PDAC from a CALP Perspective

Odette Lloyd, Community Learning Network

1 2 13 September 2017

PDAC VisualEarlier this month, Advanced Education posted a call for an Expression of Interest to join the Professional Development Advisory Committee - PDAC. (Missed the post? You can read it here.)

I've had the privilege to attend a few PDAC meetings. One of the things that has struck me as truly unique about this provincial committee is the broad range of voices and perspectives that come to the table. In the first two years of the committee, CALP staff were an integral part of the conversation, ensuring that CALP practitioners are contributing to the ever-evolving community adult learning system in our province.

The CALP representatives who participated as active members over the last two years were:

Brenda Barritt, Executive Director
Stettler Adult Learning

Jane Brenner, Executive Director
Taber and District Community Adult Learning

Deb Holland, Director
Lamont County Community Adult Learning Council

Georgina Supernault, Aboriginal Coordinator
Manning Community Resource Centre (Aboriginal) Society

Debbie Tupechka, Program Coordinator
Two Hills County Community Adult Learning

We thought you might like to hear a bit more about being involved with PDAC from a CALP perspective, so we asked them to share some of their thoughts about what the experience was like for them.

Here are just some of their thoughts:

Q: Why did you join the Professional Development Advisory Committee?

Brenda: I appreciated the fact that they were seeking to include CALP voices from each region and felt honored to be asked from Central region.

Debbie T.: When asked, I saw it as an opportunity to have input into professional development requirements from a Learning Council perspective. As with so many other Councils that operate with only one staff, the vast array of knowledge that we need to manage the office, seek funding, complete the reporting requirements, market our programs and services, coordinate literacy and ESL programs, offer learner supports, do ongoing needs assessment, learner assessments and program evaluation can be overwhelming. Most people do not have all these skills when they join the CALP system and have to learn as they go.

Q: What are you most proud of the committee accomplishing over the last two years?

Being able to give responsive input and feedback to Advanced Education and CLN with regards to the needs and priorities for Professional Development of our people, and already seeing new or improved trainings coming to the system in 2017-18.

Debbie H: I am most proud of the momentum of the committee’s progress. I did not anticipate the implementation of some of our ideas in the 2017 Symposium. In retrospect, I should have anticipated it based on the people who work at CLN. At our last meeting I listened to the status/progress reports of the various projects that are under way right now and it was truly impressive.

Q: What do you feel you gained (personally or professionally) from your experience as part of PDAC?

Jane: Personally, I believe it opened my eyes to the possibilities for change in the PD system and how these changes would improve the way we do business. Professionally I gained new contacts and changed the way we were doing things in our own association.

Debbie T.: Working through the process of planning and developing professional development opportunities is a great experience. We do it on a regular basis in our office but not to that degree. The committee reinforced Alberta Advanced Education's and the CLN's commitment to and support of the Learning Councils and their staff.

Q: What would you say to a new CALP staff person before their first meeting?

Don't feel intimidated - everyone was new to the committee once too. Ask questions - for clarification, understanding, to bring a new level of understanding to you and the group.

Jane: You are embarking on a journey that will assist in making positive changes for the CALP program and help you in your efforts to succeed in your present position. Very worthwhile time spent on the PDAC committee a positive and rewarding experience.

Debbie T: It’s an opportunity to share your perspective in regards to the professional development needs of CALPs. Talk to other CALPs within your region and see what their needs are too. I only spoke from my perspective; from where I am on my learning journey and my professional development needs. Thinking back I could've been more of a representative of the region and the needs of various people that are at different stages of their journey.

Debbie H: My first piece of advice would be to tell them that there are many different hats around the table. It is critical that they not compare their world to the other worlds. My second piece of advice is to stress that they have permission to speak freely regardless of who is in the room. That may be, for some, the biggest hurdle to overcome.

So, if you’ve got something to contribute to the provincial system, consider putting your name forward for PDAC!

You can find all the details on the CALP Portal. Check out the discussion online HERE!

Odette Lloyd
Communications Specialist


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