ASHA’s Strategic Pathway, the Future of the Professions—and You Have you ever wondered what the future will look like for audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists? ASHA’s Board of Directors has, and it brings us a comprehensive view of our professional world with its creation of the “Envisioned Future: 2025.” Why 2025? ASHA will be 100 ... ASHA News
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ASHA News  |   November 2015
ASHA’s Strategic Pathway, the Future of the Professions—and You
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Professional Issues & Training / ASHA News & Member Stories / ASHA News
ASHA News   |   November 2015
ASHA’s Strategic Pathway, the Future of the Professions—and You
The ASHA Leader, November 2015, Vol. 20, 62-63. doi:10.1044/leader.AN1.20112015.62
The ASHA Leader, November 2015, Vol. 20, 62-63. doi:10.1044/leader.AN1.20112015.62
Have you ever wondered what the future will look like for audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists? ASHA’s Board of Directors has, and it brings us a comprehensive view of our professional world with its creation of the “Envisioned Future: 2025.”
Why 2025? ASHA will be 100 years old! The Envisioned Future document describes this centennial vision.
In accordance with Envisioned Future: 2025, the board also revised ASHA’s “Strategic Pathway to Excellence,” a roadmap for achieving the association’s vision and mission. The pathway sets out eight strategic objectives and several operational priorities that will enable the achievement of Envisioned Future outcomes.
These objectives target transformational changes in the way audiologists and SLPs provide services, the way others perceive and value those services, the science underlying service delivery, and the composition of ASHA membership. Staff are tracking and monitoring work on these objectives over the next 10 years, allocating resources and guiding initiatives toward these desired outcomes.
You—the members—are, of course, integral to working toward the strategic objectives and realizing the Envisioned Future: 2025 outcomes. Over the next eight months, the Leader will showcase members—one for each objective—who are already addressing the objectives.
Objective 6: Increase the diversity of the membership
Mike Skiados, ASHA membership director and staff “owner” of the effort, describes the objective: “A more diverse membership, along all dimensions of diversity, is a more engaged and empowered membership, willing to innovate, speak up, take risks, make their needs known and participate in the development of innovative solutions, all to the benefit of the discipline, the professions and those we serve. We can’t have a truly diverse and inclusive membership with the existing gender imbalance. Following ASHA’s successful model of recruiting people of underrepresented racial and ethnic backgrounds and bilingual service providers, we will conduct targeted outreach to men ages 17–20, build interest, provide resources, fuel a pipeline, and sustain those in it over many years.
“We need to begin now! Here is a member who already has.”
Steven G. Jackson, CCC-SLP, Speech Masters Therapy Services, Raleigh, North Carolina
I first learned about the under-representation of males in the professions through my wife, a speech-language pathologist. Motivated to fill what I perceived as a need, I decided to switch my previous career in UNIX systems administration for a new career in speech-language pathology at 34. In my graduate program at North Carolina Central University in Raleigh, I was one of two men out of 60 students.
During my offsite practicum, my supervisors commented on my clients’ positive response to gross-motor activities I weave into treatment to keep them moving while learning. Before graduating, I was blessed to be selected for ASHA’s Minority Student Leadership Program, through which I learned of ASHA’s vision for increasing males in our professions.
I felt that it was my responsibility to help with this recruitment drive. I have promoted our profession to both men and women by serving as an adjunct professor in an undergraduate speech-language pathology program at Shaw University in Raleigh, serving as a trade show vendor, and participating in the Men of NSSHLA calendar in 2008. I enjoy attending career and job fairs because I am able to really sell our profession. Job fair attendees and sponsors are often surprised to see a male representing speech-language pathology. Some say I am the first male SLP they’ve met.

I enjoy attending career and job fairs because I am able to really sell our profession. Job fair attendees and sponsors are often surprised to see a male representing speech-language pathology.

My conversations with young men at these events allow me to segue into the importance of and need for male SLPs. In talking with them, I describe the bonds I forge with my clients. Many recall that they received speech-language services when they were younger and how they benefited.
I point out to them that they can make a difference to others just like the SLP did in their lives. I also describe the different career paths they can choose with a degree in speech-language pathology, including school-based services, private practice, early intervention, acute care, neonatal, skilled nursing, or academia and research.
I emphasize to these young men how marketable they can be, especially as males in our professions. I explain that since there are so few of us, we stand out to recruiters, administrators and human resources personnel. I also underscore that our professions need more males to help diversify our workforce and those we serve.
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November 2015
Volume 20, Issue 11