Reflections from CALP Staff Alumni

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


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

  • 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.

  • I joined PDAC to bring a new voice to the table. I often felt that urban representatives in the past did not represent adult literacy interests in the way they were needed in the CALP system as a whole.

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.

  • I am most proud of the open conversations that have happened (CALPing isn't always easy) and that feedback was received on things such as training opportunities and symposium. Seeing change in action is exciting.

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


  • Personally, I gained a lot - new connections, and new knowledge. I also think that everyone involved gains a sense of belonging. No one at the table talks about their educational background or millions of years of experience or anything its a level playing field and everyone has an equal voice. It was great to bring forward things people I work within an urban setting are talking about - because it can sometimes be very different from a rural setting also surprisingly sometimes it is similar. It was all around a very enjoyable experience.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • One hot tip is to remember to think the larger picture you are not there to just chat about how great things are at your organization (we all know things aren't great all the time) - you are there to represent a region so reach out and make that connection. Sometimes there will be nothing major to bring to the table and that's ok! Just don't forget everyone you are there for!