DCCCD students can now work toward a management associate degree through the Fast Track Supervisor Certificate program.
The program, currently in its pilot stages and scheduled to launch in the fall, helps working professionals develop new supervisory skills and expertise. The Supervisor Certificate allows students to earn college credit through the 100% online program.
“The district got interested in competency based education (CBE) and [Vice Chancellor for Educational Policy] Fernando Figueroa led the charge,” said Dr. Diane Minger, who helped design and teach the courses in the program. “We went to a national CBE conference in Denver last spring and our Supervisor Certificate program was selected to be the pilot.”
Minger is working with Gemmy Allen at North Lake College and the LeCroy instructional design staff to build six-course program. The program is nationally aligned and includes soft skill competencies and student learning outcomes.
Students will take six eight-week online courses, taken two at a time. The courses are Business Principles, Supervision, Principles of Management, Human Resources Management, Problem Solving & Decision Making and Cooperative Work Experience.
As of early June, Minger said she and Allen had one more course to design. However, they just began piloting the first two courses this month with 25 Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) employees. The program is designed for people with a minimum of four years of work experience.
Students in the pilot program are funded by Innovate+Educate, a nonprofit with a million dollar Walmart Foundation grant to train incumbent workers in supervisory skills, Minger said.
“We were working on the program the same time [Innovate+Educate] got the Walmart Foundation grant and Gemmy Allen saw this article in the Dallas Morning News about them,” Minger said. “She emailed them and they contacted us and said, ‘Yeah, we would love to work with you on the training!’”
The DART employees will take the second two courses in the first eight weeks of the fall, then wrap the program up with the final two courses in the last eight weeks of the semester.
The courses all use open educational resources, meaning the program doesn’t require the purchase of any textbooks.
“We’ve designed the courses so the materials are all built into the courses so the students don’t have any additional fees outside the tuition of the courses,” Minger said.
Because there were no publisher materials to pull test banks, videos or PowerPoint slides from, building the courses has been a difficult, time-consuming process.
“You definitely need to have people who are committed to the project if they are going to do something like this,” Minger said. “It probably would’ve been a piece of cake to do it with publisher materials, publisher PowerPoints, publisher test banks, publisher everything.”
“We had none of that, so we had to write every test question, design every video and write much of the material.”
Minger said LeCroy’s Michael Coleman produced a majority of the program’s videos. Kay Hampshire was the project manager.
“It’s so time-consuming, but once it’s done, I think it’s going to be of such value to the students that we will hopefully recoup that investment of time and resources,” she said.
"The time spent is already paying off for students," Minger said.
“I have one student who has already completed two mastery assessments in one of the courses,” she said. “I don’t think it’ll be that way with all the students, but that’s the purpose of this competency-based program. We want students with experience to be able to accelerate through the program and if they already know something, why do we need to spend so many hours on it?”