Have you ever thought of getting involved in the national Student Academy of Audiology (SAA) leadership or volunteering but something was holding you back? It could be anything from feeling overloaded with school to being nervous about stepping out of your comfort zone. Do you need more information about the role of the SAA Board of Directors and the role volunteers play in national SAA? Well, this article was written for you! It is our hope that this article will help ignite the desire for you to become more involved in national SAA!
SAA Board of Directors
The SAA Board of Directors is a group of students whose goal is to represent the entire audiology student community. It is comprised of the President, President-Elect, Past President, and eight Members-at-Large. Each Member-at-Large position serves a one-year term that runs from July 1 to June 30, while the President serves three consecutive terms (one year as President-Elect, one year as President, and one year as Past President).
Board members have multiple roles. They serve as student liaisons, or representatives, to the American Academy of Audiology committees, councils, and task forces. They are also the communicative link between national SAA and local university SAA chapters. Additionally, they are appointed to serve as committee chairs and lead a number of student volunteers across the nation. These committees represent the diverse initiatives and interests of the national SAA. The committees are listed below with the committee’s charge:
- Chapter Relations Committee – To increase chapter membership, engagement, collaboration, and communication at the undergraduate and graduate level, through outreach, recognition, and resource development.
- Member Relations Committee – To increase individual membership, engagement, collaboration, and communication at the undergraduate and graduate levels, through outreach, recognition, and resource development
- Education Committee – To thoroughly explore student needs surrounding audiology education and the externship process – both as it currently exists and as it prepares students for a changing professional landscape and scope of practices – and to share these findings with appropriate stakeholders in audiology education. To foster mentorship of audiology students, including the development of students interested in research opportunities within the field of audiology.
- Humanitarian Committee – To provide and promote philanthropic support and humanitarian-based service through annual fundraisers and established relationships.
- Public Outreach Committee – To promote audiology as a profession to students and the general public through public awareness, education, and government relations on the local and national levels
- Communications Committee – To connect and inform students about the profession of audiology, including current issues and important topics relating specifically to audiology students, through the use of SAA and Academy-sponsored communication outlets.
- Programs Committee – to organize, coordinate, and promote programming which is relevant and useful to all audiology students, including educational workshops, social events, and networking opportunities during the AAA annual conference and specific student-focused, education conference held in conjunction with the AAA annual conference. To foster leadership in audiology students and to create leadership development initiatives across the SAA enterprise
In addition to the seven committee chairs, one Member-at-Large will be selected to serve as the Secretary. All eight of these positions are assigned by the President after elections are complete. The Secretary, along with the President, President-Elect, and Past President, Member Relations Chair, and Chapter Relations Chair, make up the SAA Executive Committee. The SAA Executive Committee works together on matters of governance and strategy, as well as connecting with local SAA chapters as regional representatives and liaisons. The description of the remaining Executive roles are below:
- President – To chair all SAA Board meetings and the annual SAA membership meeting; to keep the Board informed of SAA activities as they related to the goals and mission of the SAA. The President also serves as the student liaison to the Academy Board and the Leadership Council.
- President-Elect – To shadow the President and serve as a stand-in/replacement if the President cannot perform duties; to oversee the transition of the SAA Board of Directors to the following year.
- Election to this position is a three-year volunteer term: first year as President-Elect, second year as President, and third year as Past President.
- Past-President – To serve as an advisory member of the Student Academy of Audiology and as chair of the Nominations Committee.
- Secretary – To keep all records of the Board: bylaws, policies and procedures, minutes, meetings and notifications.
Applications for the 2020-2021 SAA Board of Directors are currently open on the Audiology Community, and will close on Friday, November 15, 2019. To access the applications, sign into the Community and click on “Current Volunteer Opportunities” under the “Volunteer” tab to find the 2020-2021 SAA Board of Directors application.
Once the application deadline has closed, the applications are reviewed by the Nominations Committee (composed of the SAA Past President and five appointed student volunteers). The Nominations Committee then determines a slate of candidates that is sent to the Board of Directors for approval.
Once approved, the applicants are notified and the slate is announced to the membership on December 20, 2019. Electronic voting will begin on February 3, 2020, and end February 14, 2020. All graduate student SAA members are eligible to vote in the election, and are encouraged to read the applications and cast their vote for the Board. This year, information regarding the candidates will be available in a number of different places, including the SAA Blog. The official announcement of the elected 2020-2021 Board of Directors will be on February 21, 2020.
Still not convinced that you should apply? Worried about not being slated or elected? Don’t be! Even if you do not make the slate or the Board, putting your name out there will provide new opportunities for you. Like they say, when one door closes, another will open! The SAA has been utilizing many strong student leaders in a number of creative ways this past year, including chairing task forces (SAA State Ambassadors, Students with Hearing Loss, Education and Externship) as well as serving in important project leader and microvolunteer roles.
What if running for the board is too much commitment but you still want to get involved with national SAA? Then volunteering for a committee or task force is for you! SAA volunteers serve one-year terms starting July 1 to June 30 each year. Volunteers are assigned to committees or positions and are given certain duties that pertain to their committee or task force. Volunteering is a great way to network with other students around the nation that you would not normally connect with. Volunteer applications are open to all SAA members and are posted to the Audiology Community each spring.
Curious about what volunteers do? Read about volunteer experiences within different SAA committees! While the volunteer applications have closed for the 2019-2020 year, you can still apply to the SAA Volunteer Reserve or contact the SAA President, Riley DeBacker. SAA is always creating new and exciting initiatives and there might be a need for more volunteers throughout the year.
Our advice: If you still are not sure, just do it! You are likely to look back and be thankful you took that leap and became involved. As we train to become skilled and knowledgeable audiologists in the clinic, consider how else you can become a well-rounded provider. Volunteering through the SAA is a great way to network with students and professionals, be exposed to ideas and concepts outside of your university, and work on your own leadership skills. We hope you’ll volunteer with us today!
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