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San Diego Zoo Global Academy

AZA Learning Partners:  Expanding Professional Development Opportunities for Zoos and Aquariums

By Nette Pletcher, Director of Conservation Education, and Amy Rutherford, Professional Development Program Manager, AZA

One of the most beneficial aspects of participating in professional development opportunities like AZA’s classroom-based training is the incredible network of professional contacts you can create. Knowing there are others who share the same challenges and making connections beyond your own institution is incredibly valuable. Likewise, making connections and sharing best practices with others in similar fields can also contribute to professional development in unique and valuable ways.

In addition to AZA, there are many like-minded organizations that zoo and aquarium professionals already engage with, and many of these also provide high quality opportunities. For the past year, AZA has been reaching out to these organizations and individuals, in order to work together to promote and recognize the value of all of the professional development opportunities available that advance the zoo and aquarium profession. Many of these groups have been invited to become officially recognized as AZA Learning Partners. Select training programs offered by an AZA Learning Partner can then be recognized as electives in the AZA Professional Development Certificate Program.

Each Learning Partner agrees to communicate with AZA staff about professional development opportunities that are relevant to AZA members and to verify successful completion of their training. In return, they receive the official AZA Learning Partner logo for use on their materials and cross-promotion of their training within the AZA community. San Diego Zoo Global Academy was one of the first groups to become recognized as an AZA Learning Partner.

AZA’s Professional Development Certificate Program organizes the numerous training opportunities offered through AZA and its Learning Partners into concentrations based around various specialties or topic areas. In order to earn a certificate in a particular concentration, a participant must complete two required AZA core courses related to the specific certificate concentration, as well as several related electives chosen from a list of approved Learning Partner offerings. Electives include a range of opportunities from online webinars to hands-on workshops to classroom-based courses.

One of the goals of the AZA Professional Development Certificate Program is to help zoo and aquarium professionals gain skills for success by expanding the professional development training opportunities available. AZA Learning Partners like San Diego Zoo Global Academy help us achieve this goal. 

Would you like to hear more about San Diego Zoo Global Academy?
Please contact Linda Duca at (516) 815-2886, or LDuca@Cypherworx.com

Academy Updates

Course Highlight: Operant Conditioning and Behavior Management 

Operant conditioning and behavior management are key tools in modern zookeeping, allowing animal care professionals to work with animals cooperatively to manage their health and welfare, reducing stress and encouraging species-typical behavior. Standardized management systems that can accompany animals when they move between zoological facilities are key to maintaining best practices in accredited organizations. Using a case study at the San Diego Zoo, you will learn the basics of animal learning and training, including operant-behavior techniques, different training systems, and the importance of trust-based systems of care. The ABCs of training are introduced.

See Operant Conditioning course sample here

Course Highlight: Compliance and Human Resources Comprehensive 

The Compliance and Human Resources Comprehensive Collection is a compilation of 25 courses that provide a training program for new and experienced managers, leaders, and HR professionals. You will have access to a complete catalog that covers topics as varied as harassment, ADA compliance, discrimination, wrongful termination, Family Medical Leave Act and Sarbanes-Oxley Act. In this course compilation, you receive the following 25 courses:

  • Managing Within the Law: At Will Employment
  • Managing Within the Law: Complying with ADA Requirements
  • Managing Within the Law: Complying with ADA Requirements as of 2009
  • Managing Within the Law: Discrimination
  • Managing Within the Law: Discrimination (Presentation Style)
  • Managing Within the Law: Drug and Alcohol Abuse in the Workplace
  • Managing Within the Law: Family and Medical Leave Act
  • Managing Within the Law: Family and Medical Leave Act as of 2009
  • Managing Within the Law: FLSA & State Wage-Hour Law
  • Managing Within the Law: Freedom of Religion in the Workplace
  • Managing Within the Law: Freedom of Speech in the Workplace
  • Managing Within the Law: Legal Guidelines for Interviewing
  • Managing Within the Law: Preventing Lawsuits
  • Managing Within the Law: Preventing Sexual Harassment - Manager Version
  • Managing Within the Law: Respecting Employees’ Individual Rights
  • Managing Within the Law: Top Ten Ways for a Manager to Stay Out of Jail
  • Managing Within the Law: Wrongful Termination
  • Managing Within the Law: Wrongful Termination (Presentation Style)
  • Sarbanes-Oxley Act: Overview, Disclosures, and Reporting
  • Sarbanes-Oxley Act: Standards, Regulations, and Penalties
  • Sexual Harassment Awareness for Managers: Defining Harassment
  • Sexual Harassment Awareness for Managers: Handling Complaints
  • Sexual Harassment Awareness for Managers: Preventing Harassment
  • Sexual Harassment: Prevention and Response
  • Sexual Harassment: What Is Harassment?



Juy Webinars

  • Events 101: How to Create World-Class Events. Participants gained an understanding of how to plan a world-class event and were provided basic steps for success, as well as an example of a San Diego Zoo Safari Park major event.
  • Starting a New In-Situ Project: The White Bellied Heron in Bhutan. This webinar detailed the process involved in starting an in-situ project from scratch. We learned about the preparation considerations, the trials, the triumphs, and the future for this in-situ project.

Upcoming August Webinars
Continuing our in-situ series, our first webinar this month will discuss another project involving the Clapper Rail. Our second webinar will be on recycling: Recycling and Green Practices at the Safari Park. Finally we’ll have the 4th in our ADA series: Exhibit Accessibility Guidelines.

For more information about webinars, or to be added to our webinar notification list, please contact: Debbie DiBacco at DDiBacco@Cypherworx.com.

Academy News

The Santa Ana Zoo Uses the Collaborative Learning Environment!  

The Santa Ana Zoo is upgrading to a privately branded site for their employees’ professional training and development. Nicely done!

Zoo & Conservation News Highlights

Scan through all of the Zoo & Conservation News compiled by the San Diego Zoo Global Library this week at the library website.

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