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Terms of Reference 

Requirement for Program Advisory Committees

Under the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, the Minister's Binding Policy Directive 3.0, Programs, each Board of Governors ensures that an advisory committees is established for every program of instruction or cluster of related programs offered at a college. Such Program Advisory Committees are to be made up of a cross-section of persons external to the College who have direct interest in and a diversity of experience and expertise related to the particular occupational area or discipline addressed by the program.

In the formative or developmental stages of programs, the College may establish an Ad Hoc Program Advisory Committee. When the program is in place, the Ad Hoc Program Advisory Committee will be dissolved and an official Board of Governors’ Program Advisory Committee will be formed.

Relationship to the College Board of Governors

Program Advisory Committees report to the Board of Governors through the Vice President Academic. Board members may attend Program Advisory Committee meetings. Updates are given to the Academic Planning Committee, subcommittee of the Board of Governors, as appropriate. This liaison between the Board of Governors and the Program Advisory Committees demonstrates the commitment of the Board to the value of these Committees.

Purpose of the Program Advisory Committee

The purpose of Program Advisory Committees is to advise the College concerning the development, maintenance and stakeholder acceptance of its programs. They provide an ongoing exchange of information between industry and the College to update, promote, assess and advise on the following:

Terms of Reference

  1.  review of existing programs to ensure they continue to meet the needs of business, industry and society;
  2. advise, recommend and assist in identifying the need for program development and/or discontinuation;
  3. participate in the quality assurance review process
  4. identify the skills and knowledge graduates require to meet industry needs;
  5. suggest revisions to program curricula;
  6. advise on current and future employment opportunities, industry trends and employer needs;
  7. assist in identifying guest speakers, field placement and cooperative education opportunities and graduate placements; and
  8. assist with liaison between the College and industry sectors and between the College and the community.


Members of Program Advisory Committees are selected for their expertise and leadership in their respective fields. Alumni of the College should be considered where appropriate.

Seneca College encourages diverse program advisory membership, especially to include aboriginal persons, francophones, members of sexual minority groups, persons with disabilities, visible minorities and women.

Eligibility for Membership

Members are invited as individuals to represent their industries, and/or their professional standing within an industry; members do not represent their company. Normally, a Program Advisory Committee will not have more than one representative from the same company. Designates cannot attend meetings on behalf of a Program Advisory Committee member. The College is responsible for replacing resigning members. Seneca College full-time, part-time, or contract employees and students are not eligible to be members of Program Advisory Committees; however, their input may be sought when appropriate. Membership on any Program Advisory Committee does not imply endorsement by the College of a particular company, product or service.

Length of Membership

Members are normally appointed for a four-year term and may be re-appointed for one further term where appropriate. Regular attendance and participation are strongly encouraged. If a member misses two consecutive meetings, the Program Advisory Committee Chair and the Academic Chair may decide to rescind that individual's membership.

Size of Committee:

Program Advisory Committees normally consist of 6-12 members. The size of the committee will depend on the range and diversity of programs in its cluster of programs.

Role of the Program Advisory Committee Chair

The Chair of the Program Advisory Committee provides leadership to the Committee and encourages the members to consider issues from a broad perspective. The Chair will serve a two-year term and may be re-elected for a further two-year term, when circumstances warrant. The Chair will be selected either by election or acclamation by the members of the Program Advisory Committee.

The Program Advisory Committee Chair will:

  • chair all meetings;
  • liaise with the Academic Chair in the preparation of meeting schedules and agendas;
  • follow-up on action items as required; and
  • review and approve meeting minutes prior to distribution.


50% of membership plus one. Only Program Advisory Committee members (i.e. externals) are eligible to vote. Voting can be completed electronically when appropriate. Seneca College full-time, part-time, or contract employees and students are not eligible to vote.

Meeting Frequency

Normally one to two meetings per year.