Program advisory committee meetings are primarily intended to provide the members an opportunity to interact with program personnel, evaluate the program’s learning environment, and assess the progress of the program’s goals and initiatives.
Advisory committees should strive to streamline formal face-to-face meetings as much as possible. Industry professionals will demand that you utilizing their time and expertise efficiently. Providing materials for review in advance, either by email, regular mail, or other digital technologies, can ensure that meeting time is reserved for interactive discussions and decision-making.
How do I best communicate the schedule of meeting?
Organized meetings are one of the keys to a successful advisory committee. Establishing a meeting schedule at the beginning of the academic year will allow committee members to plan their calendars accordingly.
Meeting Correspondence Steps
How often should my committee meet?
Each committee must meet a minimum of two times annually. (Electronic meetings are acceptable). The work plan will dictate the number of meetings. Meetings should NEVER be called simply for the sake of holding a meeting.
What is the attendance requirement?
Attendance must be tracked and members who are not able to make the agreed upon number of meetings should be dismissed from the committee.
Every committee should occasionally invite the instructional chief executives (e.g., chancellors, presidents, superintendents, or principals) to participate at their meetings. The presence of executive personal underscores the importance of the committee and the value of the program within the community. During meetings with executive attendance, members should feel welcome to provide feedback regarding institutional issues that impact the program’s capacity to meet the student’s instructional needs.
NOTE: Committee members enjoy interactions with the students in the program! Invite students to meetings on a regular basis to: give presentations, allow time for mock interviews or other interactions, and provide students the opportunity to serve on a discussion panels.
When is the best time to schedule meetings?
Meeting times should be convenient for the business/industry members and scheduled as far in advance as possible. Regardless of what time a meeting is scheduled, most members will appreciate refreshments.
How long should each meeting last?
A meeting does not need to be long to be effective. The constant should be quality of content, not time. Most meetings will last one to two hours given the nature of the agenda. When it comes to scheduling, most committee leaders generally underestimate the time required to facilitate meaning meetings as well as the time members are willing to commit.
Where should I have my meetings?
More important than where the meeting is held is to communicate the schedule of the meetings with as much notice as possible. Meetings can be held at educational institutions, a local restaurant, or the company. Regardless, the location should be whatever is most convenient for the majority of the committee’s members.
Do we need subcommittees?
Subcommittees are a great way to tackle large or specific issues and avoid redundancy during meetings. Subcommittees may be responsible for researching topics and presenting the committee with recommendations for voting or other consideration.
Meeting discussions should focus on the agenda, and every attempt should be made to involve each member. Time should be allowed for open, free discussion on the strengths and weaknesses of the program. The committee chair should be able to draw on the expertise of individual committee members and not let any one member or school official dominate the discussion.
Why should I establish ground rules for meetings?
The committee should establish meeting ground rules so that all committee members have common knowledge for how meetings will be conducted. Ground Rules should be agreed upon annually by the committee and be kept as part of the committee handbooks. These rules could include the following:
- Encourage everyone to participate equally
- Share ideas freely
- Provide constructive suggestions rather than negative criticisms
- Stay on track and on time
- Be concise
What should my role be for the advisory committee meetings?
The program teacher/faculty/program director’s role is to:
- provide clarifying information to the members
- listen to the committee’s recommendations and feedback
Facilitation of the meeting should be done by the committee chair!
Well-organized meetings add to the advisory committee’s effectiveness. Busy committee members are more likely to remain involved when their time is used well. An evaluation should be given after each meeting.
Meeting Minutes: It’s a Process
All advisory committees and subcommittee meetings must have written minutes. Minutes are the official record of the committee’s activities. They help members understand the group’s progress, concerns, decisions, and actions. Copies of all agendas and past meeting minutes should be on record with the secretary, with the department head, and/or on the advisory committee’s or educational institution’s website. (Note: Public access to advisory committee meeting minutes is a requirement for accreditation.)
What should be on the agenda?
The agenda should follow the Program of Work for the year and encompass all aspects of the program. Focusing on a variety of issues will keep conversations productive and stimulating. Meeting foci commonly include: resource generation, student learning initiatives, student demographics and trend data, facility resources, intern and graduate placement, faculty and student recruitment and retention, forecasting of employment opportunities and strategic planning, curriculum and student assessment, program policies and procedures, and professional development opportunities.
Committees should focus discussion on what the program should be doing instead of on what the program is currently doing well.
Am I required to have meeting minutes?
Yes, All Advisory Committees are required to keep the minutes from each meeting on file with the CTE director. Advisory Committee meeting minutes (with program specific guidance) must be kept on file for the previous five years or back to date of approval for new programs. Meeting minutes should capture action items and other critical information that occurred during the meeting.
What will happen to my program if minutes are not recorded?
Programs found not to be in compliance with these requirements may be placed on a one-year conditional approval by the CCCS program director. If conditional requirements are not met, approval will be revoked. For more information, see the Administrator’s Handbook.)
Advisory committees should create communication channels that help to maintain close employer-educator relationships that go beyond those established through formal meetings. The ability of the committee to make decisions during meetings will depend to a large extent on how well the members communicate between meetings. Don’t hesitate to involve committee members in all school or college events, such as fundraisers and exhibitions. Notifications on activities at the school/college work well to broaden the advisory committee member’s knowledge about the overall institution not just the specific program.
Using Technology for Communications
Most people conduct meetings as the prime way to communicate because a face-to-face meeting is comfortable for them, but that method may not be the best for using the committee’s time wisely. Listed below are some categories and descriptions of some connective technologies that you might consider using in communicating with your advisory committee:
|1. Blogs||A blog is an on-line journal that you share with other people. People can post entries and others can read, write or edit this journal. You can develop a blog for your existing website or there are several sites that offer free blog hosting.||www.blogger.com
|2. Collaborating & file sharing||Allows you to create and share your work online. Applications include documents, spreadsheets and presentations. You can upload from and save to your desktop, edit anytime and from anywhere, and choose who can access your documents.||www.google.com
|3. Groups and listservs/email||The Internet provides a fast and efficient medium for communication between committee members and for committee management. Groups allow a set of people to have discussions about common interests. Groups can discuss, upload, and share files.||www.groups.google.com
|4. Meeting schedules and invitations||A meeting schedule is an online productivity tool that allows you to arrange and schedule meetings (and other events). Usually the tool sends out invitations to participants proposing times; summarizes their responses; updates you on the results; sends confirmations and reminders prior to meetings.||www.doodle.com
|5. Online surveys, polls, and registrations||You can create and publish customized surveys in a short amount of time. You send out invitations to the survey via email and the participants can go online to take the survey. Services allow you to collect, sort, and analyze the responses. This would be an excellent tool to survey your business partners on hiring trends, skill needs, or just about anything related to information that you need from them.||www.surveygizmo.com
Google Docs and Forms,
|6. Podcasting||Podcast is a buzzword to describe downloading audio or video files from the Internet to a portable device (IPod or MP3 player). You might wish to video a meeting or a workshop so that others who could not attend can see it in a podcast form.||www.mypodcast.com|
|7. RSS news feeds||RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. It’s an easy way for you to keep up with news and information that’s important to you, and helps you avoid the conventional methods of browsing or searching for information on websites.||www.feedforall.com
|8. Social networks||A social network site is an online community of people who have a common interest. Your advisory committee could build a profile (who, what, where, why) and then share files, have a discussion, and even have subgroups (subcommittees).||www.facebook.com
|9. Teleconference||Teleconference is a telephone between participants in two or more locations. Teleconferences are similar to telephone calls, but they can expand discussion to more than two people. This works well for small subcommittee meetings||www.instantconference.com|
|10. Text messaging||Texting is the common term for sending a brief text message over cell phones. This would be a great way to remind someone of a meeting on the day of the meeting.||Individual phone plans|
|11. Video sharing/|
|Allows you to post and download videos||www.youtube.com|
|12. Web conferencing or video conferencing and VOIP||Web conferencing tools allow you to meet online rather than in a conference room. A webinar is a neologism to describe a specific type of web conference. It is typically one-way, from the speaker to the audience with limited audience interaction, such as in a webcast. A webinar can be collaborative and include polling and question-and-answer sessions to allow full participation between the audience and the presenter. VOIP technology allows you to make telephone calls over the Internet (converts voice signals into data streams that are sent over the Internet and converted back to audio by the recipient’s computer)||www.webex.com
|13. Website||If the program has a link on the institution’s website, the committee should be able to make good use of it. Ideally, it would provide at least two links: |
Public access link—This link would lead the viewer to information that is of interest to the public, such as general information on the program and the activities of the committee.
“Committee members only” link—This link would provide a connection point for committee and subcommittee members. This is the equivalent of the “back office” area reserved (by password protection) exclusively for authorized personnel.
|Google sites, www.google.com
Your institution's website
|14. Wikis||A wiki is basically a website that allows everyone who registers to add and change content. The most common wiki application is Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia. Wikis are easy to use as all you need is a computer, a web browser, and an Internet connection—no software, no website skills – to begin having very interactive communications with many people simultaneously.||www.wikispaces.com