A Community College Distance Education Delivery Model For A Post Diploma/Degree Human Services Management Certificate Program
From 2005 to 2006, the Community Studies Department Chair at Algonquin College approached relevant program advisory committees with the intention of developing a post diploma/degree certificate program in the area of front line human services management. Given the work and personal demands placed on targeted potential students, a distance education approach was suggested. This research project was undertaken to explore content areas and delivery methods in a certificate program that would meet the needs of both potential adult learners and pertinent local human service agencies. A mixed research method was used including online survey and face to face interview methods. Survey invitations were sent out to 112 Ottawa Carleton agencies, administered over a 6 week period, ultimately producing a response rate of 54 returns or 48%. From a quantitative standpoint, survey data revealed that respondents stem from varied social service backgrounds, strongly value a number of human services management skills, express a strong need for leadership/management training and applaud a strong emphasis on online training delivery coupled with some face to face contact. Most participants are comfortable with computer usage and many have access to high speed internet. A good majority have 6 to 10 hours a week to devote to coursework and study. Qualitative results indicate that interviewees underline a range of human services management responsibilities that at times can blur into unforeseen additional worker roles. Team work dynamics and organizational leadership are reported as ongoing management challenges and identified as areas requiring additional training opportunities. This research project shows that there is a need and desire for a Human Services Management Certificate program at Algonquin College.