- What does one have to do to comply with the Requirements?
To comply with the requirements, an IRM must:
- Attend a minimum number of hours of qualified training/education each fiscal year. These hours are referred to as continuing professional education (CPE) credits or CPE units.
- Complete a one-time set of required topics within the first two years of being named IRM.
- Report completion of qualified training to DIR by August 31st of each fiscal year.
- To whom do the Requirements apply?
The IRM Continuing Education Requirements apply to the designated IRM for each state agency and university in Texas.
- When do the guidelines take effect? (CPE Effective Date)
The requirements take effect as soon as a person is officially designated as the IRM for an agency. This date is referred to as the CPE Effective Date.
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- Do all IRMs have exactly the same obligations?
No. The requirements allow for the fact that the roles of IRMs vary significantly depending on the size and mission of their organizations. IRMs are classified into 5 levels, based on their agency’s biennial IR budget. Each IRM must complete the requirements stated for his/her level.
- Does training / education counted for credit have to be supplied by or approved in advance by DIR?
No. IRMs select their own classes, topics, timeframes, and sources, as long as the training meets the requirements and can be mapped to one or more of the core competencies.
- What are core competencies?
The requirements are based on the premise that IRMs should strive for proficiency in key IR competency areas that will enable them to build expertise in the use and management of information resources. These areas are identified as a comprehensive list of core competencies for IRMs. (See IRM Core Competency Areas and Sample Topics).
The core competency areas are:
1.0 Strategic Planning and Policy Issues
2.0 Management and Leadership Competencies
3.0 IT Performance Assessment
4.0 Project/Program Management
5.0 Capital Planning, Investment Assessment, and IT Acquisition
6.0 IT Topics & Trends
- What types of events are eligible for credit?
The following events are eligible for CPE credit:
- Classroom training
- Educational conferences
- Interactive distance learning programs, including online programs
- Educational presentations (briefings)
- What are the criteria to decide if an event qualifies?
To qualify for credit, an event must meet all of the following:
- Support one or more of the competencies identified in the requirements
- Meet generally accepted standards as an educational event
- Provide some type of attendee interaction (exercises, discussion,
- group work, or question & answer)
- Provide some proof of attendance (sign in sheet, signed evaluation,
- attendance roll, etc.)
Additionally, the IRM must attend the entire module, session, or event as is appropriate to meet the learning objectives.
- Conferences may have multiple tracks and last several days. Do I really have to attend the whole thing to earn any credit?
No. When an event is broken up into discrete, stand-alone modules or sessions, such as a conference, you may count credit for any modules/sessions completed.
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- What is meant by "generally accepted standards as an educational event"?
These criteria are based on international standards for continuing education. The event:
- Is planned in response to an identified educational need
- Has legitimate educational objectives
- Is designed/conducted by qualified personnel
- Has content/delivery methods that support the intended learning outcomes
- Is evaluated by participants in some manner
- Lasts at least 50 minutes (However, use caution on very short programs as they are sometimes not well-defined and may not have the best educational content)
- What are required topics?
There is a critical business need for Texas IRMs to be knowledgeable about certain specific topics. These are designated as required topics. The competency area/topics included are:
- Management and Leadership Competencies /specifically Communication and Training Issues
- Strategic Planning
- IT Performance Assessment / specifically Business Value of IT
- Project Management / specifically Quality Assurance
- IT Acquisition / specifically Contract Negotiation and Contract Management
The number of required hours for each topic varies according to the IRM Level. (See One-Time Required Topics) These areas were identified on the basis of feedback from agencies and universities during development of the requirements, and some are legislatively mandated.
The required topics are a one-time obligation; IRMs do not need repeat this every fiscal year.
IRMs still have complete freedom to choose educational events that best fit their own needs within the scope of these topics. An IRM with experience/education already obtained in a required topic can focus on advanced or specialty areas within the topic.
- How long do I have to complete the required topics?
Two years—at least. CPE hours for required topics must be completed within two years of the individual’s designation as IRM. Plus, as a transitional strategy, any appropriate education/training received in the year prior to the CPE Effective Date can count toward required topics.
Example: An IRM is appointed 9/01/11 (CPE Effective Date). That IRM may use education received as early as 9/01/10 toward required topics and must complete all required topics by 8/31/13.
- Are the required topics added to the fiscal year training to increase the overall obligation?
No. The required topics are not hours of training in addition to the minimum yearly CPE hours; rather, part of the yearly training hours can be used to satisfy the required topics.
Example: A Level 5 IRM must receive 30 hours each fiscal year. Within the first two years, at least 24 hours of the 60 submitted should be toward required topics.
- If I completed some required topics in the year before I was designated the IRM, do the hours reduce the fiscal year CPEs?
If the education occurred within the current fiscal year, it can count toward both the required topics and fiscal hours. If it was outside the current fiscal year, it merely allows you to “check off” some of the required topics. Completing some of the required topics early frees up more of the yearly training hours to be used on topics of your choice (i.e., electives).
Example: An IRM designated 10/20/11 took a Strategic Planning class.Where does it count? If the class date was 9/20/11, it can count for both fiscal and required hours. If the class date was 7/15/11, it may be used to check off Strategic Planning requirements, but would not be eligible toward current fiscal hours.
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- What are electives?
Any courses/events that do not contribute toward the required topics are considered elective. IRMs may select elective topics that support the IRM core competencies to apply to the minimum CPE credit they must earn each fiscal year. Within the broad scope of these competency areas, IRMs should select events/courses that best fit their own training needs. Once the one-time required topics are completed, all of the IRM’s fiscal hours are from elective topics.
- How do I let DIR know I took a course?
After completing a course, an IRM will report via the Report CPE Hours online tool in the Tools section.
- What is the best way to record/organize my records?
A common practice is to maintain a Professional Development folder for each fiscal year. Retain some proof of attendance there, but more importantly, enough information to help you remember the program date, length, and content if you do not record the hours immediately.
This CPE Mapping Form can be printed or saved as a document and offers an easy way to organize and record your information while it is fresh in your mind. This is helpful if you tend to wait until later in the year to enter the information online or if you hand off the information to an assistant to enter.
Note: if you are prompted for credentials when opening the form, you may have to hit cancel twice and the form will then open with the option for editing the form.
- Conferences may have multiple tracks and last several days. Do I need to map EACH session?
No, when reporting a complex conference, consider the event as a whole. Determine how many total hours (CPEs) apply, and then divide those among the major competency areas covered.
- Who determines if a conference, course, or event meets the obligation toward the required topics and annual training hours?
The requirements provide you with a flexible framework within which to make those decisions. They were developed to support and assist IRMs as they pursue professional development opportunities. Within the parameters identified in the requirements, you can interpret the "appropriateness" of educational events for your own educational needs, and you can decide what core competencies they support. DIR will review the reported education during the year. In the case of a seemingly obvious mismatch, DIR will contact you to discuss how well the event actually fit the intent of the program.
- Does DIR file a report to the Legislature on this program?
There is no provision in the mandate requiring a report to the Legislature. The annual summary report, as well as detailed information, is available upon request. Summary information is published in the Biennial Performance Report.
- The Information Resources Management Act refers to an exemption from Initial Education Requirements. What is this?
The IRM Continuing Education Requirements state that as initial education, …information resources managers for state agencies should, as a minimum, possess a four-year college or university degree from a fully accredited institution, preferably with major coursework in information systems, computer science, data processing, business, or a related field. IRMs appointed before September 1, 1992, are exempt from this initial education requirement.
- How/why were the Requirements developed?
The Legislature directed DIR to implement mandatory continuing education requirements for IRMs. The requirements were developed using information and feedback from multiple sources, including:
- Survey of IRMs regarding educational needs
- IRM focus group meetings to discuss educational needs and program objectives
- Interviews with individual IRMs who didn’t participate in the focus groups to discuss specific areas, such as the applicability of the program to very small agencies
- Interviews with analysts, managers, and Quality Assurance Team staff within DIR regarding training needs
- Research into similar programs in other states and at the federal level
- Exploration of requirements for other professional continuing education
- Establishment of an IRM Education Advisory Committee, consisting of agency and university IRMs, whose members participated in the development of these requirements
The purpose of the IRM Continuing Education Requirements is to assist IRMs in building the skill sets and meeting the responsibilities of a Texas IRM. Participating in continuing education activities enhances the ability of IRMs to meet the challenges of rapidly changing technology and to effectively utilize information resources within their agencies.
- Where can I get a copy of the IRM Continuing Education Requirements?
You can view the complete IRM Continuing Education Requirements on our website.
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