Leadership in a Decentralized Organization: Moving DL Forward Together

Date & Time

Aug 4th at 2:45 PM until 3:30 PM


Online Education Administration 


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The strategic leadership of distance learning at an institution is greatly affected by the organizational structure in which distance learning is managed. Nowhere is this more true than in large institutions where the management of distance learning is likely to be either fully or partially decentralized. Communication, redundancy of services and support, data collection and reporting, establishing common goals and recognizing the different characteristics of colleges, departments and programs within the institution contribute to the challenges that must be addressed for leadership to be effective. Models for organizational structures for distance learning exist, including what is known as ‘functional’, ‘divisional/departmental’, ‘outsourced’ or ‘consortial’ and these models will be explored in the session along with an opportunity to identify which of these – or combination of these – exist at a participant’s institution. Participants will then consider whether their current model is effective with regard to setting goals, making decisions, preparing and supporting faculty, maintaining high quality in distance learning courses, providing student services and support, etc. We will consider the requirements of accrediting and certifying agencies, SARA participation, and other outside influences on strategic leadership for distance learning with in the organizational structure and the challenges identified. In addition, we will look at the debate over the centralized versus decentralized models for distance learning with a summary of the issues raised in that debate. Finally, we will look at the stakeholders affected by the organizational structure and consider what voices must be heard in the strategic planning process for effective leadership in a decentralized organizational structure. Throughout this exploratory session, we will share information, experiences, successes and missteps from which we can all learn. We will establish connections and processes to continue the sharing in a network that can support current and future strategic leaders of distance learning in the participant’s institution. VIEW THIS SESSION [Mediasite player]