Committees have a bad rep. Come'on, you've heard/made the jokes yourself (A camel is a horse designed by a committee.)
But for those of us who lead technology initiatives, an advisory committee is imperative. Our district technology committee is very much modeled on the library advisory committees I led as a building media specialist. And for the same reason: to get support, buy-in, perspective, and direction from as many constituencies as possible.
These are the primary responsibilities for my tech advisory committee that meets 3-4 times a year:
- Guideline development (only school boards in MN can create "policy")
- Long-range planning/short term goal setting
- Budget development
- Program assessment and evaluation
My leadership responsibility is to help inform and guide the committee in reaching good decisions. But it is ultimately the committee's opinion that guides my direction of the department. Really, really.
The primary challenges to leading such a committee include:
- Making meetings meaningful (less reporting, more input gathering is key)
- Helping representatives of continuant groups truly be representatives
- Determining rotation and make-up of committee
- Keeping the larger organization informed about the work of the committee
- Keeping such a committee from micro-managing
- Finding and keeping parents, students and committee members - and helping them find the courage to speak out
- Seeking ways to improve the functioning of such a group (See evaluation form above)
Quick! Name a long term, substantive, sustainable change that occurred in your organization without the active support of your leadership. I'll wait...
That's what I thought. Now why aren't you paying more attention to the learning needs of your administrators?
Hmmmm, Scott seems to be equating leadership with administration. Personally, I've found most substantive changes are made via task-force, Professional Learning Community, external pressures (ie: state and federal mandates, parental demands) and, yes, even committees.
Most administrators I've worked for and with are managers, not leaders - with only a few notable exceptions. Is it because I have failed their learning needs - or for other reasons?