Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Council
Audiology 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
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
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
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
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
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
What can be done to ensure the effectiveness of an advisory
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.