Project Offers Continuing Education Credit to Teachers

March 28, 2024

By Beth Penney, Friends of the Dickens Project Board Member 

NAI InstructorFor the first time in a number of years, the Dickens Universe will offer 2.5 units of continuing education credit this summer through the UCSC Extension to high school teachers and community college instructors. This addition to the summer conference was made at the request of a number of high school teachers who regularly attend the Universe. “Teachers have always been at the heart of the Dickens Universe, and they were instrumental in the founding of the Friends of the Dickens Project and that organization’s Board,” said Assistant Director Courtney Mahaney. “It has become clear that there is again a desire for continuing education credit among regular attendees, and we hope its availability will entice more teachers to join us at the Universe. We want to do everything we can to support their essential work.”

Continuing education credit, also known as professional development credit, is necessary and required at California high schools and community colleges for purposes of training, professional growth, and salary advancement. Continuing education units (CEUs) often take the form of seminars, online courses, or training offered by the schools, or by their districts. For high schools, such programs often cover standards, assessment, curriculum, instruction, special ed, and other topics geared toward fulfilling state requirements. Options for California community college CEUs are often similar, these days also focusing on guided pathways, online course standards, and meeting the conditions of State Assembly Bills 705 and 1705, which have to do with equitable placement in college English courses and success and completion in those courses.

The Dickens Universe offers a singular opportunity for teachers to interact and network with other teachers, while at the same time visiting the beautiful UCSC campus, listening to lectures and talks by scholars from leading universities, and discussing current methods of approaching the study of Victorian literature. This year’s text, Great Expectations, has historically been a popular choice for high school classrooms, and the exchange of academic ideas on several levels will enhance any community college instructor’s class prep for lit courses. Those wishing to earn the 2.5 units must attend each of the plenary lectures and talks, participate in the faculty-led contextual discussions, and attend the morning graduate student workshops for a total of 24 hours of activities over the course of the week. 

In the past, the Universe offered a regular teacher’s workshop to enhance the value of the units, and, Mahaney says, “We are ready to offer a high school teacher/community college workshop again. Ideally, we would like a minimum of eight participants, so please tell your middle school, high school, and community college teachers about this opportunity.”

The cost of earning these units just $250 in addition to regular registration fees. Teachers are encouraged to seek funding for the conference via scholarships, grants, or awards from their schools or local education foundations. For more information, visit