Midwest Consortium Instructors’ Study:
Phase I – Instructor Competencies, Assessment, and Professional Development
Principal Investigator: Anca Bejan, MS, COHC, CIH – PhD Student
Academic and Research Advisors: Peter C. Raynor, PhD – Professor, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, IH Program Director; Rosemarie Park, PhD – Associate Professor, College of Education and Human Development
Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota
In the Unites States, workers engaging in hazardous waste removal, containment, or chemical emergency responses are required to complete a hazardous waste worker training program (HAZWOPER). HAZWOPER training ranges from 8 to 40 hours, consists of highly technical information, and is taught by instructors with a variety of backgrounds, work and teaching experiences. HAWOPER training success relies heavily on instructors’ proficiency as educators to prepare workers to meet the demands of their jobs. However, little is known about the trainers’ teaching skill requirements, or the professional development and support provided by training centers. Given the serious hazards faced by workers handling contaminants and responding to chemical-related accidents, effective HAZWOPER training is extremely important. Therefore, there is a critical need to define the competencies required of HAZWOPER instructors and identify ways to best support instructors in acquisition and mastery of these competencies.
The project will be conducted in partnership with two training centers members of the Midwest Consortium for Hazardous Waste Worker Training (MWC) and aims to: (1) Create a comprehensive list of competencies specific to HAZWOPER instructors; and (2) Identify instructor recruiting, on-boarding, support, and assessment practices in two training centers of the MWC. This project is expected to generate a list of competencies specific to HAZWOPER instructors, and two case study reports. This information will be used to inform the future research studies, including my doctoral research project. In-depth knowledge of training center operations will provide valuable information about data collection methods (surveys, interviews, observations) likely to be acceptable to instructors and center directors. The results of this project will inform center directors’ decisions related to instructor professional development and support activities and could improve the success of all MWC instructors. Project findings will be shared in MWC seminars, at national conferences, and in peer-reviewed journals.