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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

DO...

  1. Provide advisory committee members with a handbook explaining the purpose, operation, and organization of advisory committees;
  2. Send a letter of appointment to each member signed by the chief school administrator or other appropriate person;
  3. Keep advisory committee members informed of current and pending legislation affecting Career and Technical Education;
  4. Hold meetings on an organized time schedule and adhere to the schedule;
  5. Notify members promptly regarding actions taken as a result of their recommendations;
  6. Send each member a letter and an agenda reminding him/her of each meeting at least two weeks in advance of the meeting;
  7. Solicit the advice and recommendations of members regarding the effectiveness of the Career and Technical Education program and the effectiveness of advisory committee meetings;
  8. Establish an informal atmosphere at meetings and encourage the exchange of ideas;
  9. Mail each member a copy of the advisory committee minutes as soon as possible after each meeting;
  10. Encourage members to visit the school's Career and Technical Education programs as often as they can;
  11. Avoid having members do unnecessary work details that can be accomplished by the school staff;
  12. Have a school representative attend all meetings; and
  13. File copies of all minutes with the school's administration.

PRODUCTIVE ADVISORY COMMITTEE DON'Ts

DON'T...

  1. Appoint members without carefully studying their potential contributions to Career and Technical Education (Workforce Development);
  2. Schedule meetings at inconvenient times and dates;
  3. Hold meetings in uncomfortable facilities;
  4. Allow members to become involved in administrative functions;
  5. Try to organize the advisory committee without electing appropriate officers (i.e., chairperson, vice-chairperson, and secretary);
  6. Expect members to attend meetings without giving them prior notice, agenda items, and appropriate background material;
  7. Discourage members from learning all they can about the school and its programs;
  8. Discourage members from chatting with Career and Technical Education students;
  9. Influence members in their selection of officers;
  10. Appoint members for an indefinite term;
  11. Fail to recognize members' contributions to the school and its programs;
  12. Fail to replace inactive members; and
  13. Fail to carefully consider all advisory committee recommendations and promptly inform members of action taken on each recommendation.