Meet the New ASHA Board Members Four newly elected members of the ASHA Board of Directors will begin their three-year terms on Jan. 1, 2017. Here are their answers to five questions: What was your “aha moment” when you knew you had chosen the right profession? My undergraduate major was speech-language pathology and audiology and ... ASHA News
ASHA News  |   July 01, 2016
Meet the New ASHA Board Members
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Professional Issues & Training / ASHA News & Member Stories / ASHA News
ASHA News   |   July 01, 2016
Meet the New ASHA Board Members
The ASHA Leader, July 2016, Vol. 21, online only. doi:10.1044/
The ASHA Leader, July 2016, Vol. 21, online only. doi:10.1044/
Four newly elected members of the ASHA Board of Directors will begin their three-year terms on Jan. 1, 2017. Here are their answers to five questions:
  • What was your “aha moment” when you knew you had chosen the right profession?

  • What do you hope to accomplish in your new position?

  • How have your professional background and experiences shaped your vision for the position?

  • What are the most important issues facing the discipline?

  • How would you describe your leadership style?

Elise Davis-McFarland Vice President, Trident Technical College (retired)
What was your “aha moment” when you knew you had chosen the right profession?
My undergraduate major was speech-language pathology and audiology and I wanted to get my master’s degree. I asked one of my instructors for a recommendation. She said she doubted that I was a good candidate for graduate school, and suggested I work as a speech therapist for a while before going on to graduate school. [A master’s degree was not required to practice at that time.] I was crushed and began to question whether my ambition was realistic or even possible.
During my final clinical practicum rotation in the university’s clinic, I worked with a college student who had apraxia. He was an economics major but could never say “economics” intelligibly when someone asked him his major. His goal was to be able to say the word “economics” so people would not think he was unintelligent. Treatment included what is now known as an articulatory-kinematic approach and work on his pacing and rate of speech for better articulation. By the end of the semester, he had made so much progress that he was able to give a short, intelligible appreciation speech to his parents and friends at his graduation reception. That was when I knew I had chosen the right profession, and that I could make a difference in people’s lives. I went on to graduate school the next year and graduated with honors.
What do you hope to accomplish in you new position?
In addition to carrying out my duties as president-elect, I’m going to adopt ASHA president Gail Richard as a mentor and pay close attention as she leads the association in 2017. I’ll use my year as president-elect to learn more about the ASHA areas I’m less familiar with, and to get to know more of the ASHA staff. I’ll also be listening to ASHA members for their ideas about how the association can continue to provide the best value and services for our membership.
How have your professional background and experiences shaped your vision for the position?
I have a variety of experiences and skills that have shaped my vision for ASHA leadership. Over the years I have developed a unique perspective on excellence and inclusion that has been important for me professionally and personally. As a faculty member I learned that individual differences in learning and styles of relating enrich the individual as well as the teaching and learning processes. As a program administrator I value teamwork and inclusion of a diversity of ideas. My years as a college vice president reinforced the importance of strong leadership for support of organizational cohesiveness and the wise use of resources. I feel my professional experiences and personal values have equipped me for the leadership task ahead.
What are the most important issues facing the discipline?
There are several issues that require the association’s continued attention. They include expanding our professions’ knowledge base, ensuring that our members are prepared to serve the ever-expanding population of culturally and linguistically diverse clients and students, meeting the challenges of interprofessional education and practice, continuing to develop and nurture our international relations, and ensuring that speech-language pathologists’ and audiologists’ professional services are fully included in the constantly changing health care landscape.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I have held leadership positions in national, state and community organizations. I am always aware of an organization’s mission and culture. When working from an organization level I strive to communicate organizational directives clearly and effectively. When working with groups I value a diversity of opinions and perceptions and then work with the body to develop a consensus about what is to be achieved. I am an attentive listener and effective problem-solver. I have good strategic and logistical planning skills. I feel I am at my best when I am able to practice relational leadership with a group that is committed to a common goal.
Vice President for Academic Affairs in Audiology Janet Koehnke Chair and Professor, Montclair State University, Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders
What was your “aha moment” when you knew you had chosen the right profession?
I honestly can’t say there was one particular moment when I knew becoming an audiologist was the right career for me. As a clinical fellow I learned that being able to make a difference for my patients in a New York state developmental center was extremely gratifying. It became clear to me that the center residents with hearing loss and/or auditory pathology relied on me to be their advocate.
As for my current career in academia, the “aha” was again more of a gradual realization that I love what I do. Seeing the lightbulb go off for students in a class, clinic or research lab was and continues to be immensely gratifying. Just as significant are those times when a former student thanks me helping them to reach their goal. So, too, as department chair, I realize I chose the right profession whenever someone in the department is successful. The success takes many forms: receiving a scholarship, tenure or letters from clinic patients expressing thanks for providing services that improved their lives. So while I cannot point to a single moment, I have many moments that remind me I made the right choice.
What do you hope to accomplish in your new position?
I hope to help move the profession of audiology forward by working collaboratively with the ASHA board and other audiologists to address the issues facing our discipline. I have been an audiologist for almost 40 years and I have been an academic for 30 years. I want to use the expertise I have obtained in that time to be a clear voice for audiologists and to contribute to professional progress. I will have the opportunity to thoughtfully consider areas that are of critical importance to audiologists and work to address issues listed in my answer below.
I want to have a positive impact on the education of future audiologists, as the success and growth of the profession depend heavily on the quality of this education. I look forward to the upcoming ASHA Audiology Education Summit (Oct. 16, 2016). Representatives from every AuD program and audiologists from the different professional, credentialing and accrediting bodies have been invited to this summit to work together on solutions to challenges and problems with audiology education that affect us all. I plan to work to help ensure that momentum gathered at the summit will carry forward to bring unity and to make progress to address the critical issues facing audiology education today.
How have your professional background and experiences shaped your vision for the position?
I like to think that, as Oscar Wilde said, “With age comes wisdom.” My professional experience has taught me how to choose the battles that are important to fight, and how to fight them thoughtfully. Serious consideration must be given to every issue and decision as though it is the most important one to be addressed. As a young and inexperienced audiologist and academic I made some choices that were not optimal—but I learned from them and do my best not to make the same mistakes again. As I tell my students, much knowledge comes through experience. I have become a far better audiologist, teacher, mentor and researcher during my many years in the profession. I believe I have also developed an appreciation for what is important to the profession of audiology. But I have learned that it always takes longer than we think it will to accomplish worthy goals. My experience has also taught me patience. It often takes time and dogged determination to bring ideas to fruition. All of these things enable me to have an ambitious, while also realistic vision for what may be accomplished during my three years.
What are the most important issues facing the discipline?
To me, the AuD education model is issue number one. As I indicated, the upcoming summit will provide an excellent opportunity to address the current model of audiology education and determine whether changes need to be made.
Another major issue is the PhD shortage. As a member and then chair of the ASHA Academic Affairs Board, we worked to develop a plan to address the shortage of academics/researchers in our profession. This shortage is not going to be resolved quickly. Continued efforts need to be focused on recruiting more individuals to pursue PhDs in order to ensure a sufficient pipeline to meet the growing need.
A couple of other critical issues I hope to address include undergraduate preparation for those intending to pursue AuDs, master’s in speech-language pathology, or PhDs. There is a shortage of SLPs and AuDs as well as academics/researchers. Ensuring that their undergraduate education best prepares students for their graduate careers will maximize their likelihood of success.
Finally, we need to carefully consider audiology assistants. We must clearly describe their roles and the training we believe they need to function effectively.
How would you describe your leadership style?
Collaborative and supportive. In past and present leadership roles (such as department chair and committee chair), I strive to include everyone in planning and decision making. I find the best way to do this is to share information with all involved and then engage in discussion to reach consensus. I try to avoid making choices that concern many without consulting with those likely to be affected by the decision. While it is never the case that every member of a group will agree with a final decision, this approach tends to engender the feeling that each person’s ideas and opinions are valued. I also try to lead by supporting each of the individuals with whom I am working. For example, if a curricular decision needs to be made in the department, I look to those individuals most closely involved to determine a solution and then support the decision they have made in bringing it to the administration. I have found this approach to leadership to be generally successful, although there are always bumps in the road.
Vice President for Planning Perry F. Flynn Professor, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of North Carolina at Greensboro; Speech-Language Pathology Consultant, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
What was your “aha moment” when you knew you had chosen the right profession?
I have done an extensive search of my memory banks and can’t identify one single first “aha moment” when I knew I was in the right profession. It seems like every professional moment confirms that for me. When my high school counselor helped me inventory professions that I would be well-suited for and speech-language pathology came up, I was excited by the possibilities that held. The classes that I took at the University of North Carolina Greensboro (UNCG) excited me further and affirmed that I was on the right path. My first job in the North Carolina schools continued the pattern of validation. I have loved every job I have had in the schools and at the university.
Since I can’t pinpoint the one first “aha moment” I will tell you about some recent ones. This summer a colleague at UNCG and I took 11 communication sciences and disorders graduate students to Shanghai, China, to provide speech-language services to a special education school. The “aha moments” came at every turn. Observing our students and getting to work myself in classrooms to provide communication-rich environments for all students was amazing. Seeing children who had no reliable means of communication exchange pictures to make requests was phenomenal. The feeling of lives changing—ours and theirs—was transformational even in a career as charmed as mine has been.
What do you hope to accomplish in your position?
Over the next three years I hope to help the association continue to advance toward achieving our Envisioned Future 2025 and to make progress on the eight strategic objectives.
It is important to help recruit and retain a diverse membership. I want our association to more closely mirror society and the students/clients we serve in the areas of culture, ethnicity and gender. Only about 4 percent of ASHA members are men. I really want to support efforts to recruit more men into the profession, including ASHA’s membership campaign targeting men. I hope all members will help to publicize the outstanding impact our disciplines can make on society to entice more men and people of diverse cultures and ethnicities to become audiologists and speech-language pathologists.
I want to help make the content of our journals more accessible and meaningful to clinicians. Clinicians crave research that they feel pertains to their practice setting. I hope that highlighting this strategic objective will encourage investigators to focus more on generating practice-based evidence while working hand-in-hand with clinicians to produce high-quality clinical practice research. I also hope that clinicians will increase their use of evidence-based practices.
I hope the association can further the use of interprofessional education and practice. We have much to learn from other disciplines and valuable information to share with them. No longer is good service represented by a silo approach. I hope that the blocks to interprofessional education and practice can be overcome to foster integrated approaches to intervention for all the populations that audiologists and SLPs serve.
I hope that members and society in general will place greater value on the Certificate of Clinical Competence and that members will feel the pride that comes from practicing at the top of their license. One way to demonstrate pride is by becoming more involved in the association at the workplace, local, state or national level. When we become more visible and publicize the fine work that we do, society will learn our value and, perhaps, better support members and the professions in a variety of ways, including financially.
I realize those are some lofty hopes. I am looking forward to working with all the board members to advance the discipline by meeting each strategic objective on the path to our Envisioned Future.
How have your professional background and experiences shaped your vision for the position?
As a school-based clinician, state consultant, university faculty member and clinical educator, I have a broad view of the discipline. I have practiced interprofessionally with occupational therapists, physical therapists, school psychologists, and regular and special education teachers for years. I know the value of collaboration and how to collaborate with many different professionals. I can speak about interprofessional practice from first-hand experience.
I can also speak about being a man in a female-dominated profession. I hope that my experiences in this area can help the association find new ways to recruit and support men entering the profession.
I have traveled internationally for professional reasons, so I know about international engagement and cultural competence as an American SLP practicing in foreign lands. I have more to learn, but am open to the exciting challenges the international arena holds.
As a former member of the ASHA Board of Directors and chair of the Speech Language Pathology Advisory Council, I have networked with many ASHA staff, volunteer leaders and members. I have actively tried to further my knowledge on the discipline and the inner workings of the association. I have tried to seize every opportunity to become well-versed in many aspects of the discipline and hope that this experience will inform my work as the vice president for planning.
What are the most important issues facing the discipline?
  • Securing funding and reimbursement for our services.

  • Instantiating reasonable expectations for paperwork/documentation so that we can have more face-to-face time with students and clients.

  • Increasing our visibility to increase our perceived value at a societal level.

  • Increasing the gender, race and ethnic diversity of membership.

  • Expanding ASHA’s international reach and interactions.

What is your leadership style?
I feel my leadership style changes to fit the situation, but my favorite is that of the servant leader. In any organization, group or committee it takes everyone to accomplish the task. There is not one person who is more important than everyone else. Each person in an organization has a role and the goals cannot be accomplished without the full engagement of all the members. Everyone has a role to fill. I want to work alongside everyone to support the work of the association in order to achieve our Envisioned Future 2025.
Vice President for Standards and Ethics in Speech-Language Pathology Barbara Jacobson Associate Director, Medical Speech-Language Pathology, Department of Hearing & Speech Sciences, Vanderbilt University
What was your “aha moment” when you knew you had chosen the right profession?
I came to the field of speech-language pathology on a bent-arrow path. I was a linguistics major, working in a medical library, when I enrolled in an anatomy and physiology course in the communication disorders department. This was the beginning of my fascination with the brain and normal and disordered communication. For my master’s thesis, I compared how individuals with aphasia and dementia responded on the Revised Token Test (McNeil & Prescott). Much of the testing occurred in patients’ homes. I was interested in the research results, but the people with these disorders and their families provided a window into how aphasia and cognitive-communicative deficits impact daily living. My rather abstract view of brain/behavior relationships transformed into a deep understanding of the many ways in which stroke and dementia affect communication and alter the lives of patients and their families. At that point, I knew that I was in one of the best professions to help them improve their ability to function at home and in their communities.
What do you hope to accomplish in your new position?
I want to provide input into how ASHA ensures that emerging as well as established speech-language pathologists are qualified and maintain a level of excellence. We must provide continuing educational experiences that are evidence-based and meaningful to clinicians who must adapt to quickly changing school and health care environments. Our expansive scope of practice means that we must anticipate trends not only in our field, but also in the wider world of education and health care. I want to apply my experience as a liaison between the board and groups charged with setting and implementing the inspirational and aspirational standards for our professions.
How have your professional background and experiences shaped your vision for the position?
In my career, I have had experience as a speech-language pathologist in a broad range of medical and clinical practice areas, including home care, skilled nursing facilities, outpatient and inpatient rehabilitation centers, acute care service in hospital sites, and outpatient settings. In every setting, the need for the highest standards in quality of service and teaching as well as a commitment to the Code of Ethics have guided me. ASHA standards and ethical principles are anchors for practicing clinicians, not only to ensure best practices within our profession, but also to demonstrate to the community that SLPs are academically and clinically prepared to provide excellent services.
What are the most important issues facing the discipline?
  • Adequate and appropriate reimbursement and resources for our services: The competition for dollars (reimbursement and funding) continues to increase and we are challenged by insurers and administrators to demonstrate value.

  • Increasing cultural and linguistic competence: We need access to formal education and resources about how to effectively evaluate and treat individuals who speak languages other than English.

  • Interprofessional collaboration: Many of us already work in teams to provide communication and swallowing services. However, we don’t always understand the roles of other professionals or advocate for our unique perspective in planning intervention, facilitating hospital discharge or achieving IEP goals.

How would you describe your leadership style?
My leadership style is primarily collaborative. I believe that a variety of perspectives are critical in forming policies or making decisions about clinical operations, special projects or program improvements. My philosophy is that I always have something to learn. As a leader, my responsibility is not only to have the big picture, but also to acknowledge, respect and include the views of all involved in the process.
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July 2016
Volume 21, Issue 7