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The Virginia Association of Counties, in partnership with Virginia Tech and Virginia Cooperative Extension, offers Virginia’s county supervisors an opportunity to enhance their capacity to effectively and efficiently lead their respective counties in the 21st century by participating in the Virginia Certified County Supervisors’ Program.
Since its inception in 2005, 70 supervisors representing more than 40 counties spanning from Bath County and Highland County in the west to Stafford County and Richmond County in the east have completed the training program and have earned their credential as a certified county supervisor. Of greater importance, each supervisor has gained the insight, perspective and confidence needed to address the issues and opportunities that constitute the governance challenge in the 21st century.
The Virginia Certified County Supervisors’ Program was originally designed by a cross-section of county supervisors and appointed officials in 2005 and subsequently reviewed and reaffirmed in 2009, features a five course curriculum. The format used with each course is designed to maximize learning as well as student engagement. Each course begins with a six-hour classroom session that is topically driven and reflective of the subject matter being covered. Following the classroom session is an eight-week home study session. Each course participant is assigned relevant articles and books and completes assignments drawn from the readings on a weekly basis. One or more essays are also assigned during this portion of the course. The third and final course component of each course is a concluding six-hour classroom session.
A variety of topics are discussed during the closing session including a review of the books read and the assignments completed by each class member. Each course is designed to provide the participant with a solid understanding of the subject or topic being examined. Faculty from Virginia Tech and Virginia Cooperative Extension, VACo staff and local government practitioners from across the state serve as the program’s core faculty. Each course is designed to address fundamental learning objectives which, in turn, challenge traditional thinking while highlighting best practices models that can enhance governance at the local level.
Each course features a class binder along with assigned textbooks. Classes are conducted using a seminar format with an emphasis on shared learning and participant engagement. The textbooks currently being used in the five course courses include the following:
• Code of Virginia
• Virginia County Supervisors Manual
• Working Across Boundaries, Russell M. Linden
• A Budgeting Guide for Local Government, Robert L. Bland
• Real Leadership, Dean Williams
• Leadership on the Line, Ronald Heifetz and Martin Linsky
• The Small Town Planning Handbook, Thomas Daniels, John Keller, Mark Lapping, Katherine Daniels, and James Segedy
• Community Planning, Eric Kelly
• Zoning 101, John Stephani
• The Six Thinking Hats, Edward de Bono
• The Secrets of Powerful Problem Solving, Roger Dawson
• The Truth about Leadership, James Kouzes and Barry Posner
• We Don’t Make Widgets, Ken Miller