Jacksonville Community Council Inc.
Study Committee Guide Welcome As a JCCI study committee member, you will be making a significant and positive contribution toward improving our community. We on the staff appreciate the commitment of time, knowledge, and energy which you are making to participate in this study. We look forward to working closely with you and to helping make this experience rewarding for you. Welcome! Ben Warner, President & CEO
“Serving on a study committee gives the average citizen the opportunity to participate in decisions that affect Jacksonville as a community. I can think of few other experiences that allow people to exercise their full responsibilities as citizens.” - Sherry Magill, Study Committee Chair
Highlights of the JCCI Study Process The Chair of the Board of Directors appoints the study chair, and the study chair selects a management team to guide the study process. Study committee members are recruited from the JCCI membership. Interested members of the community also may participate. The chair and management team determine the day of the week and time of regular weekly meetings. Each meeting generally lasts one and one-half hours. The chair and management team develop, subject to committee review and suggestions, fact-finding meetings with resource persons and additional meetings for the development of a final report. The report contains findings of the committee plus its conclusions and recommendations. The staff person assigned to the study works closely with the committee, doing background research on the study issue and facilitating the work of the committee. The committee’s work consists of three phases: • orientation (the initial meeting) • fact finding (usually 15 to 18 meetings) • study report development (usually 9 meetings) The committee’s work is complete when the report has been reviewed and approved by the JCCI Board of Directors and released to the community. Following this, an implementation advocacy task force, composed of both study committee members and other interested community partners, is formed to facilitate implementation of the study’s recommendations. See the JCCI Implementation Advocacy Guide for further information.
Study Committee Guide
Committee Member’s Role Committee Members may be completely new to the subject of the study or may be very knowledgeable. They may represent widely differing viewpoints on the subject. The committee member’s primary responsibilities are to understand and analyze the community issues included in the study. A study’s success depends on the active involvement of committee members in both the process of fact-finding and the development of a report. To fulfill his or her responsibilities, a committee member: • assists in developing a fact-finding meeting schedule and identifying resource people; • prepares for committee meetings by reviewing materials received; • attends fact-finding meetings, listens carefully to presentations, and asks questions for further information and understanding; • participates in defining problem areas and finding creative solutions; • respects and seeks to understand opposing points of view before seeking solutions; • seeks understanding before seeking solutions; • evaluates meeting effectiveness; • participates in the group process of reviewing and revising draft findings and of reaching consensus on conclusions and recommendations for the committee’s report; • may attend the event during which the completed report is released to the community; and • may participate on the implementation advocacy task force.
Study Chair’s Role A study committee chair ordinarily is not a specialist or an “expert” on the study topic; instead, he or she begins with a fresh viewpoint, joining with other committee members in the learning process. The chair’s primary responsibilities are to provide leadership and overall direction for the study process, the management team and the committee. To fulfill his or her responsibilities, the chair: • selects a capable and active management team; • plans work of the study committee and guides the group process, with the assistance of the management team and staff; • provides opportunities during initial meetings for study committee members to become acquainted; • ensures that meetings are effective; • maintains the focus in each meeting on the process as welll as the content; • actively involves both knowledgeable members and novices to the study topic - knowledgeable members can help to identify and clarify important questions, while those new to the subject bring a fresh viewpoint; • encourages participation by all committee members by maintaining the direction and flow of each meeting, soliciting comments from members, supporting acceptance of all ideas and views, helping the committee to move toward consensus, and protecting committee members and resource people from personal attacks; • guides the committee’s development of the report to ensure that the findings are clear, accurate, and complete, and that the conclusions and recommendations flow logically from the findings and are consistent with the issue statement and scope of the study; • presents the committee’s report to the Board and assists in the Board’s review and revision of the report; • takes the lead in the presentation of the report to the community; and • makes presentations of the report to the media and community groups following the study release.
Jacksonville Community Council Inc.
Management Team’s Role Members of the management team include representatives from differing perspectives on the study issue. Some persons with particular expertise in the subject of the study are included, as is at least one member of the Board of Directors. People with a conflict of interest are not included. The management team’s primary responsibilities are to plan the direction of the study consistent with the study issue approved by the Board, to guide the committee through the study process, and to assist in releasing the report to the community. Working under the leadership of the study chair and with the assistance of staff, the management team initially • • • •
reviews and refines the statement of the study issue and scope as received from the Board; develops a schedule of fact-finding meetings and a list of appropriate resource people; develops lists of key questions to guide the presentations of resource people at each meeting; and ensures that membership on the study committee reflects a diversity of viewpoints on the subject of the study.
Once the study committee has begun meeting, the management team • • • •
acts as a steering committee to guide the process; continues to identify additional resource people as needed; prepares specific questions for resource people; and ensures that the major issues of the study topic are fully and fairly explored.
After staff has developed draft findings for the committee’s report, the management team • reviews the draft findings for accuracy, clarity, and completeness before passing them along for study-committee review and approval; and • ensures that conclusions and recommendations developed by the committee from the findings flow logically from those findings and are consistent with the issue statement and scope of the study. When the completed report is presented to the community, the management team • participates in the community presentation of the report; and • assists with media presentations on the study following its release.
“JCCI has a wonderful tradition of facilitating broad-based citizen analysis of complex challenges that face our community - analysis that is unemotional, objective and thoughtful. Our community benefits greatly from this service.” - Edgar Mathis, Past JCCI Board Chair
Board of Directors’ Role The primary responsibilities of the Board are to approve issues for study and to approve the completed work of each study committee. To fulfill these responsibilities, the Board • • • •
appoints a Program Committee to recommend issues for study each year; approves each year’s study issues, including a clear statement of the issue and the scope of each study; receives periodic progress reports from the study-committee chair; reviews the study report of the committee to ensure that the study process was sound and that the report fully explores the issues, consistent with the statement of the issue and scope of the study; • approves the study report by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the Board members; and • releases the study report to the community.
Study Committee Guide
Staff’s Role “We work hard to make the process flow and to make volunteering fun and exciting.” - Laura Lane, JCCI Vice President & COO The primary responsibilities of staff are to facilitate the entire study process and to make the study experience enjoyable and stimulating for committee members. To fulfill these responsibilities, the staff: • conducts background research on the study issue through literature and resource people; • works with the chair and management team to plan and guide the study process; • makes arrangements for all committee meetings, including the scheduling of resource people and the development of question sheets to guide the presentations of resource people; • keeps committee members informed about meetings and meeting agendas; • provides useful printed information to committee members; • prepares summaries of each committee meeting and of important research material; • prepares draft findings for the report and assists the chair, the management team, and the committee in the development and revision of the report’s findings, conclusions, and recommendations; • makes arrangements for the release of the report to the community; • assists the chair and the management team in developing and making a presentation of the report at the study release; and • coordinates the scheduling of media and community group presentations of the report following the release.
Contents of a Report A JCCI report is a brief document designed to provide easy access by the community to the study’s major conclusions and recommendations. A report includes: • the scope of the study; • highlights of major problems and recommended solutions; • findings, including factual information, quantitative data, and the informed opinions of resource people, as presented to the committee; • conclusions, which are the value judgments placed by the committee on the findings; • recommendations, which are the actions desired to make needed improvements, including how the action is to be accomplished, by whom, and by when; • references of major research sources; • acknowledgement of resource people; and • acknowledgement of committee members and other study participants.
Implementation “An implementation committee shoulders an important responsibility not only to the study committee, but to the public at large.” - William Brinton, Implementation Committee Chair After the study is released to the community, JCCI seeks to place the issue on the public agenda for action. The President selects an implementation advocacy chair, usually the study chair or member of the study committee. Study committee members are invited to continue their involvement by participating in the Implementation Advocacy Task Force. Task Force members ensure that decision makers are made aware of the recommendations in the completed study. They also devise strategies to gain support for implementation of these recommendations. See the JCCI Implementation Advocacy Guide for further information.
Jacksonville Community Council Inc.