Susan Keith is an 18-year veteran of CPI and now holds the title of Director of Curriculum Development. A South Dakota native with a Masters of Education/Instructional Design from Alverno College in Milwaukee, Susan supports CPI’s Certified and Global Professional Instructors through the collaborative development and implementation of violence prevention initiatives.
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Roving Air Force “brat” from South Dakota. Masters of Education-Adult Education/Instructional Design from Alverno College in Milwaukee. Peace Corp volunteer in Ecuador and the Philippines. Milwaukee Public Schools interpreter. Twelve years on the road as a CPI staff instructor in 48 U.S. states, Canada, and Europe. Susan Keith’s current position as CPI’s Director of Curriculum Development must be deeply rewarding, because to accept the position she had to (mostly) come off the road, a place she holds dear. Listen to her interview for fascinating insights into the design and evolution of CPI training and great suggestions about how Certified Instructors can augment and strengthen their crisis intervention skills.
Here are just a few of the highlights from my conversation with Susan.
On her role creating resources for Certified Instructors (29:10):
“I think of my job primarily, really, as creating as many resources as possible to help Certified Instructors be the best Instructors they can be. So my job is to support the learning of the people that are out there teaching the program. And if that means revising something that exists, and updating it, then that’s what we’ll do. If it means coming up with something brand new, then we’ll look at how to make that happen as well.”
On CPI core content (6:39):
“I wanted to go back to school and get my master’s, and I was looking at Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® as a program, you know, as a whole, wondering how it got put together so well. Because it’s really, really solid, and that content is solid and it really hasn’t changed significantly in the over 30 years that we’ve been in business.”
“It was an intro to instructional design course, and it was like, 'Alright, that’s why the program is put together that way. That’s why this goes here and that’s why this goes here, and this is where the adult learning comes in; this is why we use the Demonstrate, Participate, Explain teaching sequence in the program' . . . it wasn’t just CPI that says this is how you want to put things together, there is actually research that backs up the structure of the program.”
On curriculum development (10:16):
“We come up with ideas internally because we do know our Certified Instructors pretty well, but we also do a lot of polling the audience, and I still take calls from Certified Instructors when they call to talk about a training issue. Through the course of those conversations I’ll ask questions too: ‘If we had ‘x’ resource available would you use it?’ or ‘What would you want to see?’ So we do informal questions of our Instructors when they call like that, but we also on occasion will do more formal kinds of surveys. And we’ll gather together the top 5 ideas we hear over the phone and put them together in a poll or survey and send that out to people.”
On the Autism Spectrum Disorders program and best practice (11:19):
“We also look at what’s happening in the field of best practice. When we developed the Autism Spectrum Disorders program, the advanced renewal course, we did a lot of research out there about what best practice was for supporting kids and adults on the autism spectrum and we pulled that into the program as well. We talked a lot with Certified Instructors who work specifically in the field of autism to make sure that the content was going to be relevant to the audience that came to it.”
On Trauma-Informed Care and Advanced Renewal Programs (17:00):
“All of our advanced renewal programs are going to be based in Nonviolent Crisis Intervention®, so even when we go out into the field and we research best practice and talk to subject matter experts (SMEs), we are going to take that and map it unto the foundation of the Crisis Development ModelSM. So trauma-informed care is really an operating procedure; it is something that is practiced on a daily basis, like Care, Welfare, Safety, and SecuritySM.”
On the flexibility of the Professional Development Modules (23:12):
“My principal is asking me to do something at a staff day, and I get 60 minutes. I can’t train people in 60 minutes. What can I do? They’re asking me to present something. So the professional development modules are designed to help people have a little bit more structured way to present information—on defusing difficult conversations, for example.”
On the International Instructor Conference and how Certified Instructors help develop curriculum (36:18):
“A lot of the ideas that Certified Instructors see come up through the years, some of them have come out of the proceedings of our International Instructor Conferences. You are all going to start hearing and seeing more about the next International Instructor Conference which is in 2015. It’s in New Orleans; it’s in July next year, and so that’s something to consider getting yourself to if you can. Some of the things that you’re hearing about in the eLearning Refresher Series this year came out of what happened in the conference in Orlando a couple of years ago. And the most direct example I can give you is the one on fetal alcohol spectrum we recorded last year, because the Certified Instructor is Chris Arnold, that I worked with on that webinar last month. I met him in Orlando that year, and we’ve been talking ever since about how we can use his expertise and get that out to everybody else."