Strategy #4 - Members Deserve The Best

SAR volunteer responders go out in the middle of the night, in the rain and the cold, and take calculated risks to assist those that cannot help themselves.  For that you deserve the best of what we can offer.  The best courses, certifications, instructors, evaluators, tools, textbooks, the best everything.

Incentivize Instructors and Evaluators

We need great instructors and evaluators in all geographic regions of the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, and any other location where NASAR products are valued and used.  The Professional Standards Division will be working on a series of incentives to recruit and retain great instructors and evaluators from within the membership.  By the end of June, all instructors and lead evaluators will have an engraved nametag to identify them, and by the end of the year the top performers will have NASAR business cards to help them look professional.  This is only a small thing, but we will get it done while the Professional Development Division is working on the overall incentives.

Bring The Top Instructors And Evaluators Together Annually To Assess Program Issues And Develop Solutions

In mid-2016, we will be convening an in-person meeting of the Directors of Certification, Education, Professional Standards and the top instructors and lead evaluators.  Who better to work together to assess the quality of our programs, policies, etc.?  This group will then develop a multi-year plan and budget to continue building on our world-class products, for you.

Build More SAR Courses And Certifications

There is so much of SAR that we currently don’t address.  ASTM and NFPA are building standards that we don’t have certifications for or education to support.  There are drones on the horizon (pun intended).  GIS, GPS, and location based technologies to exploit, and so many other topics we need to work on.  So we have a lot of deliverables over the next year to address these shortfalls.

Last year we rolled out the Tracker program, and the Mounted SARTECH III certification.  This year we will be launching the RESCUETECH series and the SARTECH CrewLeader II certification (both will be available in June 2015).  Next year we look forward to advancing even more courses and certifications to meet our industry needs.

Increase The Quality Of Courses Through The Use Of Professional Course Standards

If you are an instructor or evaluator you probably noticed that different courses and certifications have widely varying levels of quality and tools.  We are working to standardize the way courses and examinations are built, so that you know what to expect for each course we roll out.  For example, each course should have a professional quality instructors guide a sample announcement you can use to market your course, etc.  Each course will now be rolled out into DropBox so that each instructor and evaluator has access to the same materials at the same time. 

Develop An Online Course And Examination Strategy

Multi-day courses are hard for many volunteers to attend due to work and family commitments.  We are working on a plan to develop on-line modules for all the courses that lend themselves to on-line education.  We probably can’t put some of our courses completely on-line, but we could cut out a few days of MLPI or FUNSAR for example.  This would make it easier for more students to attend the classes since the on site classroom time would be cut down significantly.

This is going to require us to purchase or contract a LMS (Learning Management System) that can handle the online courseware.  It will also mean we will need to take the course material and develop it into on-line slides, videos and other presentation material.  This will be a serious investment in our future, and will take a while to put into place.

Develop A Better Feedback Mechanism To Assess Quality Of Instruction and Evaluation

We currently use a simple course and instructor critique form to get feedback on how well our course and instructor/evaluator met your learning needs and expectations.  This system doesn’t provide a very rich source of information, and since it goes through the instructor/evaluator there is the chance students will not want to be honest to prevent any retribution (this is a sad idea, but not unheard of) from the instructor/evaluator.

We are working on a critique and feedback system that will work anonymously through our website and collect the right information to help us improve our courses, certifications, instructors and evaluators.  Expect to see this tool in 2016 or even late 2015 if all goes according to plan.

Wrap Up

You can see from the items in strategy #4 that we want to enable you to be the best searcher possible, and that means providing you with the best of everything.

I hope these articles help you understand where we are heading and how you can help us all get there together.

Thanks for being a member and holding on for the past year while we developed a strong foundation for NASAR to succeed.  I appreciate your patience, and if you have any questions please feel free to call me or contact me at chrisb@nasar.org.


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