Continuing Education Courses, Credentials Make for Better Teachers

Continuing Education Courses, Credentials Make for Better Teachers

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Shiver: Schools not pursuing certifications for faculty, staff do them a ‘disservice’

Written from an Interview with Dr. Joseph F. Shiver II, Director, Faculty Development, Joint Special Operations University

Instructors who take continuing education courses and receive credentials for that professional development tend to be more creative in the classroom. And that keeps students involved and retained, said an administrator at the Joint Special Operations University.

Dr. Joseph Shiver II, director of faculty development at JSOU, the educational component of the U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida, said the university has used MaxKnowledge to provide continuing education courses for its approximately 165 faculty members since 2009. During that same time period, those instructors have completed 2,542 courses.

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In addition, many of its faculty and staff members have gone on to earn the Certified Higher Educational Professional (CHEP) credential, awarded by Career Education Colleges and Universities, that recognizes employees of career-oriented institutions that strive for excellence in their respective positions.

Dr. Shiver said JSOU faculty and staff have completed 127 CHEPs, including 98 in teaching, 19 in online teaching, nine in leadership positions and one in campus operations.

“Of those, 19 faculty and staff have at least two CHEPs, one has three CHEPs and one has four,” he said. Faculty and instructors can earn a total of six CHEPs through training programs offered by MaxKnowledge.

Not surprisingly, since most of its faculty members are face-to-face instructors, JSOU’s most popular certification is teaching. Dr. Shiver said faculty members who have earned the CHEP credential tend to be more creative in the classroom. “They’re not just standing in front of you and talking for 50 minutes,” he said. “They’re getting students involved.”

Students involved in doing something are often students who are more easily retained. “If you can get them involved and get them out of their seats, the retention is going to be threefold versus if you just talked to them for 50 minutes,” Dr. Shiver said. MaxKnowledge encourages teachers to try things like “flipped classrooms,” which reverses the traditional learning environment by delivering instructional content, often online, outside of the classroom, as well as active learning or different questioning techniques, he said.

Just as importantly, JSOU staff and faculty enjoy the classes, he said. “They don’t take a lot of time to complete, and they also are very easy to navigate. They give a good balance of introductory and intermediate information in each area,” he said.

CHEP at a glance

  • The Certified Higher Education Professional (CHEP) credential recognizes employees of career-oriented institutions who strive for excellence in their respective positions.
  • The CHEP certification is awarded by Career Education Colleges and Universities (CECU) in the following concentration areas: Teaching, Online Teaching, Admissions, Career Services, Campus Operations and Leadership.
  • CECU awards the CHEP credential for successful completion of 48 hours of approved training through any online training site powered by MaxKnowledge. CHEPs can maintain their certification status by completing eight hours of continuing education annually from any of the approved training sites.
  • Certified professionals receive a certificate with an embedded digital badge to share and showcase their achievements. Participating institutions are provided with digital recognition seals to demonstrate and display their commitment to excellence.

Source: www.cheponline.org

Continuing education for faculty is an important part of JSOU’s success since instructors can be military, civilian or international. However, none of their instructors are “brand new” to the military. “When we have faculty members or instructors come to our university, they must attend my faculty development course, which is a two-week introduction to the instructional system design model,” Dr. Shiver said. “My course teaches them how to educate, instead of just teach. I work more in the cognitive domain…”

Secondly, instructors must also become certified in whatever topic they’re going to be teaching, followed by instructor evaluations, which are completed at least once a year. “We want to make sure that they are still in rhythm and that they are keeping up with the latest in our teaching fundaments,” he said. “We want to know if there is something that we could do to help them.”

Another part of their continuing education program is in-service training and professional development, Dr. Shiver explained. “The in-service training is anything that we can do to help them with their teaching skills. Professional development is anything that we can help with their technical expertise on what they’re teaching.”

JSOU requires its faculty to take a minimum of three MaxKnowledge courses per year to get 1.2 Continuing Education Units (12 hours of training). “They have a year to do it so it’s something they can do on their own time,” he said. “But they really get a lot out of it. Also, by completing 12 hours of training each year, they fulfill the eight hours of continuing education required to keep their CHEP status.”

Until this spring, we had capped the number of courses a person could take to six a year. But that number is now unlimited, he said. “I was getting several phone calls a month from faculty and instructors, asking if they could take extra classes. They were a couple of courses away from their CHEP and they didn’t want to wait until the next year to get it.”

In the first month the cap was lifted, JSOU gained another 50 CHEPs since individuals no longer had to wait to take the courses.

“Our faculty are taking advantage of it,” he said, adding that they realize that CHEP certification comes with its own benefits. “When I first explained the CHEP certification to the faculty, I said this is not going to allow you to teach at a high school or college. But what it does is show credibility to academia, as well as to our accrediting body, that we are serious and we do take professional development very seriously.”

Dr. Shiver said they want every JSOU faculty or staff members to continually develop. “I have seen it in our classrooms, and I’ve heard our faculty talking about how they just took a course on something like how to flip a classroom and now they are going to try it in their class.”

Dr. Shiver said any school not pursuing certifications for its faculty and staff is doing them an injustice. “They are sitting idle,” he said. “They’re not moving forward. It’s a disservice for the school and for their students.”

Career Education Review’s Lifelong Learning Initiative

    • The Certified Higher Education Professional (CHEP) credential recognizes employees of career-oriented institutions who strive for excellence in their respective positions.
    • The CHEP certification is awarded by Career Education Colleges and Universities (CECU) in the following concentration areas: Teaching, Online Teaching, Admissions, Career Services, Campus Operations and Leadership.
    • CECU awards the CHEP credential for successful completion of 48 hours of approved training through any online training site powered by MaxKnowledge. CHEPs can maintain their certification status by completing eight hours of continuing education annually from any of the approved training sites.
    • Certified professionals receive a certificate with an embedded digital badge to share and showcase their achievements. Participating institutions are provided with digital recognition seals to demonstrate and display their commitment to excellence.

Source: www.maxknowledge.com/cer

Even though he’s been teaching 32 years, Dr. Shiver said he still takes continuing education courses yearly so he can hone his craft. “There’s no way in the world that you can say I know everything that I need to know, or that there is to know, about education,” he said.

He praised MaxKnowledge’s team and said their partnership has been a positive one. “They have been very responsive to anything we’ve ever asked,” he said.

JSOU has greatly utilized the program. “Per capita, we probably have more CHEPs than anyone,” Dr. Shiver said. “We have a small number of faculty, yet almost every one of our faculty members has a CHEP.”

JSOU teaches about 10,000 people a year – JSOU students can be military, civil service, contractors, or international students, and most have been in the military for an average of 15-25 years – but many of its courses are short, as short as three days. “That’s why we don’t give degrees; they’re continuing education courses” for performing their functions within the military, he said.

JSOU specializes in critical thinking, problem-solving and other soft skills. “It takes those skills that you already have and we talk about how can you use those skills to the best of your ability,” Dr. Shiver said.


Joseph Shiver

DR. JOSEPH SHIVER II is a faculty member at the Joint Special Operations University, the educational component of the U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. The JSOU mission is to educate Special Operation Forces’ executive, senior and intermediate leaders and selected other national and international security decision makers, both military and civilian, through teaching, outreach, and research in the science and art of joint special operations.

Overseeing the faculty development program for the university, Dr. Shiver ensures JSOU faculty and staff are equipped and qualified to teach JSOU courses by educating them about the principles of curriculum design and teaching techniques. With many instructors coming to the university from a military setting and with little educational background, this ensures those instructors are well prepared to teach when they get into the classroom.

Dr. Shiver was in the U.S. Air Force for more than 22 years and retired in 2003 at the rank of master sergeant. He served in a variety of assignments during his military career. Entering active duty as a communications-computer systems operator, he also worked as a shift leader, instructor, non-commissioned officer in charge, training manager and first sergeant.

After retiring from the Air Force, Dr. Shiver began working for the Directorate of Training, Fort Gordon, Georgia, where he taught the instructional systems design and instructor training courses. He started working at the Joint Special Operations University in 2009 as the director of institutional effectiveness; he presently serves as the director of faculty development.

Dr. Shiver earned a bachelor’s degree in electronic management from Southern Illinois University in 2001, a master’s degree in instructional system technology from Troy State University in 2003, and a doctorate degree in education from Capella University in 2016.

He is married to the former Jodie Miley of Washington Courthouse, Ohio and they have two children and four grandsons.



Contact Information: Dr. Joseph F. Shiver II // Director, Faculty Development // Joint Special Operations University // joseph.shiver@socom.mil

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