Have you ever wondered who the American Correctional Association's certification commissioners are and what they do? Have you ever thought you might like to serve as a commissioner but didn't know how to go about doing it? Corrections Today recently began highlighting certified members in the Certification Spotlight column, and this month the focus is on the commissioners who govern the certification program.
ACA's certification program benefits individuals who are trying to get ahead in the field, as well as the organizations where they work. It is an investment in the future, and one that ACA and the commission take very seriously. For those agencies that are committed to the certification process, it is an element that brings about change, the type of change that affects the culture and climate of an entire agency.
ACA's Commission on Professional Certification for Corrections was established as the governing body for the certification program. The number of commissioners is set anywhere between three and 25 members by the ACA Board of Governors, and there are currently 10 commissioners. The commission is made up of individuals from the juvenile and adult fields who represent the various categories of certification: executives, managers, supervisors, officers, nurses and security threat group personnel, as well as academicians. The commission is now chaired by Doug Dretke, executive director of the Correctional Management Institute at Sam Houston State University. The commission is staffed by Peg O'Brien, CCM, ACA's certification program manager.
Typically a person is eligible for a commissioner's position if he or she is an ACA member in good standing, is certified, has interest in serving on a working commission, and can attend the commission meetings held twice a year at ACA conferences. Anyone meeting these criteria can send a letter of interest to O'Brien, who will then conduct a review of the application and forward it to ACA's president for nomination. The Board of Governors then has the option of voting on nominated commissioners at each ACA conference. Each commissioner serves a three-year term, with a maximum of two terms.
The commission's role is to set policy and generally oversee the certification program. It serves as the final arbiter for examinations and considers appeals from the certification applicants. The commission also determines what new categories of examinations are created and ensures the examinations, as well...