Curriculum Committee Chair Reflects on Past Five Years

SWE FY20 Curriculum Chair, Kris Acosta, reflects on her experiences and challenges during her five years as chair of the Curriculum Committee.

As we approach the end of the 2020 fiscal year, I cannot help but feel saddened by the fact that my year as Chair for the Curriculum Committee is quickly ending.  The Curriculum Committee has given me such great opportunities that I wanted to share my experience with other members who may be looking for a way to get more involved with SWE.

Five years ago, I was looking for just such an opportunity.  I was active with my local Los Angeles (SWE-LA) Section in chairing the annual Professional Development Conference for several years, but the idea of volunteering at the Society-level had me intrigued.  When I looked into my options, the idea of working on a SWE Committee rose to the top.  In particular, the Curriculum Committee piqued my interest because it aligned with my desire to encourage and foster professional development for fellow SWE members.

I joined Curriculum and the experience has been rewarding.  When I first started on the Committee, we mainly reviewed webinars and gave our feedback on the currency of the material, the messaging, and the presentation style to SWE Headquarters (HQ).  We categorized the content in terms of professional development tracks and audiences and we aligned the content to the Leadership Competency Model (LCM).  Under the leadership of Inaas Darrat, Curriculum took on a broader role.  The Curriculum Charter expanded to ensure high-quality content is available to promote lifelong learning for SWE members.  In our new role, we took on the role to oversee and advise on the Society’s professional development offerings.  We were responsible to manage content and provide guidance, recommend and create content, and train SWE leaders.

Curriculum and Leadership Committee

As with any organizational change, there have been some challenges in implementing the charter.  While we have processes to manage the content, create and train have been in development.  Under the leadership of Jenny Lynch, we focused on collaboration between the Leadership Coaching Committee (LCC) and Curriculum to transition the LCC content to the Advanced Learning Center (ALC).  The picture shows members from both committees working on the FY20 planning held coincident with SWE Installations last year.  The opportunity to work closely with another Committee has been fantastic.  Curriculum also works very closely with HQ because they manage the ALC.  As we look into the future, we see many opportunities to work with other Committees to do such things as develop content and develop a marketing strategy to deploy our professional development offerings.

One key opportunity that I had was to work with SWE HQ to update the LCM to include Diversity and Inclusion as a new competency.  In FY20, we had grand plans to host focus groups in India and the UK to gather feedback on the LCM from our global members.  As SWE increases its global presence, Curriculum is keenly aware of the challenges that we will face to develop content that is relevant worldwide.  Despite the cancellations of the International WE Local conferences due to COVID-19, we are able to reach out to our Global Ambassadors to obtain their perspectives on the LCM.  Our desire to ensure the content we have for our members applies globally will continue to make Curriculum a challenging and exciting committee to support.

Curriculum Committee Chair Reflects on Past Five Years curriculum

After 5 years of being on Curriculum transitioning from a committee member to a workgroup lead, to Chair-Elect and finally to the Chair role, I cannot help but be proud of the accomplishments of the committee.  As I transition the chair to Mary Beth Biddle, I know the committee will be in very capable hands.  The future for Curriculum is bright and exciting.

One parting message that I would like to share with SWE members who are considering joining a committee—is that Curriculum has many different types of roles for volunteers.  From a simple commitment to review webinars to lead a workgroup to create new content or plan a virtual training session provides a range of involvement and commitment levels.  I hope that you look into the opportunities within Curriculum and find the fulfillment, the passion, and the friendships that I found.  I wholeheartedly thank all the Curriculum Committee members that I have had the privilege to know.  Thank you for the wealth of information that I learned being a member of the Curriculum and I will take that knowledge with me as I start a new journey as a member of the Senate.


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