Developing Productive Advisory Committees
The formation of an advisory panel/committee implies the group’s advice will be considered. It must be remembered though that the advisory panel/committee is not a policy-making body; therefore, there may be occasions when a specific recommendation is rejected by administrators or by program personnel.
Following are strategies when working with advisory panel/committee recommendations:
All of the advisory panel/committee recommendations must be acknowledged in writing. A written report of the action taken on each recommendation should be presented to the group as soon as possible.
A full explanation, written or verbal, must be made to the advisory panel/committee when a recommendation is rejected. If the recommendations are sound and feasible, appropriate action should be taken quickly.
Steps in following through on an advisory panel/committee recommendation:
- Send minutes of the meeting to all instructional personnel, principal of the school involved, director of schools and school board members.
- School or institution personnel decide the action to be taken on the advisory panel/committee’s recommendation.
- Inform all panel/committee members immediately after the decision is made that:
- the suggestion is implemented as originated,
- the suggestion is implemented with modifications and explanation, or
- the suggestion is declined with explanation
Report the decision again at the next advisory panel/committee meeting and hold further discussion when requested.
PRODUCTIVE ADVISORY COMMITTEE DOs
- Provide advisory committee members with a handbook explaining the purpose, operation, and organization of advisory committees;
- Send a letter of appointment to each member signed by the chief school administrator or other appropriate person;
- Keep advisory committee members informed of current and pending legislation affecting Career and Technical Education;
- Hold meetings on an organized time schedule and adhere to the schedule;
- Notify members promptly regarding actions taken as a result of their recommendations;
- Send each member a letter and an agenda reminding him/her of each meeting at least two weeks in advance of the meeting;
- Solicit the advice and recommendations of members regarding the effectiveness of the Career and Technical Education program and the effectiveness of advisory committee meetings;
- Establish an informal atmosphere at meetings and encourage the exchange of ideas;
- Mail each member a copy of the advisory committee minutes as soon as possible after each meeting;
- Encourage members to visit the school's Career and Technical Education programs as often as they can;
- Avoid having members do unnecessary work details that can be accomplished by the school staff;
- Have a school representative attend all meetings; and
- File copies of all minutes with the school's administration.
PRODUCTIVE ADVISORY COMMITTEE DON'Ts
- Appoint members without carefully studying their potential contributions to Career and Technical Education (Workforce Development);
- Schedule meetings at inconvenient times and dates;
- Hold meetings in uncomfortable facilities;
- Allow members to become involved in administrative functions;
- Try to organize the advisory committee without electing appropriate officers (i.e., chairperson, vice-chairperson, and secretary);
- Expect members to attend meetings without giving them prior notice, agenda items, and appropriate background material;
- Discourage members from learning all they can about the school and its programs;
- Discourage members from chatting with Career and Technical Education students;
- Influence members in their selection of officers;
- Appoint members for an indefinite term;
- Fail to recognize members' contributions to the school and its programs;
- Fail to replace inactive members; and
- Fail to carefully consider all advisory committee recommendations and promptly inform members of action taken on each recommendation.