The School of Education’s Continuing Education and Professional Development Department (CEPD) has won the United States Distance Learning Association’s prestigious 2020 Impact Award. The Impact Award honors outstanding projects featuring significant impact, reach, and understanding of diverse cultures, originating either in the U.S. or internationally; and extending across two or more organizations. This award is for CEPD’s online Cultural Awareness course that is offered to all new Des Moines Police Department Cadets attending the Des Moines Regional Police Academy.
The Cultural Awareness online course is 16 weeks in length and has eight modules. Two weeks are spent on each module, and two modules are specific to implicit bias. The goal of this course is to prepare prospective Des Moines police officers going through the Des Moines Regional Police Academy to initiate the process of seeing past stereotypes. The course includes content designed by School of Education Professors Kevin Lam and Bengu Erginer-Tekinalp. Law enforcement specific content was developed in conjunction with the Des Moines Police Academy with input from Scott Law, executive director of Drake Public Safety and operational services. The course is taught by Jim Verlengia, with facilitation of two face-to-face meetings provided primarily by Scott Law. Jean Hansen, senior online instructional designer, designed the course and oversees each course offering.
Chuck Sengstock, director of CEPD and Des Moines Police Chief Dana Wingert collectively forged this successful partnership in 2016. According to Chief Wingert, “We are fortunate to have an institution like Drake University that appreciates the value of cultural training as much as we do, yet possesses the knowledge and expertise to develop a top-shelf curriculum and put it into practice. We are truly a better organization because of this training and our on-going relationship with Drake University.”