Originator: Vice President, Academic and Research
Approver: Senior Academic Committee
Effective: December 3, 2004
Replaces: September 1996

Download the PDF version of this policy

Introduction

Red River College (RRC) is committed to providing well-qualified graduates to meet the requirements of industry. There is an ongoing need for guidance from the community in maintaining college-program relevance to both students and employers. The key to this guidance is a system of program advisory committees that provides a vital link between the community at large and RRC administration, faculty and students.

I. Policy

All diploma and certificate programs shall have an advisory committee that reports to RRC administration. Each program will have its own advisory committee, though a group of closely related programs might have one common advisory committee.

The committee advises RRC in the planning and evaluating of matters pertaining to the program. RRC retains final authority, except in programs that have shared jurisdiction (e.g., some health care programs), but program decisions will normally reflect the committee’s input.

The committee will normally meet at least twice a year.

II. Functions

The Program Advisory Committee provides guidance and advice on all matters related to the program, carrying out the following functions:

  1. Make recommendations on the course content and resources required to ensure that the program continues to be relevant, effective and efficient.
  2. Make recommendations regarding industry training needs.
  3. Assist in the evaluation and review of the program.
  4. Assist in program promotion and the general communication of information on program activities.
  5. Assist in the development of employment opportunities for program graduates.
  6. Assist in predicting trends that will impact on enrolment and on the nature and extent of the need for program graduates.
  7. Assist in the establishment of scholarships and awards for students.
  8. Advise on what qualifications and experience should be expected of program staff.
  9. Where possible, assist in the professional development of staff.
  10. Promote and help establish on-the-job training placements where appropriate and feasible.
  11. Assist in acquiring accreditation for the program where applicable.
  12. Help identify program strengths and weaknesses.
  13. Take part in studies dealing with program-related issues.
  14. Recommend activities that RRC may undertake, beyond the scope of the program, to meet the training and educational needs of the community.

III. Membership

Each Program Advisory Committee shall normally be comprised of between eight and sixteen voting members, appointed by the Dean and selected for their experience in the field and their knowledge of the market and community needs. Current members are encouraged to make recommendations on appropriate appointments. Selection of full-fledged voting members is normally made from the following sectors:

  • Current and prospective employers
  • Business and industry
  • Government agencies
  • Professional associations
  • At least one student from each current year of the program
  • Program graduates
  • Program partners
  • Other educational institutions as appropriate

Ex-officio members from RRC shall include:

  • Dean of the division in which the program falls
  • Chair of the department responsible for the program. (In the case of Continuing Education programs, the person filling this slot would be the Program Officer. Wherever this document refers to Department Chair, substitute “Program Officer” when applying the policy to Continuing Education programs. Where Regional Campus programs are concerned, substitute “Regional Campus Manager.”)
  • At least one instructor from the program and not more than three
  • Where appropriate, representatives of Continuing Education, Distance Education, Regional Campuses, and/or International Education

Wherever possible, members should be employers or prospective employers of program graduates.

The composition of Program Advisory Committees will vary, but representation should be as broadly based as possible. There should be a minimum of duplication from a single sector. Every effort will be made to ensure that Aboriginal and multicultural communities and people with disabilities are represented.

IV. Procedures

  1. Recommendations for appointments to the committee are made through the Department Chair for submission to the Dean. Letters of appointment are issued by the Dean.
  2. The term of office of members will normally be three years. To ensure continuity, terms should be staggered.
  3. The Committee Chair will be elected at the first meeting of the academic year for a two-year term with the possibility of re-election. The Committee Chair must be an industry representative.
  4. Members may elect a Vice-Chair if they wish.
  5. The department responsible for the program will provide a recording secretary for the committee.
  6. Under the direction of the Department Chair, the recording secretary will:
    • prepare the meeting agenda and circulate it three weeks prior to the meeting.
    • record minutes at the meeting and circulate them within two weeks.
    • provide the Dean and the Academic Vice-President with an updated membership list annually.
    • share the agenda information with other departments to ensure a consistent approach.
    • prepare letters welcoming new members and thanking retiring members, these to be signed by the Dean.
  7. Meetings will be called by the Program Advisory Committee Chair in consultation with the Department Chair.
  8. A quorum will be 50% of the current voting members.
  9. The support of a simple majority of the voting members is required to pass a motion.
  10. Committees may assign certain tasks to a sub-committee.
  11. The committee will assist RRC in determining the demand for graduates, trends within the field, and the implications of these trends for program content and delivery.
  12. Committees operate on a continuous basis. They may only be dissolved by the Dean.
  13. Members who miss two consecutive meetings without cause will be asked to retire from the committee.
  14. Following each advisory committee meeting, the Department Chair will prepare a one-page summary of proceedings and this will be forwarded to the Academic Vice-President through the Dean’s office.

V. Orientation

An effective program advisory committee is composed of members who are informed about the program and involved in program events. The Dean’s office will send all new committee members the following information:

  • The RRC calendar
  • Relevant program brochures
  • The Program Advisory Committee Policy
  • Up-to-date program information such as enrolment figures, etc.
  • Relevant program documents, such as a recent program review

The Department Chair will contact new members to invite them to visit RRC to meet the faculty and tour the program facilities. All committee members should be invited to public program events, such as graduation, etc.

VI. Benefits for Committee Members

Service on the committee can result in the following benefits to members:

  1. A better knowledge of RRC, the program, the staff and the students.
  2. Expanded network of professional colleagues.
  3. Opportunity to help design and enhance programs that will result in career opportunities for students.
  4. Opportunity to assist in maintaining program relevance.
  5. Opportunity to contribute to the community and society.