Information about the Character Education Certificate Information about the Character Education Certificate Information about the Character Education Certificate Information about the Character Education Certificate Information about the Character Education Certificate
School of Graduate and Professional Studies Department of Education

Character Education Certificate

Questions?

Marsha Webster
+1 630 637 5842
mbwebster@noctrl.edu

Character Education Certificate

Goals of the Certificate Program:

  • Foster a school culture of character that is caring, empowering and inclusive for students and staff
  • Infuse social-emotional character development into the school culture
  • Empower educators to be lifelong learners
  • Tackle equity through a commitment to foster student and staff potential

The Online Experience

  • 100% online and asynchronous
  • Three, five-week modules
  • Two to three hours of structured content and activities per week
  • Weekly engagement with instructor and peers
  • Modules are intended to be taken in sequence

"This was a very good course. I learned so much that I can bring back to my school." (Linda Bogdanic, teacher, Joliet PSD 86)

Benefits of the Certificate: 

  • Earn 45 hours of professional development units
  • Receive access to resources during and after the program
  • Join a supportive network with which to connect

Ideal for the following groups

  • School Principals, Assistant Principals, Teacher Leaders, and Educational Specialists 
  • Members of teams or committees addressing school culture and climate
  • District office administrative staff 

“The program really emphasized SEL and how it overlaps with Character Education. While it was completely online, the interaction with colleagues was robust. I felt like I really got to know them and gained a deeper insight into how they were using the material in their own schools.” (Rebecca Heiden, Student Services Coordinator, Naperville CUSD 203)

Register Here

Read about the positive response and global reach of the Character Education Certificate

The Character Education Certificate is delivered in an online and asynchronous format

  • The five session modules are intended to be taken in sequence and in a timely manner
  • Participants engage with the material and one another by posting through Padlet and Voice thread. All are expected to respond with a first post for each assignment between Sunday - Thursday; then a second post responding to peers Thursday - Sunday.

 

"The weekly activities were very effective and a key component to the course. They helped reinforce what I am doing already and allowed me to experience new and different perspectives." (Linda Bogdanic, teacher, Joliet PSD 86)

MODULE 1 MODULE 2 MODULE 3
Examining your Personal Character: Self as a Moral and Ethical Leader Fostering an Environment for Character Development: Character Education in the Classroom Creating School Cultures of Character: Character Education as a School Ethos
Introduction to character, starting from the self and the various ways our roles affect students' character development. Introduction to virtue framework, virtue language and literacy: moral, civic, intellectual and performance virtues. Introduction to effective strategies for fostering a school culture of character.
Explore a virtue ethics approach to character development. Examine the role of moral exemplars and the ways morality permeates the classroom (caught). Examine character education from a whole school perspective.
Reflect on educational aims and beliefs that affect students' sense of agency, belongingness, and character development. Identify the intentional ways to embed character and virtue language in the classroom (taught). Introduction to effective strategies for fostering a schoolwide culture of character.
Understand power dynamics and systemic challenges to students' character development. Operationalize and create your personal framework to implement in the classroom. Conceptualize and develop a plan for cultivating an inclusive, caring and empowering school environment (sought).
Recognize the practice of dialogue to cultivate character. Develop an assessment plan to foster a culture of character in your school.

Flexible Start Times

Modules Start Finish Modules Start Finish
Spring 2022 Session CHED 501 04/03/22 05/07/22 Summer 2022 Cohort 1 CHED 501 05/09/22 06/11/22
Spring 2022 Session CHED 502 05/15/22 06/18/22 Summer 2022 Cohort 1 CHED 502 06/12/22 07/16/22
Spring 2022 Session CHED 503 06/19/22 07/31/22 Summer 2022 Cohort 1 CHED 503 07/17/22 08/20/22
Summer 2022 Cohort 2 CHED 501 06/05/22 07/09/22 Summer 2022 Cohort 3 CHED 501 07/10/22 08/13/22
Summer 2022 Cohort 2 CHED 502 07/17/22 08/20/22 Summer/Fall 2022 Cohort 3 CHED 502 09/11/22 10/15/22
Summer/Fall 2022 Cohort 2 CHED 503 09/11/22 10/15/22 Summer/Fall 2022 Cohort 3 CHED 503 10/16/22 11/19/22
Fall 2022 Cohort 1 CHED 501 08/07/22 09/10/22 Fall 2022 Cohort 2 CHED 501 08/28/22 10/01/22
Fall 2022 Cohort 1 CHED 502 09/11/22 10/15/22 Fall 2022 Cohort 2 CHED 502 10/02/22 11/05/22
Fall 2022 Cohort 1 CHED 503 10/16/22 11/19/22 Fall 2022 Cohort 2 CHED 503 11/06/22 12/17/22
Fall 2022 Cohort 3 CHED 501 09/11/22 10/15/22
Fall 2022 Cohort 3 CHED 502 10/16/22 11/19/22
Fall 2022 Cohort 3 CHED 503 01/15/23 02/18/23

Registration deadline:

  • July 10 - Register by June 28

“I believe these modules helped me better understand character education. I appreciated the conversations we had about how SEL, DEI, and CE are interwoven. I think any time we can focus our attention in schools on these areas it is to our benefit.”  (Alexander Mayszak, Principal East Moline School District 37)

Julie Nagashima

Visiting Assistant Professor of Ethical Leadership; Coordinator of Character Education Certificate Program
Leadership, Ethics & Values

Dr. Julie Nagashima graduated from University of Pittsburgh with a Ph.D. in Education. Her dissertation focused on relationships and its significance for fostering student agency. Dr. Nagashima began her educational career as an intern and program coordinator supporting programs including UNESCO associated schools project at University of Pittsburgh. Following her internship, she worked for a nonprofit organization as Educational Program Coordinator and developed mentoring programs for undergraduate and graduate students in the Pittsburgh area for six years. After graduating with her doctorate, Dr. Nagashima worked as a Postdoctoral Research Associate for two years where she supported the research and development of character initiatives at Arizona State University.

Dr. Nagashima, course designer, shared her research on Character with faculty at St. Mary's University of Minnesota. Read about her presentation here

"I believe that leadership is relational and cultivated from our lived experiences. Our experiences and interaction with others nurture our ways of knowing and being in our social context. We develop wisdom to engage and to act with courage and compassion. This dynamic process is also part of our character development. When we feel a strong sense of belonging and community, we develop a natural willingness to contribute to our society. Thus, leadership to me is relational and fostered in a life-long process of navigating and developing our inner and moral self as we engage with others." 

Facilitators

Dr. Michael Hylen

Coordinator of Doctoral Programs/Associate Professor of Education

Southern Wesleyan University

Central, South Carolina

I feel I greatly gained in my understanding of character education through this course. Some material I had never encountered in my years in this field, even though I have a PhD in character education and talk about it in my courses I teach at the university level. Dr. Nagashima is well versed in this material and an excellent instructor for this content.”

Click here for more information on Dr. Hylen

Ms. Anne Kasa 

Instructional Technology Coach

Learning Technology Center of Illinois

Southern Cook County

"As a Character Education Certificate facilitator, I am gifted the opportunity to work alongside educators as they explore character education from within while synthesizing that understanding and philosophy into their current classroom practices. What an amazing journey to explore together!"

Click here for more information on Ms. Kasa

Ms. Jessica Bernacki

Dean

Plainfield South High School

Plainfield, IL

"As a high school dean I am already thinking of ways that I can use what I have learned when conferencing and mediating between students, to make sure that there is equity in a discipline process, and to create a culture and climate that will result in a positive educational journey for all."

Click here for more information on Ms. Bernacki

Upon successful completion of all 3 modules, educators receive: 

  • 45 professional development units for license renewal
  • A portfolio of resources
  • A supportive network of colleagues with which to connect 

"Padlet and voicethread were helpful in sharing ideas with other students. They were good ways to see and hear each others' thoughts and ideas. Having a team for some activities was also a good way to connect more closely with a few peers." Spring 2021 participant

How much time is expected per week? 

  • 3 hours per week should be allotted to ensure maximum benefit from the course.

Do I have to log in at specific times?

  • Yes and no. Participants are required to complete weekly discussion threads by a certain day of the week (between Sunday - Thursday) and then respond to peers (between Thursday - Sunday.) Otherwise, the course is self paced and you can log in to engage in the activities when your time permits.  

Is the content appropriate for administrators?

  • Yes. Administrators and teachers can benefit from the focus on character virtue reflection offered with this course.

Is there a course syllabus that I can share with my district for PD approval?

  • Yes. A syllabus for each module is available upon request.

Is there an option for groups of teachers from my school/district to take the course as one unit?

  • Yes. We can work with you to explore options for a special cohort offering just for your school or district office. 

What is the delivery mode for the program?

  • The course is on the Blackboard platform. Videos, readings, and responses are updated on a weekly basis. Interaction among participants takes place through Padlet and Voicethread. Orientation on each of these platforms is provided at the beginning of the module, and one on one support is available as needed. 

Do I need to apply to be accepted into this program?

  • No. You simply register and verify that you work in the field of education. 

Can I take just one module?

  • We encourage all participants to complete all modules. If circumstances require a break, the option to return to complete Modules 2 and 3 remains available for one year from the date Module 1 was begun. 

Seoul Foreign School - Spring 2022 cohort 

A cohort of 12 educators from an International Baccalaureate in Seoul, South Korea completed the Certificate in May, 2022. These educators were motivated to enroll in the course in order to reflect on carrying out the school's mission - "Inspiring Excellence, Building Character." 

Reflections from a few of the participants:   

Since taking this program, I see character building opportunities everywhere I go. I have so many more meaningful interactions with students than I had previously. I am much more mindful as to the lessons I create and really taking ownership in the role I can play in helping to develop character with my students (whereas in the past I was quick to hand off that baton of responsibility to the core teachers). Also, the program trajectory from self to classroom to whole school helped me see the bigger picture. -- Kristen Creech

The fifteen weeks spent in this Character Development class has been a true blessing. Although the importance of character was clear, I now have a better understanding of how to prioritize, model, and be intentional about embedding character education into my teaching and coaching. It was both affirming and challenging to learn how much my behaviors greatly affect my students’ behaviors. In Module 2, I learned to choose virtues most important to me and create a framework. This moral framework will guide my lessons to help my athletes and students to think about who they want to be in the future and to start making choices toward being that person of character. I was reminded that character development is a life-long process and even small changes can be impactful in the long run. -- Kirsten Gray

I went from not knowing a whole lot about Character Education, to seeing different parts and pieces, to learning about the process and structure of building/implementing character education in a school setting. It has been a journey and the most fun part is doing it with some of my co-workers and friends. It was so nice to have connected with this small community in a meaningful way. The reflection and sharing pieces are priceless. I’ve been humbled and have learned so much from these dedicated colleagues. --Jiangjiang Chen

This program has given me a significant understanding of the knowledge in the field of Character Education.  It is strange because so much of the content felt familiar, but hearing it in a cohesive and unified way, really brought it to life for me. I am definitely going to implement the lesson into the sports program. -- Paul Rader

I want to thank Dr. Nagashima for putting this course together and allowing members of our school to take it as a cohort together. That was immensely helpful for me, because it meant that not only could I engage outside of the “virtual classroom” with my colleagues, but also that during our class we could focus our discussion on what we can do within our context. -- Stephanie Black

I have learned in this course that character education is not just about teaching good behaviors, or modeling them in the classroom. It’s much wider and deeper. This course helped us to learn the ways to make the word character come alive in our everyday school life. This is definitely my favorite PD this year. -- Xin Ding 

 

 

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