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Be a Changemaker in Your Students' Lives: Make Social and Emotional Learning a Part of Your Classroom - A Fully Online Program

Enhance your professional development skills in the field of character education/development and earn a Character Education Specialist Certificate. The Division of Professional and Continuing Education, in collaboration with USD's School of Leadership and Education Sciences - Character Development Center, offers a unique online program. Teachers and school leaders will learn to motivate and develop students' habits of good character. Explore existing and emerging best practices that can be integrated into the classroom, school and district.

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Why enroll in a certificate program?

Learner Outcomes

  • Help students develop the habits of good character and good citizenship
  • Create a classroom or school atmosphere of caring, responsibility, and respect
  • Help students develop social skills and strengthen thinking skills
  • Plan, organize, implement and evaluate character education initiatives, curricula offerings, and intervention programs in schools, sports and community intervention programs
  • Become a local "expert" and resource for your school and school district
  • Build a character-based discipline system and use effective classroom management techniques
  • Explore new and specialized topics in the field of Character Education

Who Should Attend

K-12 teachers and administrators interested in learning how to plan and implement character development education in the classroom, school and/or district. This program will provide everything you need to plan, deliver, and assess character education best practices for the learning environment.

Course Format

All four courses are delivered in the Online Fixed-Date format.

Technical Requirements


Edward DeRoche , Ph.D., is the Director of the University of San Diego's Character Development Center.  He is a former elementary and junior high school teacher and principal.  Ed is a national consultant on character education.  He has co-authored four books on the topic of character education in schools and classrooms.  He has written several journal and newspaper articles on the topic.  Ed has been teaching online character education courses for the past 10 years.

Patricia Meacham, M.B.A., works in the USD Character Development Center (CDC).  Her work at the CDC includes implementing her Specialist Certification in Character Education to coordinate character matters summer conferences for students, teachers, and administrators, character matters essay contest for students in the San Diego Unified School District and the Imperial County School District, and instructing undergraduate and graduate students in character education special topics. She is a guest teacher for the Santee School District and holds a single subject teaching credential in mathematics, economics, and business.  She is dedicated to advancing character education for professional development and student social emotional development.

CJ Moloney , M.Ed., has over 30 years experience as a character educator. She received a Specialist Certificate in Character Development and a Masters of Education from the University of San Diego. She is the program coordinator for the USD Character Development Center, where she and program director, Ed DeRoche, host conferences, workshops, an annual essay contest, and teach character education courses. She co-authored a character education curriculum book for middle school students and a guide for middle school teachers, and is committed to promoting character and social emotional learning in schools. As an online educator, CJ has over 10 years experience facilitating discussions with educators across the country and around the world that are committed to educating both the hearts and minds of their students.


Enroll in an individual course; or complete all four courses to earn a professional certificate. See Certificate Benefits and Policy


  Core Courses (8 units) 
Minimum Required:  4  Course(s)
    EDU-X731A   Instructional Strategies in Character Education (prev #: EDU-521CL)
    EDU-X722J   Character Education: Curriculum & Programs (prev #: EDU-522CL)
    EDU-X723J   Character-based Classroom Management: Strategies & Practices (prev #: EDU-523CL)
    EDU-X724J   Evaluation of Character Education Initiatives in Your School and Classroom (prev #: EDU-520CL)
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