Learning Is a Lifelong Process

Oct. 29, 2011

By Becky Gauthier

We had a tradition at my house while I was growing up that subtly stressed the importance of increasing our storehouse of knowledge each day. After settling down to dinner, my father would turn to each of us kids and ask, “So, what did you learn today?” We would too often respond with “Nothing.” Or “I learned something, but I forgot what it was.” One evening Dad came home with a slightly used set of encyclopedias and requested that we learn something we could share with the family each day. Did you know that a giraffe eats up to 140 pounds of foliage per day?

IECA receives about 50 requests for education each month. Most are requests for online training. Current courses available have excellent content, but the production quality is poor and some content is in need of updating. Also, there is a lack of variety of courses, and many timely topics are missing.

A new program has been instituted at IECA that offers continuing education units (CEUs) that can be applied to certification programs that require yearly credits or credit hours. The IECA Continuing Education Program strives to build a registry of high-quality education providers and courses that have demonstrated adherence to high standards and effective practices in the development and delivery of professional education activities for the stormwater, erosion, and sediment profession.

The program works by encouraging instructors to submit their courses to undergo the review process established by this program. Proposed courses are reviewed and commented on by IECA’s Technology Sections, comprising industry professionals, each with concentrated knowledge in a particular area of expertise.

Instructors of current IECA-approved courses are strongly encouraged to resubmit their courses to undergo this rigorous review. The courses will not be approved automatically.

But if the course is approved, it will provide course participants with CEU credits that are of an assured high level of credibility, since they have undergone and passed through the IECA Continuing Education Program requirements.

After approval, many courses will be made into online courses using better filming technology than was used in the past to ensure a quality product that can be updated as our industry changes.

To complement this program, when IECA receives calls requesting education from businesses and agencies, the instructors are notified through the IECA Live program that mobilizes IECA’s best instructors based on the region in which they live. Instructors who have filmed a course for Web-based training will receive a percentage of money earned for their course.

IECA is working hard to offer a comprehensive and diverse curriculum of course offerings covering all aspects of sedimentation, erosion control, stormwater, and water quality.

The aim is to provide a program that those seeking education will know is second to none in the industry, due to rigorous peer-review standards. Stay tuned to the Web site for the latest

Becky Gauthier resigned from the IECA Board of Directors in February 2009, and the Board has appointed Lee Johnson, CPESC, to serve the remainder of Gauthier’s term, which ends in February 2012. Gauthier, a technical associate for Profile Products LLC in Lakebay, WA, has worked in the erosion control industry since 1990. She has served as the President of the Pacific Northwest Chapter of IECA and has served on the Chapter Board of Directors since 1999. Gauthier also has chaired several IECA committees, including the Chapter Advisory Committee.

 “Becky will be missed on the Board. She has been an asset to IECA in many ways and will continue to be so through the committees she continues to serve on. Her dedication and volunteerism should be applauded by all members of IECA,” said Michael Chase, CPESC, CPSWQ, CESSWI, president of the IECA Board of Directors.