UW Extension Continuing Education, Outreach and E-Learning (CEOEL) and its collaborative partners recognize the value and importance of involving external stakeholders from appropriate fields (business and industry, government, education, etc.) in the development, delivery and promotion of its collaborative credit and non-credit programs through program advisory boards. These groups provide a critical link between educators, students, and practitioners in the field in order to achieve program quality and relevance. CEOEL program managers are charged with working with program partners in the formation and management of these boards and to help these groups realize their potential. To support this effort, the following set of guidelines has been prepared. They are intended to offer recommendations for the structure, format, and function of effective and successful advisory boards.
Role and Responsibilities of Program Advisory Board Members
The program advisory board and responsible program staff will work together to ensure that the program is delivering learning that is current, up-to-date, and relevant to current business, industry, labor, and professional employment practices. The boards will provide support and advice to academic programs, assist in the development of new programs and identify best practice standards. Board members will also serve as ambassadors to the programs providing a connection to and ongoing exchange of information and ideas with members of a broader society. Specific duties of board members may include the following:
- Make recommendations to help assure that the program addresses employment and educational needs of business, industry, labor, and the profession
- Realistically assess the labor market demand for program graduates
- Advise the program to ensure graduates with the skills required to meet employment needs
- Assess the currency of the curriculum and teaching practice
- Serve as an advocate of the program and a communication link between the host institutions and the community
- Provide feedback, advice, and assistance with a variety of program-driven tasks and projects
- Make recommendations regarding program marketing and promotion
- Aid in the identification and recruitment of new board members
- Assist in identification and acquisition (when appropriate) of external funding and resources to support the students and program (scholarships, program materials, and other resources)
- Identify and present opportunities and/or host opportunities for student capstone projects or experiences
- Provide suggestions concerning the placement of program graduates
- Provide recommendations on presentation topics for advisory board meetings
Advisory board members will represent a cross section of business, industry, labor, and the profession relevant to the particular academic program. A diversity of perspectives is an important aspect of the board’s functioning. Diverse perspectives and experiences based on veteran status, gender, race, ethnicity, geographic location, age, and other related qualities will be an important aspect in selecting members. Prospective advisory board members are identified by existing advisory board members or members of the Program Planning Committee (Program academic directors, faculty, and staff). Their names will be submitted to the Program Planning Committee for input. The suggested number of board members should be from twelve to fifteen people. Advisory board members will serve two-year terms with the possibility for renewal for additional terms based on their interest, involvement,and at the discretion of the Program Planning Committee which serves as a resource to and oversees the board. Dedicated board positions will also be established for one current student and a program graduate working in the field. In addition, current students will be invited and encouraged to attend meetings.
The advisory board is non-voting and does not engage in decision-making related to program personnel, budget, or internal policy development within the partner institutions.
Officers and Duties
A new chair will be identified and appointed each calendar year from the advisory board membership. Members will be solicited each year for interest in serving in this role. A co- or vice-chair may also be identified. If there is not a board member who is able to serve as chair, an academic director may function as an interim chair until an advisory board member is identified. There are no other elected officers. The advisory board chair facilitates effective functioning of the advisory board meetings with support from the program manager. Conducting meetings is the prime role of the chair. He or she will also assist the program manager in preparing meeting agendas and represents the advisory board at other meetings, as needed.
The program manager will plan the meetings; ensure effective preparation, distribution, and archiving of the advisory board meeting minutes and take follow-up action as required. The program manager will also establish and maintain a viable pool of prospective new board members, maintain a current list of members, monitors terms, and manages the membership to include maintaining consistent and effective communication.
Advisory Board Meetings
Advisory board meetings will be held on a bi-annual schedule (fall and spring) and will be of appropriate length to maintain the support, interests and involvement of advisory board members. Effective and efficient meetings are critical to the success of the advisory board. It is at meetings where discussion and deliberation of important matters are translated into decisions and recommendations regarding the ongoing growth, development and enhancement of the academic program.
Typical agenda items could include introductions, a general program update (new faculty, enrollments, course development, program marketing, student experiences, other), academic director and campus reports, updates from the field, and primary discussion and decision topics to solicit and secure input from external members. As a benefit to all attendees, it is also recommended that the meetings include some form of professional development to include, but not limited to, presentations from external subject/topic area experts, professional association representatives, capstone site hosts, or others. It is also recommended that students be invited to present on their capstone experiences to the board at these meetings.
Meeting location will be determined by the program manager with input from board members. When necessary and available, distance technologies will be used to allow members to participate who are unable to attend in-person.
Advisory Board Member Compensation
There will be no formal compensation for advisory board members. CEOEL will cover all site costs associated with the advisory board meetings such as space rental, technology costs (conference call/video conferencing, equipment rental, technicians, etc.), food services, and parking.