A community advisory committee can be an important resource for departments, programs, and units across campus. Experts from the community can inform academic or co-curricular programs, help to ensure your program remains dynamic and current, and serve multiple important and beneficial purposes including
providing important insight and guidance regarding curriculum and community-engagement opportunities;
acting as resources for bringing experts into the classroom and assisting students with career exploration;
advocating for your program and students by expanding recruitment outreach in diverse communities;
sponsoring program events and supporting other fundraising efforts.
1. Identify and articulate goals and expectations of the committee (What do you want the group to accomplish?)
2. Plan logistics including
how many members (8-12) and whom you can identify to present a diversity of perspectives;
how often the group will meet (2-3 times/year) and for the number of years each member will be asked to commit;
who is facilitating the meetings and how they will be structured.
3. The facilitator should
articulate the responsibilities in the performance plan or service responsibilities and ensure there is adequate time to devote to management;
consider a community person or alumnus as the facilitator;
identify any professional development necessary for the facilitator, e.g. facilitation skills, cultural competence, and time management.
4. Recruit members and consider retention strategies for membership.
Ensure a diverse group is represented in membership (race, ethnicity, gender, age, language, background).
Clearly explain the purpose and expectations of the committee when inviting members.
Recognize that recruiting and retaining members is ongoing and keep an updated list of prospective members.
1. Create a safe space for sharing.
Encourage honest feedback, critiques, and input. Be open, listen, and clarify questions.
Do not censor or discourage participation.
Clarify that every idea will be heard, but not every idea will be implemented.
2. Report on progress.
Communicate to members aspects of feedback that are being integrated into programs.
Encourage discussion and dialogue to deepen impact.
3. Manage relationships and communication.
Invite students, faculty, staff, and administrators to present and engage, as relevant.
Follow up with members as needed to maintain direct relationships.
Send meeting notes after each meeting.
Keep the group focused on priorities that the group as a whole has identified.
Thank your advisory board members and recognize them through appropriate events and communications.
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