Jayanti Ray

Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Council

Kelly Spiller

Audiology Advisory Council
Advisory Council

What is an advisory council?

An advisory council is a voluntary collection of individuals who are assembled to make recommendations and provide background for board decisions.

What is the Advisory Councils’ relationship to the Board of Directors?

ASHA’s single governing body is its Board of Directors (BOD). Per the ASHA Bylaws (section 4.1), the BOD actively promotes the objectives of the Association, operating in accordance with and administering and implementing the programs and policies established by the Bylaws and by the BOD. ASHA’s Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Council and Audiology Advisory Council serve in an advisory capacity to the BOD. Their role is to provide advice to the BOD about issues of interest to the Association. The opinions that the Advisory Councils provide to the BOD help the BOD make decisions about the Association. The responsibility for those decisions rests completely with the BOD.

Is an advisory council similar to a focus group?

Yes, ASHA’s Advisory Councils may be thought of as standing focus groups—where a group of individuals with common interests are brought together as a way to gain information about a specific or focused issue. Like focus groups, ASHA’s Advisory Councils can provide valuable information on how groups of people think or feel about a particular topic, provide a way to evaluate existing Association programs, and help improve the planning and design of new programs.

Why did ASHA establish advisory councils?

ASHA established two advisory councils to identify and discuss the critical and/or emergent issues of concern to Association members and to the two professions. The information and/or recommendations provided by the Advisory Councils are used by the BOD to help inform decisions regarding the programs and services that should be provided for members and supported by Association resources.

What are the specific responsibilities of ASHA’s Advisory Councils?

Per the 2007 Governance Restructure Plan (LC 1-2007), ASHA’s Advisory Councils are responsible for a) discussing and ranking issues of concern to members, b) advising the BOD on issues that the need to be considered as the Association engages in strategic or forward planning, c) providing advice to the BOD on issues that the BOD brings to the Advisory Councils, d) reviewing the approved Association budget and making recommendations for future programs and services that support ASHA’s Strategic Pathway to Excellence, e) participating in the formal peer review of all ASHA policy documents, and f) electing the Chair and Vice Chair for their respective councils, nine members to the Committee on Honors, six members to the Committee on Nominations and Elections, two members to the Financial Planning Board, and two members to the Government Relations and Public Policy Board.

What is the desired skill set of an Advisory Council member?

An Advisory Council should demonstrate the ability to listen, analyze, think strategically and creatively, and work well with people individually and in a group. Ideally, a member is willing and able to consider multiple viewpoints about controversial issues. A member must have the willingness and ability to prepare for and attend annual meetings and engage effectively and responsibly in discussions in face-to-face and web-based environments – participation throughout the year is essential. In addition, a member should possess the ability and willingness to develop certain skills if one does not possess them, such as, learning more about the substantive program areas of the Association and issues identified by members, understanding financial statements, and learning to use the technology tools (e.g., web-based discussion forum, group email lists) that support full participation as an Advisory Council member.

What is the role of the leadership of the ASHA Advisory Councils?

Each council elects a Chair and Vice Chair, who are members of their council. In addition, the Chairs also serve on the BOD and provide a direct line of communication between the BOD and each Council. The Chair serves to facilitate the council’s ability to address its roles and responsibilities throughout the year. The Vice Chair provides support to the Chair and the council at the Chair’s request.

What can be done to ensure the effectiveness of an advisory council?

To be effective, it is essential that Advisory Council members have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities and commit the time and attention necessary to fulfill these responsibilities. In turn, the Association must clearly articulate the specific purpose of the Advisory Councils.

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