario. Then, using ethics resources and the ASHA Code of Ethics (2016), (1) identify one or more Principles and the corresponding Rule(s) that you believe have been violated, (2) provide a rationale for your choice(s), and (3) discuss what action(s) could have been taken to acknowledge and respond to the challenge or dilemma in order to prevent a violation of the Code of Ethics.

Essay Requirements

To receive the maximum score available, you and your essay must first meet all of the following requirements.

  • Essay Format
    • 1,200 words or less, excluding title and any references
    • Standard format including title, introduction, body, and summary/conclusion
    • Microsoft Word (.docx), 12-point font, double-spaced
    • Page numbers in footer, starting with first page
    • No footnotes, only end notes
    • All sources cited when quoted, even Code of Ethics
    • No identifying information (e.g., name, address, institution) on the essay
  • Entries must be original work, unpublished, and not under consideration for publication elsewhere.
  • Students may not submit more than one essay; submissions of entries authored by multiple individuals will not be considered.
  • Students must notify their CSD program director of their participation before submitting their entry.

Suggested Essay Resources

Evaluation Criteria

Things to keep in mind as you write your essay:

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

Submission Instructions

  1. Confirm that you and your essay meet the eligibility and format requirements.
  2. Notify your program director that you will be submitting an essay for the SEEA contest.
  3. Go online to fill out the SEEA application and upload your essay—you can save your work and submit it when you're ready.
  4. Meet the deadline: Essays and applications are due by 11:59 a.m. Eastern Time on Friday, April 9, 2021; the online submission system closes automatically and new or incomplete entries are not accepted.


Contact Karol Scher, ASHA staff liaison to the Ethics Education Subcommittee of the Board of Ethics, at

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