Student Ethics Essay Award

Submissions are now being accepted for the 2020 Student Ethics Essay Award (SEEA) competition. Authors of winning essays will be notified in June 2020. 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). Former and current 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; and
  • a 1-year National NSSLHA membership.

Winners and their essays are recognized

  • on the ASHA website,
  • on ASHA social media, and
  • in The ASHA Leader.

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 communication sciences and disorders (CSD), and
  • enrolled part-time or full-time during the 2019–2020 academic year.

2020 Student Ethics Essay

Topic Background

Foundational to professional and ethical conduct is the commitment to non-discrimination in the delivery of professional services or in the conduct of research and scholarly activities based on an individual’s culture. Cultural competence involves understanding and appropriately responding to the unique combination of cultural variables and the full range of dimensions of diversity that professionals and clients/patients/students and their families bring to interactions.

Culture and cultural diversity can incorporate a variety of factors, including but not limited to age, disability, ethnicity, gender identity (encompasses gender expression), national origin (encompasses related aspects e.g., ancestry, culture, language, dialect, citizenship, and immigration status), race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and veteran status. Linguistic diversity can accompany cultural diversity.

Audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists practicing in the 21st century must recognize the similarities among culturally diverse populations while respecting and acknowledging the important differences that make people distinct and that can affect service delivery, research, and professional/supervisory relationships. When considering cultural competence it is important to remember that not only does everyone have a culture, but cultural competence is clinical competence.

Essay Topic: "Cultural Competence in Service Provision: Ethical Considerations"

Consider the cultural background, experiences, and/or possible biases of clinicians and their clients related to cultural and linguistic diversity. 

In your essay, present a potential ethical challenge or dilemma related to these differing perspectives that may be faced by a clinician when providing services to clients and their families. Then, using ethics resources and the ASHA Code of Ethics (2016), 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, 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

In order to be considered for the SEEA, you and your essay must 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: Submit your essay and application by 11:59 a.m. Eastern Time on Friday, April 10, 2020; the online submission system will close automatically and new or incomplete entries will not be accepted.

Questions?

Contact Karol Scher, ASHA staff liaison to the Ethics Education Subcommittee of the Board of Ethics, at ethics@asha.org.

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