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Structures and Leadership in Flux ? How Universities are Responding to the Implications and Opportunities of Online Distance Learning

Among the many challenges that universities now face is how to mobilize for online education. Universities are experimenting with varied models and approaches. How this settles within ? or otherwise disrupts ? the conventional academic organizational structure will be important and controversial in the years ahead, with implications far beyond e-learning itself. Questions on how best to lead new online initiatives evoke many longstanding issues of authority within the university: among them, strategy and mission, centralization versus decentralization, faculty governance, qualities of effective leaders, administrative professionalization, and processes for creating and sustaining new initiatives. This session will examine this dynamic facet of universities both from macro and micro perspectives ? how universities are evolving structurally and how leaders are emerging to direct new online ventures. While effective distance learning must be organized to promote flexibility and innovation, organization itself is not enough. Successful operations must have leaders with both an entrepreneurial mindset and respect for the traditions of the academy. In this session, you will hear about developing institutional strategies and leadership styles that cultivate innovation, drive pedagogical effectiveness, enhance the strengths and sustainability of the institution, and address the needs of the students served by our institutions.
Nancy Coleman, Boston University
Jay Halfond, Boston University
Jay Halfond was dean of Boston University’s Metropolitan College over the past dozen years, and is transitioning to a full-time faculty role. He currently serves as the Wiley Deltak Senior Faculty Fellow and as the UPCEA Innovation Fellow.

Nancy Coleman has extensive corporate and academic leadership experience and has served as BU’s Director of Distance Education for almost six years. Jay and Nancy oversaw the growth of distance learning to sixteen fully online degree programs, across five colleges, with students from all states in the US and over thirty countries. These students now represent about eight percent of BU’s total student population.