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USCC and CREF to Launch New Training Platform, Compost University: Q&A with CU Director, Cary Oshins

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A long-awaited initiative is coming to fruition from the US Composting Council and the Compost Research and Education Foundation -- Compost University will launch this month. Here are a few frequently asked questions about Compost U and responses from Cary Oshins, USCC Associate Director and CREF Education Director.

Why is it important for USCC and CREF to launch a learning platform at this time?

As I have worked with compost manufacturers and their allies within all levels of the compost and organics industry, in public, private and non-profit sectors, I have seen a need to build skills in order to manage their sites and facilities effectively. We wanted to develop a place where industry professionals could access high-quality, timely coursework on specific functions when and where they want it, on demand. Compost U will be the only place that has a curated collection of informational and educational resources closely related to specific functions and searchable by topic, at levels from introductory to advanced.

Why do you think composters will utilize Compost U?

There are frustrations and challenges with time management and work/life balance and lack of educational resources and opportunities – Compost U provides the online and on-demand learning platform that fits the need of the learner, whether they are a novice or seasoned composter. Learners can choose what they learn – be it the fundamentals of composting or a problem-focused topic such as odor control, contamination or branding and marketing for their business – and take courses that meet their career path or business goals.

What type of topics can industry professionals find on Compost U?

By and large the Compost U learner is looking for answers on specific topics that are challenging and impacting their work, company, facility, or site. CU coursework is “problem-focused” and topic driven so we will help these learners identify what they need quickly through the Compost U course catalog.

What is the new “Compost Scholars Program” and how will that work?

With the launch of Compost U we’re also launching the Compost Scholars Program, allowing students of composting and compost use to earn credits and receive recognition for their passion and investment in time and effort. This Program is different from the USCC’s Professional Credentials Programs, Certified Compost Operations Manager and Certified Composting Professional, where individuals have to meet training and experience prerequisites and then pass a test to earn their credential and then need to earn credits in order to stay certified.

As soon as someone completes their first course they will be enrolled in the program as a “Learner.” As a Learner, they will earn Continuing Education Credits (CECs) for every course they complete in Compost U. The Learner who earns the most credits each year will be recognized at the Annual Awards Ceremony at the USCC Annual Conference and Tradeshow. It doesn’t stop there, Learners can earn “advanced degrees” in the Program. A specific number of credits will earn the learner a Scholar, Advanced Scholar or Senior Scholar degree.

In addition to earning Continuing Education Credits through Compost U courses, completing other forms of continuing education, such as webinars, workshops, and conferences, can also earn CECs. The same tracking and reporting forms the CCOMs and CCPs use to request Professional Development Hours will be used by USCC Learners to request CECs.

Like the Compost University tagline promotes, industry professionals will learn here, grow here and thrive here.

More information about Compost University will be available on the Compost University web site, coming soon!


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