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The Voice and Speech Trainers Association (VASTA) is an international organization whose mission is to advance the art, research, and visibility of the voice and speech profession.
- SERVE the needs of voice and speech specialists, teachers, and students in training and in practice.
- ADVOCATE for those who work and study in the field.
- PROMOTE the vital role of voice and speech specialists for all professional voice users.
- BROADEN public understanding of the nature and importance of voice and speech use and training.
- CREATE opportunities for ongoing education, and the exchange of knowledge and information among professionals in the field.
- CULTIVATE diversity within our membership, and encourage a liveliness of thought and opinion.
- UPHOLD and advance excellence in voice and speech.
Every ten years, a
s required by VASTA's Bylaws, the Board —
along with some chosen members at large —
will gather for a Visioning Retreat
. At these retreats, attendees will brainstorm and envision ways in which VASTA can improve and grow.
These "Visions" create a road map of objectives which will help to guide the Board as it makes decisions for the operations and future direction of the organization.
The Voice and Speech Trainers Association has had a long-standing commitment to advancing the field, professional development of its members, publishing, mentorship, diversity, advocacy, and international growth. While maintaining these on-going initiatives, the organization plans to use the following three charges to guide us as we move into the future.
- Share within our VASTA circle by increasing opportunities to learn from each other’s expertise, hear one another’s stories, open conversations, provide mentorship and nurture leaders.
- Expand outside our VASTA circle by creating initiatives to learn from other fields, invite new members in, and bring students to conferences.
- Engage with individuals and groups outside our field, offering our work to help empower their voices while opening ourselves to what we may learn in the exchange.
VISION: 2005-2014 - Including action steps for the first three years
To improve the ways in which our culture values voice and spoken language, and the ways it recognizes the skills required for effective communication, such that:
- Voice & Speech training becomes part of the core curriculum from Kindergarten through Higher Education;
- International alliances among trainers foster an exchange of learning and organizational growth;
- VASTA advances a point of view about voice training that celebrates common goals and diverse ways of achieving those goals;
- VASTA's membership and leadership is as diverse as the communities that we serve;
- Voice and Speech trainers are able to employ technology in support of our mission;
- VASTA has the power and financial backing to support and implement its mission.
2005-2007 Action Steps - Targets, Goals and Objectives.
Membership and Diversity
A. Be different: Increase diversity among membership and leadership.
- Sponsor a non-member from an under-represented group to attend the '06 conference — current board members will nominate this person from a slate of possibilities at the August '05 board meeting.
- Create a " How to" web document on Self-marketing for individual practitioners — first draft to be submitted by 5/05 from Ginny Kopf.
- Outreach to communities — appoint an ad hoc committee with Chair to create a list of whom we currently serve, and whom we might potentially serve, by the summer of '05, then create a plan to expand service to those we might serve.
- Include a presentation by a member of an under-represented group at every conference, starting in '06.
- Initiate a scholarship for potential members/trainers from under-represented groups. Create a committee to draft guidelines in '05.
- Foster success and alliance among regional and international voice groups beginning with a meeting at the conference in Scotland '05 to connect with UK and international voice groups
B. Encourage VASTA members and Board members to connect by travel to other countries (e.g. Lisa
Wilson & Kate Ufema's trip to South Africa in '04).
- Establish contacts with faculties and students at International Theatre Schools '06
- Establish reciprocal Web-links between vasta.org and other websites, '06
Advocacy and Awareness
A. We will work to raise the profile of VASTA and what we do as an organization.
- Maintain website, current publications.
- Evolve E-newsletter in '05.
- Expand ACTF Vocal Excellence Awards to Regional ACTF in '06.
- Increase student awareness by requiring our students to access and report on the benefits of vasta.org as a research tool for voice classes, '05.
- Establish a committee and create a National Award for Voice, Speech, and Text Excellence in Performance. Committee to form in '05, 1st award in '06. In '07 place a profile article about the recipient in the Voice and Speech Review.
B. Raise standards for practice within the profession.
- Continue to make available: Training guidelines; Tenure and Promotion guidelines; the Ethics, Standards, and Practices section of journal
- Exemplify through conferences and presenters.
- Establish dialogue with the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST) and the University/Resident Theatre Association (U/RTA) with a report by August '06, regarding accreditation of MFA Voice and Speech Pedagogy programs, and Voice and Speech components of current actor training programs.
C. Increase public awareness of good vocal usage.
- Continue Publications, both electronic and print.
- Create more member visibility through VASTA logo stickers to be added to conference ID badges at ATHE '05.
- Create more member visibility by offering members the opportunity to buy lapel pins and/or name tags with VASTA logo and name — August '05.
- Encourage members to self-identify their VASTA association on papers, presentations, workshops — immediately.
- Solicit VASTA members to do outreach to High School Teacher In-Service Programs; in '05 identify a Resource Person to: Solicit this action; Act as resource for volunteers; and follow through and report to the Board.
- Produce DVD(s) on Vocal Health for Teachers. Additional Titles (i.e. vocal effectiveness, speaking to teach, presentation skills for lectures, enlivening text) identify a home base for program; BettyAnn Leeseberg-Lange has volunteered to research these questions now, and to report on the feasibility in '06.
- Workshop challenge: challenge issued by VASTA VISION retreat for every VASTA member to present a workshop to a "new group" or presenting a new topic, with a follow-up report of the experience for publication in the e-letter "trailblazing column" — '05.
A. Increase the number of members:
- Maintain current financial solvency.
- Add, via VASTAVox, a monthly reminder of the VASTA sponsorship and the benefits of membership.
- Membership chair will author a "where are they now?" list on the e-letter so that we can collectively re-connect with inactive members.
B. Build member engagement with the organization.
- Engage new and ongoing members via a self-identifying checklist of interests and strengths (this will be accomplished through an e-survey correlating our jobs with members' skills, asking if members are interested in a follow-up contact, asking what simultaneous on-line conversations the members are interested in, and allowing for responses like 'no interest now, contact me later'); Spring '05
- Create online simultaneous conversation opportunities for subgroups like freelancing, burnout, and other topics that might arise on VASTAVox; Spring 06.
- Create and fund two VASTA originated regional mini-conferences by '06 to serve the membership.
- Create guidelines by which any member can propose a VASTA mini-conference in their region by '07.
- Continue ROG (Regional Outreach Grants) that build member contact; report in the e-letter, identify possible hosts, (BettyAnn Leeseberg-Lange report on the success of the Washington DC regional group Spring '05).
- Encourage Faculty to apply for institutional grants that support VASTA goals (use web, newsletter, box to publicize, create a list of such projects, create a list of members with interests in such projects as Curriculum for High Schools, then follow-through by contacting them, create an ad hoc committee by '06.
- Corporate sponsorship of projects like: scholarships, ACTF awards, and diversity membership — ad hoc committee to be formed in '05, first scholarship in '07
C. Manual of Operations
- Examine current terms and alternative terms of office to move members into the leadership in a shorter time, and decrease the daunting term of service and family impact at the leadership level.
- Review current job descriptions for possible redistribution of some assignments for the board meeting in '05.
- Make the workings of the Board more transparent through creation of a Member-at-Large (MAL) visitor program. A Member-at-Large would be chosen from among the more recently joined VASTA members evidencing interest in organizational leadership, Chicago '06.
- Add a Photo Gallery to the vasta.org website — initiate this at the '05 Board meeting, helping to identify the job and office holders in the organization.
- Mentor early, mid and advanced career voice professionals in teaching, research, and leadership include mentoring invitation in every new member packet, forward new member names to Mentoring Director — immediate.
- Create a "Big Sister/Big Brother" program for all new members to connect with a current member retroactive for past year with an attendee at the Scotland '05 and Chicago '06 conferences
- Add interest and strengths survey to all new member information and all renewal information update; distribute the collected information to named area leaders for immediate follow-up — '05.
- ATHE Conference planner '06 will establish 2 four-member panels on pedagogy; continue future conferences.
- Conference in Chicago '06 on Pedagogy and Learning (first in a series).
- Create a Voice Consult Index on vasta.org with weblink on e-letter: a list of those willing to be consulted on area specialties, i.e. undergraduate voice courses, dialects etc. on vasta.org 06.
- Create the VASTA Fellows Program: Create a program of visiting teaching Fellows from among VASTA's membership. These Fellows would be available for exchange or visitation during their term of service at a reduced fee or in receipt of expenses, housing etc. to exchange teaching specialties or present workshops. Appoint an ad hoc committee with Chair to devise guidelines, and an implementation plan for review at August '05 Board meeting.