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Pima County Community College District Standard Practice Guide

SPG Title:  Occupational Program External Advisory Committees (OPEAC)
SPG Number:
Effective Date:     10/6/08
Approval Date:   10/6/08
Review Date(s):  
Revision Date(s):
Schedule for Review & Update:
Unit Responsible for Review and Update:  Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor Academic and Student Services
Sponsoring Unit/Department:  Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor Academic and Student Services
Regulation Title & No.:  Occupational Program Advisory Committees, RG-3201/A
Board Policy Title & No.:  Occupational Program Advisory Committees, BP-3201
Legal Reference: 
Cross Reference: 


An external group consisting of a cross-section of community interests provides advice to appropriate campus presidents, deans and faculty regarding industry trends; employment needs; program relevancy, currency, and effectiveness; experiential learning opportunities; and Student Learning Outcomes.


The attainment of high quality career preparation programs that are realistic for gainful employment requires the close involvement of knowledgeable people from business, labor, industry, education, healthcare and others.  The nature of change in the workforce requires that education be kept informed of the current and anticipated skill needs of employers.  Some specific functions that can best serve the College are:

A.  Industry Trends

  1. Recommend specific competencies necessary for entry-level employment and promotion within a career area.
  2. Keep the college informed of current labor market needs and changes in the industry.

B.  Employment Needs

  1. Assist with strategic planning for the program including evaluating the goals of the program.
  2. Assist campuses in meeting the community’s needs for skilled workers as well as continuing education needs for those working in the field.

C.  Program Relevancy, Currency and Effectiveness

  1. Provide input regarding course and program content that will promote and ensure the highest quality program.
  2. Evaluate and recommend adequate facilities and equipment.
  3. Promote community awareness of the college.
  4. Support the college in fundraising efforts and possible donation of equipment, supplies, and other resources.

D.  Experiential Learning Opportunities

  1. Recommend on-going professional development needs for the specific career field.
  2. Identify leaders within the local business/industry community who will provide students with experiential learning such as internships, cooperative education and job shadowing, employment and placement opportunities.
  3. Provide feedback and recommendations for graduate follow-up surveys.

E.  Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Provide input on the Student Learning Outcomes for the program, and help to align courses within the program to fulfill those outcomes.

Membership & Terms

A.      Each member will be appointed by the campus president to a three-year staggered term of office.  Appointments may be renewed.  Members not actively participating, or otherwise unable to serve, will be released from their term and a new member will be added as appropriate.

B.      A program faculty, staff, administrator or current advisory committee member may recommend an individual for membership on an Occupational Program External Advisory Committee.  External community members may also self-identify as interested in serving on an advisory committee.

C.      Committee membership will reflect a cross-section of community interests (e.g., employers, experiential education partners, K-12 educational institutions and sponsoring agencies) associated with the occupational area.

D.      Membership on most OPEACs will consist of 8-15 community representatives of the occupational area.  The appropriate number of members will vary depending upon the nature of the program.  Larger committees may utilize a sub-committee structure to represent and focus on each area of specialization, particularly for a committee that advises a cluster of programs.

E.       The chair is filled by an individual external to the College, who will be elected by the committee members for a one-year renewable term.

F.      The typical mode of operation of an OPEAC is advisory and consensus-based.  In the event of difference of opinions regarding an advice, the chair will note the differences of opinions and include all views and recommendations.

Role of College Faculty and Staff

A.      The lead faculty or department chair of the relevant program will attend advisory committee meetings.

B.      The recorder and logistical support for the committee will be arranged by the appropriate Vice President of Instruction of the lead campus for the occupational program. The recorder will serve in this capacity for one year.

C.      Administrators, faculty (full-time and adjunct) or staff members may observe advisory committee meetings at any time.

D.      If a program regulatory or accrediting body has requirements which conflict with this SPG, an exception to the policy must be requested from and approved by the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Services and Provost.

Limitations of Occupational Program External Advisory Committees

A.      Occupational Program External Advisory Committees serve in an advisory capacity and are not responsible for establishing College policy, procedures or operations.

Documentation of Activities

A.      The committee will meet at least once per semester.

B.      Meeting agendas will be established by the committee.

C.      Minutes will be provided to the campus President by the recorder for each committee meeting and will reflect program recommendations to the campus president and program administrators. Copies will be shared with the Chancellor’s Cabinet.

D.      Documentation of OPEAC membership and activities, including meeting minutes, will be maintained by the program. Copies will be provided for the official repository to the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Services and Vice Provost by the end of each semester.

Handbook for Occupational Program External Advisory Committee Members

Each member of an Occupational Program External Advisory Committee will be provided with a thorough orientation and a copy of the occupational program advisory committee handbook.