The Genesis 3 Design Group has revamped its educational program.

“We are enthusiastic about the fact that there is new energy, new direction, and that the people within Genesis are empowered to fundamentally change and improve the direction that our educational system was going,” said Genesis 3 co-founder Skip Phillips.

In January, co-founder David Tisherman left the group when he and the other two founders — Phillips and Brian Van Bower — were unable to bridge philosophical differences.

At the time, Phillips and Van Bower said they envisioned the group becoming more inclusive, collaborating with other industry organizations and incorporating input from its members, sponsors and instructors.

In that vein, Phillips and Van Bower have given a new title to longtime Genesis 3 instructor, David Peterson.

Peterson is now the education council chairman and is charged with spearheading curriculum development.

In addition, several longtime members also have been brought on to form an advisory group.

The idea behind the expanded program was for Genesis 3’s curriculum to more closely match that found in colleges and universities, officials said. Courses will now fall under four tracks: design, engineering, construction and business. Similar to a traditional university, they are offered in a progressive format with 100, 200, 300 and 400-level designations. All are accredited by the International Association of Continuing Education & Training.

The introduction of business courses is a new slant for the group, which in the past has focused on design and construction. But Peterson sees this as an important step.

“Design, engineering and construction — all that’s good. But I have probably lost more money in bad business decisions than I could make up in good design over the next two years,” said Peterson, who is also president of San Diego-based Watershape Consulting.

Under the new structure, to become a certified member of the organization’s Society of Watershape Designers, students must take a number of prerequisites and electives. If he or she chooses, a potential member can focus all their electives on one of the four subject areas.

In the name of accessibility, the group also will be presenting programs in conjunction with other industry events, rather than holding free-standing schools. Currently, classes are scheduled to run in conjunction with the International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo, the Southwest Pool & Spa Show , Orlando Pool & Spa Show and World Aquatic Health Conference , as well as conferences held by the National Plasterers Council , Carecraft and the American Society of Landscape Architects .

In the future, the group may still hold independent events, which traditionally involved upscale lodging and dining and were some of the costlier programs found in the industry. But for now, that is not the primary focus.

“We’re trying to work in conjunction with other programs because ... [this way] all people are paying for is tuition,” Phillips said. “If they choose to have great dinners, they can; if they choose not to, they don’t. This provides them economic latitude.”

Phillips said the program also will place less emphasis on hand drawing and increase training in the more modern computer-generated drawing media that continue to grow in popularity. Several new instructors have been chosen to debut the new effort. These include Michael P. Johnson, a professor at Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture at Taliesin West , Scottsdale, Ariz., and Feras Irikat, design director for high-end tile makers Mandala and Oceanside Glass Tile in Carlsbad, Calif. These new teachers are re-envisioning some of the group’s staple classes, Phillips said.