20. The ASHA Curriculum Process In Summary-b

We return to the question posed in an earlier post:

How are school curriculum trends identified, studied, described as course topics, and approved for implementation at the 300 or so national academic centers?

Our analysis settles on how an ASHA bifurcation makes curriculum processing almost impossible.

We begin to conceptualize curriculum inefficiency by considering curriculum processing — inputs, throughputs and outputs. Collaboration continues to be our source of evidence. Throughput is “the amount of material or items passing through a system or process.” (Google)

Three overlapping components under the supervision of the ASHA Board of Directors are coordinated to change curriculum in academic programs for graduate student.

Public Relations Component

1. The curriculum process starts with the identification of topics flooding in to ASHA headquarters via conference reports, advocates, blogs, journal articles, position papers, personal contacts, heath care trends, internet sources, letters to the editor and Facebook. The Vice President for Speech-Language Practice is responsible for evaluating the input: “Identifying issues and forecasting needs and trends; Initiating and directing recommendations to enhance professional and clinical practice in speech-language pathology services…” (2014)

2. The input serves the public relations functions of ASHA. Positive images of the profession are created, both for the non-profit organization in Washington, D.C., and the large and diverse ASHA membership. Members wish to see their professional curriculum positively presented. The ASHA Leader publication and the ASHA website are key public relations organs. To “…inform others (e.g., health care providers, educators, other professionals, consumers, payers, regulators, members of the general public) about professional services offered by speech-language pathologists as qualified providers.” http://www.asha.org/policy/SP2007-00283/ The public relations component supports income generation for products, services and charitable contributions.

3. Curriculum input serves to justify and support ASHA continuing education programs. Where graduate SLPs lack new knowledge for emerging practice, they must up-date skills through ASHA programs. ASHA encourages excitement for learning and professional pride. Members are obliged to maintain their credentials by taking yearly continuing education courses. Continuing education can cover professional knowledge not covered in graduate school. New topics are called “hot topics.”

ASHA maintains a well-developed Continuing Education Board in support: “The CEB develops the policies and procedures of the ASHA Continuing Education (CE) program. It comprises nine volunteer ASHA members and two monitoring vice presidents from the ASHA Board of Directors who serve as liaisons. The ASHA CE staff at the National Office implement the policies and procedures developed by the CEB. Seventeen ASHA CE staff directly support the CEB’s work.”

4. For topics having apparent weight, ASHA decision-makers facilitate analysis using a variety of techniques. Expert panels are assembled to sort out details. Invited articles organize and document content. Convention presentations foster broader discussions of emerging issues. Approved workshops provide instruction on clinical applications. Feature articles share success stories. Expert reports are published on the ASHA website. Quasi-policy statements are written to advocate for best-practice application.

5. Selected skill areas are designated “preferred practice patterns.” http://www.asha.org/policy/PP2004-00191/ Included is the Scope of Practice Document which serves as the input to the Accreditation process.

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