Online Higher Education Executives: A Comparative Analysis of Job Vacancy Postings and Competencies Identified in the Literature

Concurrent Session 3

Brief Abstract

This presentation will include information from a comparative analysis of the job requirements outlined in vacancy postings for this position and a review of the skills outlined as necessary in the literature on higher education leadership. A comparison of needed skills and desired skills outlined in job postings allowed the researchers to identify key gaps of leadership skills missing from many job postings.

Presenters

David is the Director of the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) Academic Innovations & eLearning (AI&e). Reporting to a Senior Vice Provost, he leads UAA’s efforts to innovate teaching through the use of instructional technology. In this role, he oversees the instructional design, eLearning, professional development. online student and ePortfolio Services. David has expanded online student service offerings, established new and innovative professional development pathways, established an ePortfolio initiative, and redesigned the unit’s instructional design and development processes. David currently serves as Co-Executive Editor of The AAEEBL ePortfolio Review and the Public Four-Year Institution Representative to the WCET Steering Committee. He has multiple publications on the use of technology in education and has presented at regional, international, and online conferences on topics including instructional design, wearable technologies, online/distance education administration, virtual/augmented reality, and leadership and management.

Additional Authors

Melanie Shaw has spent the past decade teaching and serving as an administrator in online higher education settings. She is a professor in the School of Education at Northcentral University, where she works with students in the dissertation phase of their program. She also serves as an adjunct faculty at several institutions and facilitates webinars for the Online Learning Consortium. In addition to her teaching roles, she trains faculty to develop and deliver courses online, conducts research on topics related to nontraditional education, and is involved in strategic leadership relative to the vision for online education. Melanie’s primary research interests include online teaching and learning, organizational leadership, and distance learning instructional practices. She is the author of several books, articles, and chapters including: An Evaluation of Student Outcomes by Course Duration in Online Higher Education; Establishing an Online Professional Development Community to Promote Faculty Engagement and Excellence; Distance Learning Courses: A Survey of Activities and Assignments; and Online Course Activities: A Survey of Assignment and Assessment Types. She is the winner of the Wagner Award for Outstanding Instructional Support and the Online Learning Consortium’s Effective Practice Award. Melanie received a Ph.D. in Education with a specialization in Curriculum and Teaching from Northcentral University, a master’s degree in Education Administration from Grand Canyon University, and a second master’s degree in School Counseling for the University of West Alabama. She received her bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies and Music from Excelsior College. She holds teaching certificates in online teaching, elementary education, and guidance counseling. She is preparing for a move to New York City with her husband Paul, who is a jazz musician. Melanie has two adult children who live in Atlanta.

Extended Abstract

Higher education leaders must have knowledge in diverse areas including accreditation, budgeting, fundraising, instruction, human resource management, governance, and assessment. Over the past two decades, online leadership proficiencies have emerged as a new key knowledge area in higher education. To close this knowledge gap, many institutions have developed a role for an Online Learning Executive. This study included a comparative analysis of the job requirements outlined in vacancy postings for this position and a review of the skills outlined as necessary in the literature on higher education leadership. A comparison of needed skills and desired skills outlined in job postings allowed the researchers to identify key gaps of leadership skills missing from many job postings. Data were gathered from 41 job postings collected over a nine-month period in 2017 and an analysis of the literature of higher education leadership skills, relative to online executives. The comparison resulted in an identification of overlooked leadership competencies including advocacy, marketing, growth promotion, promoting student success, engagement, instructional design skills, and resource allocation knowledge. Future researchers should interview leaders in these online positions to evaluate which of these skills are actually required in the daily operation of the institution’s online program.