BY DEIDRE ALVES, M.ED.
I have a favorite jogging trail here in California that leads
directly to the beach. For me, this destination proves to be
a beautiful reward. Some call it an “enchanted path” for its
magical and curious nature, which makes the journey as special
as the destination.
As we delve deeper into optimizing the IRWA Learning
Experience, we are on the journey-building path. Our goal is to
create a customized experience for right of way professionals,
users of right of way services and the general public at large that
deploys relevant and valuable learning resources, connections
and opportunities to support the work of building a better
world. Right of way professionals are at the center of it all, with
more learning options and ways to extend marketability and
expertise in any specialized niche.
THE IRWA 5 YEAR CURRICULUM DESIGN PLAN
A Certificate Driven Approach
In February, the International Governing Council approved the
IRWA Five-Year Curriculum Design Plan that blueprints and
aligns innovative curriculum development through the year
2018. Based on what the right of way market has told us about
its current and future needs, this plan marks a major curricular
shift in focus toward market relevance and project-based right
of way certifications. The industry has spoken and IRWA has
risen to the challenge.
THE IRWA COURSE PRODUCTION PROCESS
Streamlined Operations with a Team Approach
Over the next five years, IRWA is poised to design and release a
bevy of new courses. To accomplish some fairly aggressive goals,
we are streamlining our internal operations while increasing
quality and consistency.
We will be implementing a new course production process that is
built on an innovative three-member team approach. Each team
will be comprised of two right of way subject matter experts and
a contracted instructional designer. Subject matter experts—our
IRWA members—will be invited to indicate their availability for
developing courses during two cycles of development each year.
In recognition for their commitment, time and service, they will
receive an honorarium. An important addition to the course
development team is the instructional designer. Hired for their
learning and assessment expertise, they will be responsible for
meeting project targets and creating an impactful, relevant, and
memorable learning experience using content provided by right of
way subject matter experts.
The Five-Year Plan is driven by the development of certificates
in Pipeline, Transportation and Utilities. The Pipeline
Certification is first on the list, and its production is slated
to begin in year one of the plan. The certificate curriculum is
currently being mapped to clear pathways that prescribe and
align appropriate coursework and proficiency levels. These
pathways will include enhanced versions of our current IRWA
courses, as well as new courses that speak directly to industry
needs. These newly-defined certificate pathways are designed
to provide transition points of competency and robust right
of way coursework that members and users of right of way
services, employers and chapter leadership can utilize for career
development and hiring practices.
This is an organization-wide transformation in practice that will
strengthen IRWA as the central authority for the right of way
profession. It also positions us as an essential partner to various
public and private entities as we align current and future needs with
relevant curriculum and learning resources, and meet the rising
demand for domestic and international infrastructure development.
We will pilot this new three-member development process in year
one with IRWA Course 604, Environmental Due Diligence and
Liability. This particular course can be applied across multiple
certifications, making it the ideal course for a pilot project. Our
ability to re-purpose this course across all certificates will save both
time and money, while maintaining high quality and increasing its
industry relevance. Please stay tuned for your next opportunity to
participate in the IRWA course development cycles.
Collectively, we are building capacity with strength, purpose, focus
and resolve. This journey is leading us to achieve that ultimate
destination and reward - a shared vision of building a better world
As IRWA’s Vice President of Professional Development,
She has expertise in education, training, human
performance and collaborative social environments.
Deidre holds a Master’s Degree in Education,
Multicultural Curriculum and Instruction from George
Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia and a Bachelor’s
Degree in International Service from the Catholic
University of America in Washington, DC.