Distance education provides so many opportunities for personal and professional growth. Similar to a non-residential graduate program, New Director Training (NDT) utilizes both eight person cohort based learning groups, structured training experiences, self-guided learning, and relational support through monthly video conference classes and independent studies. Each of the four new director tracks will have specific curricula and a similar delivery.
Orientation and Reach the University Institute (RUI)
The whole process starts with a NDT cohort orientation prior to RUI in Springfield, Missouri. This lays the relational building blocks of vision and trust needed to move through each element of the NDT experience. Those who haven’t completed RUI previously (e.g., church staff and second career participants) will finish the cohort orientation and remain to complete RUI. The emerging participants will complete the cohort orientation and stick around a couple more days for the pioneering track and further training.
Monthly Cohort Calls
Each new director cohort has a maximum of eight participants. Each person prepares and submits homework to a Google classroom from books read, videos watched, and/or other assignments, posts their work, and then joins in on monthly three-hour video conversations. Their cohort experience includes opportunities for members to teach their peers and engage in conversation and application around given materials. The eleven sessions cover core leadership skills and expose each leader to a variety of veteran Chi Alpha leaders. These guided conversations and posted homework assignments allow for the instructor to gauge the comprehension and creativity that each participant is developing around core director competencies.
Each trainee is partnered with a veteran Chi Alpha coach. These conversations model a discipleship relationship and are designed to give each the experience needed to disciple students and staff under their leadership. Two learning plans are developed and implemented through the mentor/coach relationship that address identified growth areas of each candidate.
Working with district leadership, a coach, and NDT staff, each participant will spend time on campus with existing Chi Alpha groups. These visits are evaluated through post-visit projects and papers that reflect the experience and insights gained that could contribute to recreating similar dynamics on their campus.
All participants converge on the National Chi Alpha Ministry Center (Springfield, Missouri) for intentional relationship time, training, and exposure and connection with the entire residential national Chi Alpha team. This time also includes presentations and projects by each trainee demonstrating their skills as a director, small group leader, and one-on-one facilitator.