The Institute for Emerging Leadership in Online Learning

The Institute for Emerging Leadership in Online Learning (IELOL) is a unique blended-learning leadership development program sponsored by Penn State and the Online Learning Consortium. It is designed to serve the leadership development needs of professionals in the rapidly expanding field of online learning.

  • Interact with national- and international-level leaders in the field of higher and online education
  • Experience leadership-development thinking in order to respond to online learning opportunities
  • Participate in an immersive, team-building case study
  • Formulate a strategy for defining of a vision for the future of online learning within your institution
  • Receive an annual individual membership in Online Learning Consortium
  • Participate in a network of professionals and engagement with a growing IELOL alum community

The 2015 program is currently closed. Registration for the 2016 program will open in February of 2016. 

IELOL is a four-step leadership development program. The program begins with a three-week IELOL online experience designed to identify and focus attention on key leadership challenges at the participants’ organizations. The second step is an on-site immersive experience at Penn State that enables the IELOL participant to develop specific leadership skills, styles, networks, and strategies for the emerging leader. A three-week online follow-up program provides senior-level mentoring and consulting for the participants as they apply the newly-acquired skills and concepts in their local settings. The program culminates with a pre-conference workshop at the annual conference in Orlando.

IELOL is a cohort-based program requiring a variety of individual, group, and team project work including a team-based case-study. It is expected that participants fully participate in all aspects of the program in order to build community and maximize the potential of IELOL for all participants.

The IELOL community consists of over 226 alums who continue to network and use the skills they developed in the institute. We have received many enthusiastic testimonials, and some excellent feedback that continues to help shape the program.


  • Develop an understanding of the role of online learning in a rapidly changing higher education context
  • Conceptualize a leadership perspective to address institutional challenges in higher education
  • Recognize and seize institutional opportunities for leadership in online education
  • Establish a network of international colleagues involved in a variety of online education initiatives
  • Identify the leading forces impacting higher education and online learning globally

IELOL Primer (Online): July 13–July 31, 2015
On-site: August 10–13, 2015, State College, Pennsylvania
Project (Online): and September 12–October 2, 2015
OLC Pre-conference Workshop: Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Who Should Attend

This IELOL experience is designed for:

  • Persons positioned for leadership contributions in their institutions
  • Persons with such occupational titles as manager, associate director, assistant director
  • Personnel with responsibilities for online education initiatives

Applications, with supporting nominations, will be reviewed and accepted on a rolling-enrollment, first-come, first-served basis. Preference will be given to candidates with the following qualifications:

  • Three to five years of experience in higher education
  • Desire to further develop their leadership capability in online education
  • Ability to apply the leadership skills and competencies to an institutional setting
  • Willingness to contribute to high-production project teams during the institute

This is a limited-enrollment program. Enrollments for IELOL are limited to 40 participants.

Program Deadlines

  • February 2: IELOL 2015 open for applications
  • April 19: IELOL 2015 application submission deadline
  • June 29: Registration deadline
  • July 22: Hotel reservations due
  • IELOL Primer (Online): July 13–July 31, 2015
  • On-site: August 10–13, 2015, State College, Pennsylvania
  • Project (Online): and September 12–October 2, 2015
  • OLC Pre-conference Workshop: Tuesday, October 13, 2015

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To learn more, register and to apply, visit the IELOL website.<


The IELOL program content was “spot-on” regarding leadership challenges common to universities, and the IELOL facilitators were knowledgeable, engaging, and helpful throughout the program. Best of all, now I am part of an IELOL alum group that is a tremendous resource for me going forward!

Katie Jacobson Point Loma College IELOL 2012