Monday, June 12, 2017

The Rise of the Online Higher Education Leader - ADAM STONE , Converge

Not so long ago “online” meant “sidelines” in higher education. Professionals in the field often were treated as second-string players on a college's administrative team. Things are changing. Online professionals in higher ed today increasingly say they have a seat at the table. They are equal partners in developing institutional strategy, and that new clout is giving them the freedom and the flexibility to experiment with new ideas. It's “an exciting time to be a professional in our field,” said Khusro Kidwai, assistant dean of distance learning at Northwestern University School of Professional Studies. Ray Schroeder saw this reflected in a title change two years ago. After nearly two decades with the University of Illinois, Springfield, he got new business cards that read "associate vice chancellor for online learning." It was a reflection not just of his own seniority, but of the evolving place of online learning. “The role within the university has changed,” he said. “Online used to be held at arm's length: It was for extension, it was for continuing education. Now it has moved into the mainstream.” In 2001, Debbie Cavalier helped launch Berklee Online, the distance learning arm of the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Today the online program touches 9,000 students a year, more than double the 4,000 annual enrollment of the traditional campus.

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