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Re: Continuing Professional Development

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If professional development is made mandatory, I feel that the boards
should exercise some controls concerning what qualifies as continuing
education.

Many of these courses which are one, two, or three days long cost more
than a full semester at a state college.  Rarely are there measurements
(tests) that verify anything was actually learned. The worst are the self
promotions selling a proprietary method of doing something, providing
little in skills or abilities to take home other than the phone number to
contact if you want to erect a packaged framing system or retaining
structure or whatever. These things draw a large number of participants
looking for clients, jobs, or free donuts and coffee.

The alternative course at night at a University is a killer for someone
already putting in a 40 hour plus week and then having to make two of
three night sessions a week for 12 to 16 weeks.

I think I would prefer the first option to satisfy the paper requirements
if the mandatory nature of the courses doesn't drive the prices even
higher. Count the people in the room at your next short course, figure
what somebody is getting for some 35mm slides, xeroxed handouts,
manufacturers promotional literature, hotel coffee and donuts and an
overcrowded banquet room. Chances are somebody you never heard of will be
presenting a paper or method by somebody you have heard of who may make a
brief appearance (You will be afforded the opportunity to order the
latest revision of their text).

In reality, the only professional development that meets the objective of
the profession is when I recognize that I need to update in some area,
then do some library or interpersonal research, buy the book and spend a
weekend or two at my own desk and computer until I'm satisfied I can do
the job to a professional standard.

Much of the mail on these mail lists is concerned with Civil vs.
Structural, Civil vs. Geologist, Architect vs. Structural, etc.; it's not
just in SEAOC.  It doesn't matter what organizations you belong to, or
that you can pass a test on the more elementary skills of a profession.
Understanding one's own limitations and not working beyond them is
fundamental to a professional in any field; constantly working to reduce
those limitations is the corollary.