Leaders Come Into Their Own: The IELOL Experience and Community


Amanda Major, EdD, CPLP, PMP

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IELOL community led by Michael Torrence

Maximizing the efforts of others who are working toward a goal is no easy feat. There are numerous ways we can influence others. Some of us do so by inspiration, some by example, and others do so by exercising power. Using leadership as a way to influence others necessitates a socially-constructed approach, and often requires a complex set of competencies.

Each individual must find their own leadership path, so to speak, in order to lead as he or she advances in a field or throughout a career. In this respect, each individual must develop their own leadership approach and methods as they progress. To be aware that you actually shape your own leadership journey is to embrace the fact that you play an active part in your own leadership development. Kathleen Ives, in her recent blog post, wrote about conscious leadership, understanding, and envisioning yourself as capable of embracing accountability for your own leadership growth.

You do not have to take this leadership journey alone. Your leadership development should be a collaborative experience if you want to realize the full potential of this experience. The power of sharing connections and developing a network have incredible potential for innovation, creativity, productivity, and fighting against entropy. In the online learning community, you will find an existing network of leaders in the field with whom you can collaborate to navigate the complexity of any leadership journey. This community is the Institute for Emerging Leadership in Online Learning (IELOL).

The IELOL community comprises those who have completed the the intensive, 4-phase IELOL program. They developed important competencies guided by the efforts of the program’s renowned faculty, who are accomplished professionals at the top of their respective vocations. One IELOL alumni attested:

“IELOL was a great opportunity to network with colleagues and learn from top leaders in the online learning community. My experience helped me to further develop my leadership abilities. Through the institute, I was able to strengthen my skills for working with executive leadership and for managing an online learning department.”
Claire Arabie, EdD, Interim Director of the Office of Distance Learning at University of Louisiana at Lafayette

The IELOL faculty, who bring diverse backgrounds and experiences to the program as well as a wealth of knowledge about the field of digital learning, guide participants in developing learning agility competencies so they can readily address institutional challenges. The faculty members teach entrepreneurial leadership so participants can recognize strategic values within the enterprise, and an adaptable mindset so they can successfully respond to change. This program provides you with the opportunity to develop the competencies necessary to advance your career.

Reginald “Reggie” Jackson makes this point:

“Being a part of IELOL changed my career in ways I had not expected, I left the Program with a different perspective on my job and career. A year after I completed IELOL, I changed jobs and ended up in a job that opened possibilities that were exactly what I needed in my career. I am also grateful for being a part of the IELOL network.”
Reginald “Reggie” Jackson, EdD, Senior Learning Engineer, Teaching and Learning Technologies and Medill Integrated Marketing Communications Program, Northwestern University

Another alumnus stressed the importance of the program content while highlighting the uplifting environment created by the IELOL community:

“IELOL gave me the leadership tools and strategies to both improve and further advance my career. But, more importantly, it gave me a community of like-minded colleagues from which I can learn, grow, and collaborate.”
Dave Dannenberg, PhD, Director of Academic Innovations & eLearning, University of Alaska

Whether you are a seasoned leader or aspiring professional, the IELOL program facilitates meaningful connections with a renowned faculty of extraordinary leaders as well as a network of alumni in the evolving field of digital or online learning. This collaborative experience extends beyond the 4-phased approach of the program, and has the potential to provide a transformative leadership development experience for its participants, as one participant stated:

“Looking back, it is almost comical that I thought it would just be nice to learn about peer institutions and best practices in online learning by applying for IELOL. I say comical, because I certainly did learn about other institutions and best practices, but [the program] is also so much more than that! In effect, it truly transformed how I am thinking about online education at my institution and where I want to go with my career in it. I have learned a lot, but more importantly, have dreamed up a lot with the help of my cohorts and the larger IELOL community, that is hyper-inclusive by nature. This community now feels like ‘home,’ and I owe it to this unique program.”
Bettyjo H. Bouchey, MBA, EdD, Associate Dean & Associate Professor, College of Professional Studies and Advancement, National Louis University

The biggest benefit of the IELOL program is for its participants who stay professionally connected with each other and remain open to learning and growing with their leadership community. These leaders gain the capacity to influence their own career trajectories to integrate with their burgeoning leadership competencies in a way that yields compound results

The IELOL community brings together a group of individuals who are passionate about education and learning. It is a community that appreciates the powerful capacity of staying connected. Its community of alumni invites you to participate and grow from the IELOL experience. As an inclusive home for those who have completed the IELOL program, we welcome you!

About the Author
Amanda Major, EdD, CPLP, PMP is an organizational development and project management specialist in the field of online learning in higher education. Currently, she contributes to projects at University of Central Florida. Actively involved in the field, she has presented at national and international conferences and has peer reviewed publications about e-learning organizational development, operations, and projects.

She holds a Project Management Professional certification from the Project Management Institution (PMI) and a Certified Professional in Learning and Performance certification from the Association for Talent Development (ATD). Additionally, she has earned administration certificates from the Online Learning Consortium and Quality Matters. Her academic credentials include an EdD in educational leadership, policy and law; an MA in industrial organizational psychology; and a BA in interdisciplinary studies with a concentration in social psychological issues.

Amanda has experience delivering results in a variety of learner-focused and client-oriented environments. Prior to arriving at UCF, Amanda taught online courses, partnered with online program management providers, participated in strategic planning efforts, developed policies, and improved business processes to contribute to quality online programs at a large public, research-intensive university. She enjoys partnering with faculty and leading projects to enhance digital learning.

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