The authority invested in all advisory committees - general, occupational, and special function - is limited to making recommendations and to giving advice. Advisory committees are not empowered to set policy; that responsibility rests solely with the school board or the board of trustees and/or the administration of the school.
An advisory committee should thoroughly understand its purpose from the beginning. At the time of appointment, each member must receive a written explanation of the purpose and the authority of that particular advisory committee.
The limits of authority should always be a lead item in every set of written advisory committee guidelines. Advisory committee authority generally encompasses several functions, which are covered in the following sections.
A general advisory committee helps the total Career and Technical Education (CTE) program in the following ways:
FUNCTIONS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF OCCUPATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEES
Curriculum Content Advisement
Curriculum content advisement is vital to an effective CTE program. Although this section may be more applicable to the occupational advisory committee, it is also important for the general advisory committee to have information on the status of the total CTE program. In its review of curriculum content, an advisory committee focuses on one primary concern: Do graduates possess the entry-level job skills needed by employers in the area served?
Notice that this function is referred to as advisement on content, not on teaching method. What to teach is a proper responsibility of an advisory committee, while how to teach is the responsibility of instructional and administrative personnel.
An advisory committee might follow these steps in fulfilling the curriculum content advisement function for an existing CTE program:
When technology is changing rapidly, this process should be performed once a year. It is a lengthy process and ample time must be allowed in the program of work. A subcommittee may undertake at least a few of the steps to save time for the entire group.
Most of the groundwork for curriculum review can be performed by the instructional staff. The actual conducting of surveys is too time consuming to be a practical function of advisory committees. The following activities for a task inventory illustrate a suggested division of responsibilities between the advisory committee and the instructional staff:
To review, an advisory committee may perform the following activities in the area of curriculum content advisement:
Career Guidance and Student Placement
Advisement on career guidance and student placement begins with a thorough review of the program's activities. After review, the guidance and placement function is a good area for creativity and the development of individual approaches.
In the field of career guidance, committee members may assist by holding regular, informal visits with students; sponsoring or assisting with career days; serving as guest speakers on the subject of job opportunities and the expectations of employers; conducting mock interviews, etc.
To assist with student placement, advisory committees may participate in the following activities:
Community Public Relations
Advisory committees effectively promote public relations for CTE programs. A subcommittee may be appointed to plan and direct the public relations program for the year. Among the activities the committee might consider are:
Community Resource Identification
The advisory committee is a major resource for CTE. It also serves as a coordinator for identifying other available community resources. A community resource can include any person, place, organization, or item that has instructional value.
An advisory committee might:
Equipment, Facilities, and Resources Review
Adequate equipment and facilities are critical to an effective CTE program. Students must learn to master the equipment they will use after employment. One of the most important functions of an advisory committee is to recommend the equipment and facilities needed to provide students with an optimal learning environment.
Generally, this function falls into the following three categories:
Specific equipment procurement activities an advisory committee might perform are:
In reality, all functions of an advisory committee fall under the umbrella of program review. A group is qualified to give advice only when it has first carefully reviewed the existing situation. In this sense, the advisory committee's program review activities are not separate from, but a part of, its other functions.
In some schools, however, the committee is charged with providing a formal program review. All schools providing CTE instructions are required to undertake periodic program evaluation. When the advisory committee is to review the program, it must know how its review fits into other program evaluation efforts. With this information, the advisory committee can proceed with a review of program goals and the development of data collection procedures. This is a lengthy process that should probably be directed by a subcommittee. Instructional personnel should perform all groundwork possible to save the time of the advisory committee members.
The program review functions of an advisory committee should include: