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Citizens Advisory Handbook

Citizens Advisory Handbook

Each year members of Virginia Highlands Community College’s Citizen Advisory Committees make valuable contributions to decision-making processes that impact the educational programs and services offered to residents of our region. Because of their professional and personal experiences, these members of our community are uniquely positioned to provide valuable insight about the occupational needs and employment opportunities that exist within the region we serve. 

As we strive to fulfill our mission of providing exceptional educational pathways to enrich lives and strengthen our communities, it is with the realization that representatives of business and industry, governmental entities, the arts, and the taxpaying public must have a voice. For that reason, we sincerely appreciate those who have assisted us in the past and those now serving on our advisory committees.  

Curriculum Advisory Committees
These committees advise College representatives in areas of curriculum development and evaluation, program promotion, and community needs assessment. 


Accounting & Management

Ben Bullen


Criminal Justice

Robin Widener


Administrative Support Tech./Medical Coding Specialist

Lee Hunt


College Transfer/Dual Enrollment

Barbara Manuel
Pat Farmer



Keith Harless


Electrical, Energy, & Electro-Mechanical Technology

Donnie Melvin



Bruce Olivo


Human Services

Winona Fleenor


Information Technology

Tamara Lasley


Medical Assisting

Kim Felty



Elizabeth Wright


Precision Machining

Johnnie Keene



Eddie Fultz



Special Advisory Committees
These committees are charged with advising College representatives in areas of special interest. Generally, they are concerned with non-curricular areas of the College and are especially concerned with the ways these areas serve the total community.


Mary Munsey
Patty Tymon



Ben Casteel


Library & Instructional Services

Sarah Beth White


Appointment of Citizens Advisory Committee 
Citizen advisory committees are a means for providing continued communication between VHCC and the various communities it serves. Once identified, the names of potential members are reviewed by the Vice President of Instruction & Student Services and then forwarded to the Office of the President. The President sends recommendations to the VHCC Board, which makes the final appointments to all advisory committees. 

Members are appointed based on: 

  • Experience;
  • Adequate time;
  • Civic Responsibility.

Efforts are made to ensure that the three political jurisdictions that comprise the VHCC service region - the city of Bristol Virginia, Washington County, and the western portion of Smyth County - are represented on each advisory committee. Varying levels and types of expertise are sought and, in the case of curricular advisory committees, efforts are made to include current and former students. 

Members are appointed for a three-year term, effective September 1. Members may not be appointed for more than two consecutive terms unless their membership on the committee is essential. 

Members serve in an advisory capacity and have no administrative or legislative authority. 

Selection and Duties of Officers 
Each committee shall choose a Chair and Vice Chair from its lay membership at the first meeting of each academic year. The secretary of each committee will be appointed by the College from the appropriate instructional or service area. 

Duties of Chair:

  • Call the meetings of the committee; 
  • Preside at all meetings; 
  • Plan, with the help of the secretary, the meeting agenda; 
  • Set the tone of the meeting; 
  • Appoint subcommittees as needed to perform specific committee functions;
  • Represent the committee when appropriate. 

Duties of Vice Chair:

  • Preside in the absence of the chair; 
  • Fulfill any other duties designated by the chair. 

Duties of Secretary:

  • Prepare and mail all announcements, minutes and other information to all committee members, college administrators, and others who need to be informed of the committee activities; 
  • Assist the chair in establishing the agenda for the meeting; 
  • Keep an active and up-to-date list of committee members;
  • Prepare all materials for distribution to committee members prior to the meetings;
  • Coordinate and communicate the business of the committee with appropriate personnel of the College. 

Specific Functions of Curriculum Advisory Committees 

  • To assist in the flow of information between the College and community groups; 
  • To assist in designing courses and curricula by identifying the special skills, essential information and knowledge required; 
  • To recommend members of the community as potential instructors; 
  • To assist in evaluating the College’s curricula and making suggestions for improvements; 
  • To assist graduates in finding internships and jobs; 
  • To keep the College informed of changes in the labor market; 
  • To make suggestions for informing the community of the College’s curricular offerings; 
  • To assess curricular needs of the community; and
  • To provide other assistance as requested by the College. 

Programs and Related Services 
VHCC offers a variety of programs that provide students with the opportunity to earn associate degrees, certificates and diplomas. Each program has been designed to meet the needs of those who live within the College’s service region, while meeting or exceeding the minimum standards established by the State Board for Community Colleges. 

  1. College Transfer Education/Dual Enrollment
    College transfer programs provide first– and second-year courses in arts and sciences, as well as some pre-professional courses that can be transferred to four-year colleges and universities. VHCC prides itself on offering a low-cost, quality education that prepares students for transfer to four-year institutions.

    The purpose of the Dual Enrollment Program is to provide an opportunity for qualified high school students to enhance their education by enrolling early in college courses. Students experience college-level classwork, explore career options, and shorten the time required to complete an associate or baccalaureate degree. Through coursework that may be reflected on both the high school and college transcripts, students gain valuable insight into the academic experience.
  2. Occupational-Technical Education 
    These programs are designed for those who are interested in gaining the occupational and technical skills needed to enter the workforce for the first time, to become eligible for a job promotion or to remain competitive in their current field. 

    Because true education extends beyond the classroom, faculty members must ensure students are dedicated to producing quality goods and services and that they are able to adapt to different situations in the workplace and to work both individually and as members of a team.
  3. General Education 
    At VHCC, general education encompasses broad learning that goes beyond job training to include courses that enable students to develop a broad range of knowledge. These courses are designed to cultivate curiosity, develop critical thinking, and enhance human relations skills. 

    Developing these skills requires a combination of general education courses and specialized courses in the major. The ultimate goal is to assist students in developing clear and concise communication skills, abilities that enable lifelong learning, the skills to evaluate and analyze information, interpersonal and human relations skills, a greater understanding of culture and society, a general knowledge of science and technology, the ability to perform mathematical computations and operate computers, and to demonstrate attitudes and values that promote physical and emotional well-being.
  4. Developmental Courses 
    Through developmental courses, students who are not yet prepared for the academic demands of the college classroom have the opportunity to gain the basic knowledge needed to enroll in and be successful in college-level courses. Although these developmental courses do not count toward the major, they help students develop study skills and the basic knowledge needed to advance to the next level.
  5. Workforce Development and Continuing Education 
    The Workforce Development and Continuing Education Division at VHCC provides the workforce training and employee recruitment that is often necessary to enhance the economic health of business and industry within the service region. This division provides continuing education, workforce development, apprenticeships and procurement assistance — often taking its services to the workplace to enhance the convenience of its customers. 

    Through the Small Business Development Center, which is a branch of the Workforce Development and Continuing Education Division, free and confidential counseling services are available on a one-on-one basis to business owners and managers. These services are designed for those who need help establishing a business or improving the competitiveness and profitability of an existing business.
  6. Experiential Learning 
    Experiential Learning is a process through which students acquire and develop knowledge, skills, abilities and behaviors through direct experiences (active learning) outside the traditional lecture (didactic learning) environment of the classroom. Experiential learning combines hands-on activities with reflective exercises to provide increased student involvement, context and knowledge retention. Experiential learning may include other related types of learning such as service learning, cooperative learning, internships, etc.
  7. Job Referral Services 
    Job referral services are provided by the Career Services Resource Center to connect capable students and graduates with job opportunities. Employers are encouraged to post job openings at Openings are also advertised on the VHCC Job Board and the VHCC Career Connection Facebook page.  Employers are invited and encouraged to visit the campus and conduct job interviews with students and alumni. 
  8. Facility Usage 
    VHCC facilities are available to members of the community for cultural events, workshops, meetings, lectures, conferences, teleconferences, seminars and other events that enhance the educational and cultural interests of the community. 
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