Have you ever thought of getting involved in the Student Academy of Audiology (SAA) leadership or volunteering but something was holding you back? It could be anything from being 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 student 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 who represent the student membership of the SAA and the audiology student community. It is composed 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 of each year, while the President serves a three-year consecutive term (one year as President-Elect, one year as President, and one year as Past President).
Two Members at Large will be selected to serve as the Secretary and Treasurer. These two roles join the President, President-Elect, and Past President on 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. A description of the SAA Executive Committee roles are provided below:
- President (Riley DeBacker, elected in the 2018-2019 election) – 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 AAA Board (ex-officio) and the Academy’s Leadership Council.
- President-Elect (to be elected in this election, 2019-2020) – 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.
- Treasurer (to be selected by President following election to the board) – To render direction, management, and communication regarding finance and investment of SAA. The Treasurer serves as the liaison to the AAA Foundation.
- Secretary (to be selected by President following election to the board) – To keep all records of the Board: bylaws, policies and procedures, minutes, meetings and notifications.
The SAA Board of Directors serve multiple roles in various capacities. They serve as student liaisons to the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) councils, committees, and task forces; they serve as the communicative link between national SAA and local SAA chapters; and they also serve as committee chairs and lead a number of student volunteers across the nation.
SAA committees represent the diverse initiatives and interests of the national SAA: Below is a listing of the SAA committees and charges:
- Chapter and Member Relations Committee – To increase student membership, engagement, collaboration and communication between the national SAA, SAA Chapters, and students at the undergraduate and graduate level through outreach, recognition and resource development.
- Development 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.
- AAA Programs Subcommittees:
- SAA Programs – To enhance the student experience at the AAA Conference by planning, organizing, promoting and facilitating educational workshops, social events, and networking opportunities that are both peer-to-peer and professionally based.
- SAA Conference – To organize and coordinate an annual, student-focused, educational conference held in conjunction with the Academy’s annual conference, AAA Conference, and develop programming that is relevant and useful to all audiology students.
Applications for the 2019-2020 SAA Board of Directors are now open on the Audiology Community and will close on November 16, 2018. Once the application deadline has passed, the applications are read by the Nominations Committee (composed of the SAA President and four appointed volunteers). The Nominations Committee determines a slate of candidates and sends to the SAA Board of Directors for approval. After the slate is approved, the applicants are notified and the slate announced to the SAA membership on December 21, 2018.
Electronic voting will begin on February 4, 2019 and end February 15, 2019. Only current SAA members are eligible to vote in the election. All graduate members of the SAA 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.
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 roles.
What if running for the board is just a little bit too much 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 (undergraduate and graduate) 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. While the volunteer application has already closed for the 2018-2019 year, you can still apply to the reserve volunteer pool or contact the SAA President, Liz Marler. The SAA is always creating new and exciting initiatives and there might be a need for more volunteers throughout the year.
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!