Wilkes Community College’s Program Advisory Committees held a kickoff event on Thursday, Sept. 19, at the Doc & Merle Watson Theatre on the Wilkes Community College Campus.
WCC’s Program Advisory Committees are an essential link between the area’s business and industry community and the college. Whether preparing students for entry into the world of work, or for transfer to a four-year college or university, advisory committees provide input to ensure the relevance of the college’s curricula in a rapidly changing world. Additionally, the committees advise the institution regarding the improvement of programs in an effort to more adequately meet the needs of the community.
Committee members are local educators, business and industry representatives and local citizens from the three-county service area who are familiar with and interested in the needs of the community. Their expertise in the areas they represent provide opportunities for suggestions, recommendations and assistance with regards to specific programs.
“Employers from our area contact us weekly searching for employees with specific job skills. There are jobs available in our region for employees who have the right hard skills for those jobs. It is up to us at the community college to ensure that our programs deliver to students the skills needed for success in the workplace,” said WCC President Dr. Gordon Burns. “We rely on our advisory committees to keep the college informed of those needed skills to ensure that the college curricula and programs are current and relevant. Beyond specific knowledge and skills, we aim to empower our students with the soft skills such as positive attitudes, time management and communications that add to becoming a good employee.”
There are 258 advisory members representing the following areas: AccessAbility Services; Applied Engineering Technologies; Arts & Sciences; Associate Degree Nursing; Business Technologies; College Readiness; Computer Technologies; Dental Assisting; Emergency Medical Science; Human Services; Learning Resources; Medical Assisting; Public Service– Criminal Justice; Public Service– Culinary Arts/Baking & Pastry Arts; Public Service – Early Childhood Education; Radiography; Respiratory Therapy; SAGE (Supporting Academic Goals for Education); and Transportation Technologies.
Derek Kilby, a civil engineer with Lowe’s Companies, serves on the Architectural Technology Advisory Committee.
“I think one reason advisory committees are important is because our world is changing faster than ever and the need to integrate formal education and reality is critical. During the last decade, the construction industry has seen a shift from a more aggressive to a more conservative building process, which has become very cost conscious,” said Kilby.
“I think the advisory committee process allows educators to hear about those macro-industry trends from those of us working in the field. For example, I can talk to Tim Lackey (lead instructor for Architectural Technology) about these trends and suggest ideas that could help his program stay ahead. As owners continue to focus on cost, designers must continue to think about ways to save time and money. Additionally, a lot of forethought is going into design and construction in terms of long-term costs involved in maintenance, not just the initial building costs. So, that information and the thought process behind it can hopefully be incorporated into the curriculum being taught in the classroom and allow students to enter the workforce as leaders,” he said.
WCC would like to thank all Program Advisory Committee members for their participation.
Wilkes Community College, a member of the North Carolina Community College System, is a public, two-year, open-door institution serving the people of Wilkes, Ashe and Alleghany counties and beyond. Established in 1965, WCC continues to build on a strong history of meeting the educational needs and cultural interests of our students, community and workforce. WCC prepares learners for success in a dynamic world.