May 1, 2014 | Spotlight

Institute Launches First Wave of Redesigned Courses at ACCG's Annual Conference

Writer: Staff Reports

The Institute of Government recently launched 13 new courses for the Association County Commissioner's (ACCG) Lifelong Learning Academy, a training and certification program. The project includes the development or redesign of a total of 76 courses that will be introduced over a two-year period. The Lifelong Learning Academy offers county commissioners foundational knowledge in key topics of county governance while also providing training in a variety of specialized subjects.

Thirteen new courses were officially offered during ACCG's 100th Anniversary Annual Conference, April 11-15, 2014, in Savannah, where more than 950 elected officials, county staff, and county clerks participated in redesigned courses.

Conference attendees were also recognized for previously completed training and professional development. More than 100 county officials received training certificates in recognition of their commitment to professional development--12 of those officials were recognized for achieving the Silver, Gold, Platinum, or Lifetime Standard of Excellence for completing an additional 100 or more hours of training beyond their standard certification requirements.

The new or redesigned courses offered at this year's conference were insurance and risk management; local economic development assets; regional cooperation; tax policy; voice of leadership; ethics; crisis management; human resources; county retirement plans; understanding navigating change; arts, culture and tourism; county government law; and transparency in government.

Participant evaluations received during the annual conference were overwhelmingly positive. Commissioner Natalie Crawford of Habersham County, said, "As a member of the Education Committee and having served on one of the course design teams, I am very pleased with the rollout of our newly designed courses. I attended three newly developed or redesigned courses, and was thrilled with the delivery. It is evident that the design teams took great care to make certain the material covered in the courses is informative and engaging."

"This project has been successful because of our partnership with ACCG, and the commitment of our teams to making each course meaningful and relevant for the county official and his needs," said, Stacy Jones, associate director of the Governmental Training, Education and Development Division.

Institute faculty members Sherri Lawless and Mara Register are coordinating the ACCG teams responsible for the comprehensive redesign process. Each course design team averages eight members and includes subject matter experts as well as county managers, administrators, and elected officials. The redesign of the remaining courses will be completed over the next 15 months.

"The design session protocol developed by Institute faculty member Phil Boyle has been instrumental in the successful development of each course, and the design team members selected bring a wealth of expertise and consistently demonstrate their commitment to the development process," said, Sherri Lawless, an expert in adult learning.

Institute faculty and staff contributing to the success of ACCG's 2014 annual conference included Phil Boyle, Marci Campbell, Dennis Epps, Shannon Ferguson, David Key, Sherri Lawless, Gordon Maner, Chrissy Marlowe, Walt McBride, Harry Owens, Eric Robinson, Kitty Shollenberger, Skip Teaster, and Murray Weed. In addition, David Hooker with the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership, a fellow UGA Public Service and Outreach unit, served as a guest instructor.