OLC Press Publishes From Grassroots to the Highly-Orchestrated: Online Leaders Share Their Stories of the Evolving Online Organizational Landscape in Higher Ed

First publication from the OLC Press, the official book publishing imprint of the Online Learning Consortium (OLC)

Boston, MA - From Grassroots to the Highly-Orchestrated: Online Leaders Share Their Stories of the Evolving Online Organizational Landscape in Higher Ed, the inaugural publication from the OLC Press,  aims to illuminate the organizational structures and leadership strategies of online education units at higher education institutions through the first-person stories, practices, lessons, and innovations of Chief Online Officers.

Edited by Dr. Bettyjo Bouchey, Dr. Erin Gratz, and Dr. Shelley Kurland, this volume features a spectrum of voices from a variety of higher education leaders from the field.

From Grassroots is the first publication from the OLC Press, the official book publishing imprint of the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), offering titles on leading-edge topics in online, blended, and digital learning, with works available in printed and digital formats.

Target Audience: Scholarly/Professional (academic leaders)

Subject/Genre: Education; Social Sciences, Online Leadership

Format: Paperback, ebook

List Price: $30 


From the Editors

“I remember when we decided to get serious about the research that led to this book: it was at the 2019 Accelerate conference in Orlando.  It seemed that every conversation we had told a slightly different tale of how online organizations were structured, but the main theme was that we all face the same victories and challenges.  So CORAL, our research collaborative dedicated to online education, was born and the year-long study that led to us pitching this book to OLC…In thinking about Grassroots to the Highly-Orchestrated we wanted to engage more online leaders to tell their stories, the successes, the failures, the innovations, and where they are heading.  We knew that we would find ourselves in their stories and we would all be better for reading them and also in knowing that others are working through the same things–but now we might have a framework to leverage for faster success.  In the end, this book represents not only the 31 voices from our study, but another 18 that, taken together, represent the broad articulation of online organizations in institutions of higher education.  They are brave, authentic, and relatable stories that highlight the ingenuity of their leaders and how online leaders harness the coalition of the willing to benefit their students, faculty, and staff in an otherwise messy organizational structure.  These stories are those of the authors, but they are also all of our stories–we lead together into the future of online education.” – Dr. Bettyjo Bouchey, Associate Professor and Dean of Online Education at National Louis University 

“These stories primarily reflect that of chief online officers, however the stories and lessons learned that are shared in this book are engaging and applicable to most who are invested and passionate about online education – regardless of the seat you hold in your institution.   This book grew out of our own leadership stories, struggles, and wins and the desire to hear how others were working through similar issues and initiatives.  In our conversations, we struggled to find the stories of online leaders and online organizational structures in a broad way – so we decided to give those stories a platform through this book.” – Dr. Erin Gratz, Instruction and Outreach Librarian at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California

“Our research, the inspiration for this book, came out of curiosity over the incredible range of the organizational structure of distance education units and their role within higher education institutions. As we interviewed chief online officers (COOs) across the U.S., we realized that each one had a story to tell and lessons to share — the idea for a book was sparked. The authors of Grassroots to the Highly-Orchestrated generously shared with us their challenges and triumphs. Moreover, they shared with us the journey and often highlighted the collaborative nature of their work all towards the same goal — designing a high quality and engaging experience for the students from onboarding to graduation, while supporting them in realizing their goals. I compiled a digital journal of all the nuggets of wisdom I took from every chapter and plan to use them as an integral part of my growth as a leader. I hope our readers find the stories and lessons as compelling as I did.” – Dr. Shelley C. Kurland, Ph.D., Inaugural Dean, Virtual Campus, County College of Morris

Interview with the Editors

Reading Guide

Meet the Editors

Dr. Bettyjo Bouchey is Associate Professor and Dean of Online Education at National Louis University where she is responsible for standards of quality and service for online programming across the institution. Dr. Bouchey has had the opportunity to lead all aspects of an online campus and programming in her career and spends time each week in deep dialog with an engaged personal learning network discussing the evolving nature of online education.  

Dr. Bouchey holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University at Albany, an M.B.A. in Entrepreneurship from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a Doctorate in Education from Northeastern University.  She is a co-founder of the CORAL Research collaborative focused on online leadership and scholarship; her personal research interests include the nature and future of organizational structures of online units in institutions of higher education, as well as inventive and high-impact pedagogical practice in online teaching.  Dr. Bouchey writes and is widely quoted in the academic and popular press; her articles and curriculum vitae can be accessed here: www.drbouchey.com 

Dr. Erin Gratz is the instruction and outreach librarian at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California. She has been an academic librarian for more than 20 years. During that time, she has focused on information literacy, user experience, and collections, primarily in the areas of sociology and music. Additionally, she has taught online courses for over 10 years, and led the online programs at a mid-sized private university for two years. 

Dr. Gratz holds a B.A. in sociology from Manchester College, a masters of social science from the University of Amsterdam, an masters in library and information science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a Doctor of Education in organizational leadership from the University of La Verne. Her research interests are in faculty trust, shared governance, and online teaching and organizational structure in higher education.

Dr. Shelley Kurland is the inaugural Dean of Virtual Campus at the County College of Morris in Randolph, New Jersey. Dr. Kurland has had the opportunity to lead in faculty development and online learning for about 20 years. She is actively engaged in several regional and national organizations and regularly contributes through committee work, writing, and professional presentations. She uses the question, “Is this the best for the student?” as the compass for her professional work.

Dr. Kurland holds a B.S. in Exercise Science and Sports Studies from Rutgers University, a Master of Arts in Teaching with a concentration in Teacher of the Handicapped and a Doctorate in Philosophy in Teacher Education/Teacher Development, both from Montclair State University. Her research interests are in leadership, distance education, active learning, faculty learning, and the use of technology with pedagogical considerations.

About the OLC

The Online Learning Consortium (OLC) is a collaborative community of education leaders and innovators dedicated to advancing quality digital teaching and learning experiences designed to reach and engage the modern learner — anyone, anywhere, anytime. OLC inspires innovation and quality through an extensive set of resources, including best-practice publications, quality benchmarking, leading-edge instruction, community-driven conferences, practitioner-based and empirical research, and expert guidance. The growing OLC community includes faculty members, administrators, trainers, instructional designers, and other learning professionals, as well as educational institutions, professional societies, and corporate enterprises. Learn more at onlinelearningconsortium.org.