New & Notable
The Professional Development Program (PDP), Rockefeller College, has received a $3.5 million contract from the Governor's Office of Employee Relations (GOER) for the Public Service Workshops Program. The Program provides professional development and training for employees of New York State in the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services Unit, who are represented by the Public Employees Federation.
PDP members working on the program include Executive Director Eugene J. Monaco, Associate Director Diane Tesiny, and Training Program Coordinator Sally Daggett.
At the height of the 2005-2006 flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is featuring a PDP-developed course on their website. A link to "Preparedness and Community Response to Pandemics" is the only online course listed under "News & Highlights" on the CDC's Avian Influenza page at (last modified January 18, 2006).
PDP's Instructional Technologies Unit created the educational tool with the Center for Public Health Preparedness (CPHP) at the University at Albany School of Public Health. Over 2500 people have registered for the course since its October 4, 2005 release. When asked to evaluate the usefulness of the course, participants have generally responded positively:
- "While I was taking this course, the Dept. of Health and Senior Services (Missouri) offered two presentations....My "Preparedness & Community Response to Pandemics" gave a advantage over other participants. The course as a unit was a plus for me as it has increased my awareness and understanding of disaster preparedness (also it came after Katrina Hurricane's response failure). Finally, I have taken this course at the same time real cases of flu have occurred in Turkey and at the border between Guatemala and Mexico. What an opportunity!"
- "I really liked how the course made me feel like I was taking a 'course' and not just reading lectures like some other online courses. I also liked how interactive the course was."
- "I was particularly interested in the historical perspective of the origins of influenza. The information regarding the impact of a pandemic was quite an eye opener. The lack of appropriate preparation for a pandemic may result in serious issues that will affect the political and socio-economic situation in the country....A pandemic, like terrorism, is unpredictable. Therefore it is incumbent on the powers-that-be to be effectively prepared....This content and the construction of the course have stimulated my mind and provided me with a new style of processing the necessary information."
- "Prior to taking this course I was very wary of doing online courses..."
- "This course is an eye-opener for me. I have learned a great deal about pandemics; I have learned the difference between epidemic and pandemic. I have learned about Global alert and global responses and the effects those responses will have in our local communities in the event of an influenza pandemic and/or a terrorist attack."
- "I wish there were more free courses offered. I will do the micro-biology next and have already done the Terrorism Preparedness."
- "This was one of the best, most comprehensive online emergency preparedness courses I have taken. I loved that the site required me to complete activities and take quizzes as a condition of completing the course."
The CDC, one of the 13 major operating components of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is the principal federal agency for protecting the health and safety of all Americans and for providing essential human services, especially for those people who are least able to help themselves.
PDP Provides Training Services for the New York State Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment
The Computer Training Services (CTS) unit of the Professional Development Program (PDP) provides business process documentation, curriculum development, instructor-led training, and technical support to the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), State Central Register (SCR) of Child Abuse and Maltreatment.
The SCR maintains reports of suspected cases of child abuse and maltreatment. The Advanced Integrated Management System (AIMS) is a new, automated, and secure management system that supports the SCR in meeting its statutory obligation to protect the health and safety of children in New York State. AIMS is designed to streamline the SCR's workflow, including the areas of tracking, research, reporting, and letter generation.
CTS took an active role to document the business processes and workflow of the existing SCR operations and to assist in developing and documenting new business practices to be instituted upon implementation of AIMS. The next commitment was to develop curriculum and training materials tailored for users to understand the system's functionality and to provide task-oriented exercises for each work area's specific responsibilities. Training sessions began in December of 2005 and are scheduled to accommodate the SCR's twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week operation. CTS support includes both classroom and hands-on practice time using workloads specific to each trainee. By the system's scheduled production date, CTS will have trained approximately 260 SCR staff in this initial phase of the application and will have provided technical support to all staff following their classroom instruction.
SCR feedback has been extremely positive for both the AIMS training sessions and technical support workshops. PDP received the following e-mail message from SCR Executive Staff - "The training went very, very well. Your whole team was extremely helpful and everyone made an enormous contribution. Having your staff available in the afternoon was a huge help and really solidified the morning session. Thanks again for all your flexibility and for delivering a great product."
Over twenty PDP staff members are reading Mountains Beyond Mountains , the subject of the University's inaugural reading project. Rebecca Stanley, Program Manager of the Instructional Technologies Unit, will lead a discussion on the book on March 17 at 12:15 in the Rudolph Room on the downtown campus. For more information on the book, its author, or the reading project, visit http://www.albany.edu/readingproject/ .
The Civil Service Employees Association Inc., Local 1000, AFSCME, AFL-CIO (CSEA) has chosen PDP's Instructional Technologies Unit (ITU) to create and support a new e-learning project. The CSEA Workers' Opportunities, Resources and Knowledge (WORK) Institute has contracted with PDP to develop a distance learning center along with an initial suite of six courses intended to help members prepare for state and local government civil service exams. The courses will be available to CSEA membership in the fall of 2006.
Under the leadership of its president, Danny Donahue, CSEA has continued to provide its members with the tools necessary to advance their careers in civil service and the private sector. The WORK Institute was established as an Education Trust, supported through grants, to help carry out CSEA's mission. Liz Asadourian is Director of the WORK Institute.
ITU has created a number of up-to-date training and learning centers, including projects for the New York-New Jersey Training Center, the UAlbany Center for Public Health Preparedness, the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), and the Center for Problem Oriented Policing.
Stephen Lackey is a second year Ph.D. student in the Information Sciences program and an instructor at the University at Albany. He has also worked in the Auto ID industry, and as a financial applications developer for the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey and Columbia University. Research interests include Intelligent Transportation Systems, Open Source software, and Social Computing. Stephen returns this summer to work with ITU on SCORM compliance and other projects.
Jason Morris has assumed a Webmaster position in the Instructional Technologies Unit. He will maintain both Internet and Intranet sites for the Office of Temporary & Disability Assistance (OTDA). ITU maintains and supports over 7,000 Intranet pages and over 2,000 Internet pages for OTDA. Jason holds a B.S. in Computer Information Systems from the Sage College of Albany and comes to PDP with expertise in website development using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and accessible design.
Christopher Najewicz has joined PDP as a web developer in the Instructional Technologies Unit. In addition to his formal education in computer science and media study, Chris has significant experience as a multimedia designer and web developer. He has worked as primary developer for client content management systems and has been involved with truly dynamic and customized content in sites using MySQL and Flash interchange. Mr. Najewicz holds a B.A. in Media Studies from the University at Buffalo and will be developing dynamic web applications.
Shelly Rafferty Withers has assumed a position in the Instructional Technologies Unit as a Senior Education Specialist. She is a much published short story writer, designer of online instruction, freelance writer, and editor. She has a substantial background in academic publishing and marketing. As an instructional designer, Shelly will develop web-based courses for a variety of ITU clients. She is currently nearing completion of her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction at the University at Albany.
PDP Training Program Coordinator, Joanne Trinkle recently authored “Foster Care Youth Leaders Speak Out”, which was featured as the lead article for the April 2006 issue of the Law Guardian Reporter. “The Reporter” is published quarterly by the Appellate Divisions of the Supreme Court of the State of New York and distributed to all New York State Law Guardians. The article highlighted the mission and priorities of Youth In Progress: New York State’s Foster Care Youth Leadership Advisory Team. As a result of this article, Law Guardians across New York have the dates and locations for all of the Foster Care Youth Speak Outs hosted by the Adolescent Services Resource Network as well as the contact information for all regional foster care youth leadership teams.
"From Evidence to Practice" is a self-paced, interactive web-based course designed and developed by PDP's Instructional Technologies Unit (ITU) in partnership with the New York State Department of Health. The three-hour course teaches the evidence-based public health decision-making process by plunging learners into a realistic situation. Learners are confronted with the public health problem of disparities in birth outcomes in a local community and asked to understand and employ the evidence-based framework to research and develop an intervention strategy to address it. They make a series of choices about finding data to accurately describe the problem, evaluate interventions based on evidence and applicability to the community, and defend their choices. The course outcome — securing funding for interventions chosen — depends on sound evidence-based decision-making. As learners work through their assigned tasks, feedback alerts them to how well they have understood the material presented. Upon finishing the course, they may print out a certificate of completion and apply for continuing education credit.
"From Evidence to Practice" is the latest in a series of web-based courses developed by ITU for the public health workforce. It is available free of charge on the New York-New Jersey Public Health Training Center web site at www.nynj-phtc.org.
The Summer/Fall 2006 edition of the Computer Training Course Catalog is now available from the Computer Training Services unit. The PDP catalog includes a comprehensive list of class offerings for New York State and local district DSS staff, along with detailed descriptions, prerequisites, instructional format, and contact information. You will also find information regarding special training requests, such as dedicated classes, application support workshops, and more. It’s our way of staying committed to effectively meeting the training needs of our sponsors.
In step with PDP's mission to make a difference in a changing world, we are changing, too! PDP has moved to new office space on the University at Albany uptown campus. Our new home, located at 1215 Western Avenue, will include more parking, easy access to the University, and state-of-the-art training rooms to better serve the needs of our program participants.
PDP phone numbers have also changed, see our Contact Us page for details. We feel sure that this move will help PDP further its mission, linking the learning, applied research, and evaluation resources of the university with the continuing professional education needs of the public service.
Lisa Skill, PDP Senior Education Specialist, has been appointed as a full, voting member to the New York State HIV Prevention Planning Group and will serve a three year membership term beginning 11/1/06 through 10/31/09. In existence since 1994, the PPG assists the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute in identifying and prioritizing the HIV-related prevention needs of New York State’s diverse communities.
Lisa Skill is the lead trainer on HIV/AIDS related trainings at PDP, which includes contracts to operate the AIDS Institute Regional Training Center for the Capital Region and North Country and a statewide contract as a Center of Expertise in Case Management. Both contracts are funded through the AIDS Institute.
In 2005, PDP’s Instructional Technologies Unit collaborated with the UAlbany Center for Public Health Preparedness to develop “Preparedness and Community Response to Pandemics,” one of a series of free, online courses developed to heighten awareness of public health threats and the need for a planned response. The course invites participants to explore the epidemiology, historical context, and response efforts related to both seasonal and worldwide influenza outbreaks. It is intended for a broad range of public health professionals and community responders. Since its release in October, 2005 over 8,000 individuals have registered for “Preparedness and the Community Response to Pandemics.” The course has been featured on the Centers for Disease Control web site (see January 2006 New and Notables). It was also reprinted in serial form in the fall and winter editions of C.E. Source, a continuing education journal for radiology technologists. In addition, USAID in Bolivia has requested permission to reprint the course in Spanish. “Preparedness and the Community Response to Pandemics” and other preparedness courses developed by PDP are available here: http://www.ualbanycphp.org/learning/registration/default.cfm.