Advisory Committees and Development Activities
In Vermont, every state approved technical program is required to have a program advisory committee that meets twice each year. The group is charged with assessing the relevance of program content, levels of student performance, workbased learning opportunities, and strategies for program improvement. (VT AOE, n.d.)
The Communication Technologies advisory committee meets bi-annually to review progress, consider curriculum changes, and provide guidance. The group is composed of industry representatives who range from business owners to managers, to employees. Also included are former students, educators in related fields and guidance staff from sending schools. The diverse composition leads to conversations in which decisions are considered in relation to their impact across a wide range of constituent groups. An important dynamic that occurs when members convene is that decisions are able to be built by consensus. That means that instead of the instructor simply seeking approval for innovations or practices, there is a need for the instructor to inform on the program’s operation and ask questions of the group that lead to their consideration of important issues. This is consistent with Eric Schmit’s discussion of group dynamics. (Schmit, n.d.)
In addition to providing program guidance, committee members participate in a wide range of activities to support the program. These include:
• Hosting industry visits
• Providing Co-op sites
• Acting as guest speakers/presenters/panelists
• Providing technical advice on equipment, industry trends, materials
• Supporting students in Co-curricular activities
• Instrumental in transition of wide format printing activities to Eco-solvent based chemistry.
• Guided curriculum update in units on measurement to include explicit tolerances, use of centering rulers and increased emphasis on substrate thickness.
• Initiated development of planning process for retirement of old equipment and outdated processes.
• Initiated discussion towards making it so that sending high schools identify Communication Technologies as a course that fulfils the graduation requirement for art. (Currently it offers English and technology credit.)
A sample of meeting minutes is below