COCS 2020 Courses

This page on College courses is in progress, check back for updates. Last update September 1, 2020.

Who may attend?

Prerequisite: Basic Commissioner Training. You may access this training online at

Anyone from any council is welcome to this college put on by Great Trail.

What to Expect: Our COVID-19 Precautions

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Guest Faculty and Keynote Speaker

You have three opportunities to formally interact with our guest, Rick Hillenbrand, the National Commissioner Service Team Technology Chair as well as time to meet him informally. The three opportunities are

His Keynote Address

An Open Forum with Rick Hillenbrand

A Continuing Education course (under consideration)

Degree Requirements and Reciprocity Guide.pdf

Reciprocity Statement

You may register for one of the following four college tracks: Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate I and II, and Continuing Education. The document below shows the prerequisites and requirements for each degree. and includes information on earning the Doctor of Commissioner Science Knot award. This is a national standard to which we adhere.

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Statement of Course Work Reciprocity:

The College of Commissioner Science accepts a Commissioner's course work from any Boy Scouts of America College of Commissioner Science provided that an official transcript is made available.

The College of Commissioner Science will credit courses from another Council to be applied towards a College of Commissioner Science Degree if prior approval has been obtained from the current Dean of the College of Commissioner Science.

Classes taken at a University of Scouting that are not listed in the B.S.A. National Curriculum ( will not be accepted for credit.

The college will also honor Commissioner courses taken at the Philmont Training Center. (Please submit a transcript to the College of Commissioner Science Registrar.)

Degree Recognition:

The College of Commissioner Science will continue to recognize degrees earned from other Boy Scouts of America College of Commissioner Science and Philmont Training Center College of Commissioner Science degrees provided that an official transcript is made available.

Award Recognition:

The College of Commissioner Science will honor all Commissioner Arrowhead, Commissioner Key, Distinguished Commissioner, and the Commissioner Award of Excellence in Unit Service, and the Doctor of Commissioner Science Awards.

Programs, Courses, Descriptions, Learning Objectives and Faculty

Choose a program below to review. Clicking on the program title or its text opens a wealth of information.

The COCS Bachelor Program

Dean Mark Messerly, Great Trail Council (

The Bachelor Program consists of courses numbered between 100 and 299, that will augment your commissioner basic training. Basic training should be completed before beginning the bachelor program. The courses cover some of the same topics but they are all covered more in depth and with more student interaction. All courses are newly revised in 2018.

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  1. Current registration as a Commissioner

  2. Current BSA Youth Protection Training Certificate

  3. Completion of “Commissioner Basic Training.” You may access this training online at

Course Requirements: Completion of seven courses of instruction, at least five of the courses at the Bachelor's program level.

Courses Offered:

BCS-107 Journey to Excellence

Faculty: Fritz Combs

Learn about the elements of the Unit Journey to Excellence and what it takes to ensure success in every unit.

Course objectives:

  1. Explain the value of the unit’s use of Journey to Excellence.

  2. Relate the use of JTE to help the unit recognize the benefit of building their program around the Journey to Excellence criteria.

  3. Identify resources to help improve Journey to Excellence performance in the unit.

BCS-150 Roundtables in Commissioner Service

Faculty: James Webb

This course will provide information on the purpose of roundtables to help units succeed by providing useful program ideas, information on policy, and current information on council and district events and training opportunities.

Course objectives:

  1. Describe how the positions of roundtable commissioners fit into the BSA commissioner service structure.

  2. Define the purpose of roundtable and its importance in supporting district and council operations.

  3. List the functions of the roundtable in providing service and supplemental training to unit leaders.

BCS-109 The Essential Element (A Servant's Heart)

Faculty: Ken Focazio

This course will discuss servant leadership and the role it plays in commissioner service.

Course objectives:

  1. Define the characteristics of servant leadership.

  2. Understand a servant’s heart.

  3. Apply this concept in commissioner service.

BCS-153 Roundtables and Commissioner Tools

Faculty: Barry Smith

This course will educate participants on the tools available in Commissioner Tools for the roundtable team to manage unit service effectively.

Course objectives:

  1. Understand the information available within Commissioner Tools.

  2. Understand the reports available from Commissioner Tools.

  3. Understand how to identify information to improve unit service.

BCS-117 Commissioner & Unit Key 3

Faculty: Bruce Boyle

This course examines the roles of the Unit Key 3 and how a commissioner works and coaches each.

Course objectives:

  1. Identify the roles of the unit key 3 leadership.

  2. Create a working bond between the key 3 and commissioner.

  3. Translate unit key 3 equals a stronger unit.

BCS-116 Collaborative Assessments

Faculty: Ed Martin

This course examines and discusses the need for collaboration in assessing unit’s strengths and needs, build a Unit Service Plan and record in Commissioner Tools.

Course objectives:

  1. Understand the importance of the Collaborative Assessment.

  2. Develop and Utilize a Unit Service Plan.

  3. Assess and record results of the Unit ServicePlan in Commissioner Tools.

The COCS Master Program

Dean Stephanie Ricketts, Lake Erie Council (

Dean Bill Lovell, Great Trail Council (

The Master Program offers more advanced courses, numbered from 300 to 499. These courses will be most beneficial to an experienced or an administrative commissioner. Again many of the topics are familiar but are explained in more detail with more student interaction. All courses are newly revised in 2018.

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  1. Current registration as a Commissioner

  2. Current BSA Youth Protection Training Certificate

  3. Earned Arrowhead Honor.

  4. Completion of Bachelor's Degree or have been awarded the Commissioner's Key

Course Requirements: Completion of seven (7) additional courses of instruction (total of 14), at least seven of the courses at the Master's level.

Courses Offered

MCS-302 On Time Charter Renewal

Faculty: Dave Harman

This session explores leadership techniques to prepare, guide, and support units in completing accurate charter renewal applications on time.

Course objectives:

  1. Understand the process of setting expectations and milestones for charter renewal.

  2. Identify district activities and best practices to support units.

  3. Understand the consequences of failure.

MCS-304 Commissioner Service for Units at Risk

Faculty: Carol Doe

This course will show how to recognize the signs of a unit in crises and develop the skills to resolve the issues. It will also cover what information to input to commissioner tools. Timely entering of findings and solutions will be emphasized.

Course objectives:

  1. List signs of a unit in trouble.

  2. Identify symptoms of and describe possible causes of a unit in trouble.

  3. Describe the process of determining the problem.

  4. Describe approaches to solve the problem.

  5. Indicate in commissioner tools the problems of the unit, what is needed to correct them, and to indicate clearly to the ADC/DC the unit’s health.

MCS-314 The Commissioner and the Professional

Faculty: Bill Lovell

Commissioners explore the commonalities of their roles and the roles of the professionals in order to foster positive and productive relationships.

Course objectives:

  1. Understand the common origins of the commissioner and professionals, and their current roles.

  2. Discuss elements of a positive and productive relationship.

  3. Discover opportunities to work together to support unit success including “Tricks of the Trade.”

  4. Experience “Volunteer-driven and Professionally guided.”

MCS-322 Advanced Scouting with Disabilities

Faculty: Chris Scott

Description and objectives on the way.

MCS-401 Safety in 2020

Faculty: Stephanie Ricketts

Locally produced course.

Description and objectives on the way.

MCS-350 Unit and Roundtable Commissioners Working Together

Faculty: John Hogan

This course will provide an opportunity to see how all the members of the commissioner corps in a district help units identify and resolve their problems.

Course objectives:

  1. Understand how commissioners work together by using the 5 tools of commissioner service.

  2. Summarize the role unit commissioners play at roundtables.

  3. Recognize the unique roll roundtable has in identifying unit problems.

The Doctorate Program

Dean David Rice, Great Trail Council (

The Doctorate Program consists of the courses, numbered from 500 to 699, that are required to write an approved thesis or complete an approved project. In addition, there are some advanced courses available for the very experienced commissioner. All courses are newly revised in 2018.

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  1. Current registration as a Commissioner

  2. Current BSA Youth Protection Training Certificate

  3. Completion of Master’s Degree

  4. Have been awarded the Commissioner’s Key

Course Requirements: Completion of 10 additional courses of instruction (total of 24) at least five of the courses at the Doctorate or Continuing Education program level. Courses may not have previously been counted toward other college degrees.

Thesis or Project: It is recommended that the topic of a project or thesis be directly related to unit service. There may be specific circumstances under which a topic related to another area of Scouting would be appropriate. Local councils have the authority to approve topics related to another area of Scouting when selecting one directly related to unit service isn't appropriate or practical. The council commissioner or designee may authorize an alternate topic. This can be on any topic related to Commissioner Service.

  1. The topic must be pre-approved by the college of commissioner science committee.

  2. Complete the thesis/project using the approved format as determined by the college.

  3. The topic and final paper must be approved by the doctoral review committee.

  4. All segments (proposal, proposal acceptance, thesis/project completion, thesis acceptance ) of the degree must be approved by the college of commissioner science

Commissioner Performance: Serve for at least one year on the college of commissioner science staff (instructor or support staff), or work with training support for commissioners for at least one year.

Courses Offered

DCS-501 Selecting Your Project or Thesis Topic

Faculty: David Rice

This session assists doctoral candidates in selecting their project or thesis concept.

Course objectives:

  1. Identify what constitutes a good topic or focus area.

  2. Distinguish between a project and thesis.

  3. Describe DCS Degree and Knot requirements

DCS-502 Limiting the Scope of the Topic

Faculty: David Rice

Doctoral candidates explore various procedures to reduce their topic to a workable size. A suggested approval process will also be shared.

Course objectives:

  1. Select a specific project / thesis topic.

  2. Complete S.M.A.R.T. analysis for a selected topic

DCS-503 Developing Your Project or Thesis

Faculty: David Rice

This session covers the project or thesis outline and a variety of suggestions for writing and revising the report.

Course objectives:

  1. Identify the main parts of a project report / thesis.

  2. Develop a first draft outline.

  3. Identify methods of gathering information.

  4. Give examples of common writing errors to be avoided when writing the project report or thesis

DCS-504 Project Thesis Open Workshop Forum

Faculty: David Rice

This Q and A open forum provides doctoral candidates an opportunity to review completed projects and theses instilling confidence that this task is attainable.

Course objectives:

  1. Describe challenges / solutions faced by Doctors of Commissioner Science.

  2. Evaluate other possible topics for project or thesis.

  3. Discover possible solutions to concerns during Q and A period

Presentations of Doctoral Thesis

Those candidates ready will present their thesis in this session.

The COCS Continuing Education Program

Dean Steven Myers, Great Trail Council (

The Continuing Education curriculum was created to encourage those with a doctorate to continue to learn new topics, and for those who hold a master degree but do not aspire to complete their doctorate. Courses are numbered from 700 to 899. Courses from the bachelors, Masters and Doctorate level may be utilized.

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Courses Offered

DCS-516 Succeeding with the Unit Service Plan

Doctoral level course.

Faculty: Lee Peters

The Unit Service Plan is the roadmap to unit success. With appropriate guidance the commissioner staff can provide significant unit assistance. The district administrative commissioners will need comprehensive data to set the course for unit success across the district.

Course objectives:

  1. Understand the Unit Service Plan from the district point of view.

  2. Discover the many sources of detailed unit performance information.

  3. Understand the relationship of the district committee and unit success.

  4. Discover methods to confirm unit performance over time.

CED-701 Combating Commissioners Stress/Burnout

We’ve all had our moments when we ask ourselves, “Why are we involved in Scouting?” This session is designed to examine indicators of stress, how stress affects those around us, and how we might overcome these negative manifestations.

Course objectives:

  1. Define commissioner stress/burnout.

  2. Explore symptoms of stress.

  3. Explain how the effects of stress can affect those around you.

  4. Construct a list of things that commissioners can do to prevent or overcome possible burnout.

  5. Privately complete burnout self-evaluation survey

CED-716 Conflict Resolution for Commissioners

Faculty: Andrew Paisley

Conflict arises from differences. It occurs whenever people disagree over their values, motivations, perceptions, ideas, or desires. Sometimes these differences look trivial, but when a conflict triggers strong feelings, a deep personal need is at the core of the problem, a need to feel safe and secure, a need to feel respected and valued.

Course objectives:

  1. Analyze the source and cause of conflict.

  2. Identify tools to help mediate conflict.

  3. Learn to apply the tools to specific situations.

CED-8xx Conducting Unit Contacts and Assessments at a Distance

Locally created course.

Faculty: TBA

Since March 2020 commissioners have been limited in their ability to serve their unit. Many of us in working from home during the pandemic of 2020 have learned video conferencing to keep up with our school and jobs. This course will cover how to make use of video conferencing and other technology to make contacts and assessments more possible and possibly more convenient as well.

DCS-506 Coaching for Administrative Commissioners

Doctoral level course.

Faculty: Lee Peters

Coaching and mentoring are complimentary efforts focused on supporting the highest level of service for administrative commissioners. This class will focus on coaching skills for administrative commissioners.

Course objectives:

  1. Understand the difference in coaching and mentoring.

  2. Discuss the fundamental elements of coaching admin commissioners.

  3. Examine coaching's relationship to building strong relationships.

CED-8xx Possible Course

Awaiting information about this course.

Proposed Faculty: Rick Hillenbrand

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2020 Flyer version 2.pdf