Becoming a Conscious Online Leader: 15 Commitments to Transform Your Leadership Style

Workshop Session 1

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

As the educational landscape continues to shift toward online learning, leaders need a variety of strategies to successfully navigate challenges. The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership: A New Paradigm For Sustainable Success offers a helpful framework for enhanced collaboration, awareness, and influence for individuals in both formal and informal leadership.


Dr. 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:
Tina Rettler-Pagel is a Faculty member and Chief Online Learning Officer at Madison College, in Madison, Wisconsin. Tina holds a B.S in Education with an emphasis on Emotional Disabilities from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an M.S. in Administrative Leadership from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She has an Ed.D. in Student Affairs Administration from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Tina has completed an Online Learning Consortium (OLC) Online Teaching Certificate, as well as participated in OLC's Institute for Engaged Leadership in Online Learning (IELOL) in 2017. Her research interests include retention and persistence in the online classroom, the success of women of color in online learning spaces, women in higher education leadership and governance, digital equity, and community college approaches to teaching and learning. Tina's hashtags? #Mom #Partner #CommunityCollegeProud #OnWisconsin #A11yAdvocate #OnlineTeaching #Includer #Kindness #Connector #OnlineLearning #TechNerd #Resilience #StrongGirlsStrongWomen #Hockey #Fishing #AnythingSummer #JamMaker #Perseverance #SayYesToNewAdventures #ComeAsYouAre #StartWhereYouAre #ImpostorPhenomemon #Access
Megan Kohler is a Learning Designer with the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute at Penn State. She has presented at international conferences, such as Open Ed 2010 in Barcelona, Spain, the International Conference on Arts and Humanities in Honolulu, Hawaii, and the Online Learning Consortium in Orlando, Florida. Megan relies on her training and experience as a professional actor to create a fun and engaging experience within her presentations and design work. Among her professional accomplishments, she is recognized for her work as the lead instructional designer and project manager on Penn State’s highly-rated Epidemics MOOC. She conceptualized the MOOCs by Design Webinar series and served as the pedagogical lead for the Penn State Digital Badges Initiative. She continues to explore interesting opportunities focused on improving the online learning experience for higher education.

Extended Abstract

Due to the oftentimes embedded nature of online education organizational structures in colleges and universities, online leaders often find themselves working with several institutional stakeholders across many levels in the organization each day.  Working with so many and sometimes competing priorities and leadership orientations, online leaders need to be equipped with effective leadership strategies to navigate complex waters. Historical leadership theories often assume more traditional lines of authority than the emerging nature of online organizations demand, causing newer frameworks to emerge that speak to the importance and need for leading from where you are.  

This workshop will provide a platform for participants to discover their conscious leadership abilities, as well as plan for and practice new ways of communicating and working within their organizations that can lead to better outcomes.  Participants will be engaged in self-assessment, goal-setting, and tactical planning to incorporate the proven methodology of Conscious Leadership into their everyday practice--walking away with a roadmap to collegial, meaningful, and effective relationships with co-workers, team members, supervisors, and other institutional stakeholders in their institutions.  Designed to model an active learning environment, the workshop will be comprised of a mixture of creative activities meant to encourage peer-to-peer interaction, deep reflection, and multimodal engagement.

Aligning to the Leadership and Institutional Strategies track of the conference, this workshop will equip workshop attendees to:

  1. Explore the core concepts and models of Conscious Leadership and how they connect to online learning organizations and teaching leadership.

  2. Explore the 15 commitments of Conscious Leadership Model

  3. Discover their current conscious leadership potential.

  4. Explore a relationship or workplace challenge and how to permanently shift the patterns.

  5. Commit to ongoing improvement and practice of the tenets of Conscious Leadership.  

Workshop Agenda:

Participants may engage in a pre-workshop survey to gauge interest on specific commitments in order to suit the workshop activities to the specific needs of the audience.  

Welcome (5 minutes)

Introductions of Presenters and Attendees (20 minutes)

Brief introductions to help everyone get acquainted and to share perspectives on challenges we all face in our daily work. This time is dedicated to establishing a ‘safe space’ in which we can share, learn, and grow as a group.

Scenario Selection (10 minutes)

Based on the introductions, attendees will select a specific challenge they have previously or are currently experiencing. This will be a situation in which they will reference throughout the workshop as a way of reflecting upon and applying the skills developed during this session.

Define Conscious Leadership (10 minutes)

The workshop facilitators will discuss the importance of conscious leadership and how it applies specifically to leaders in the field of online education.

Introduce the 15 commitments (50 minutes - including an embedded attendee break)

Attendees will be actively engaged in the exploration of the 15 commitments. They will self identify which commitment is their greatest strength and which one is their greatest opportunity for development.

Practicing and Exploring Conscious Leadership and the 15 Commitments (55 minutes)

The facilitators will poll the audience to determine which commitments the group would like to focus on for the remainder of the session. All activities presented from this point on will be customized to the needs and interests of the attendees. In the interest of time, the 15 commitments will be narrowed down to 8 for the attendees to choose from.   

Revisit the Scenarios (20 minutes)

Having explored the commitment which holds the greatest opportunity for personal growth and development, the attendees will revisit the scenarios from the beginning of the session. They will collaborate with other attendees to develop a personal action plan for managing the scenario.  

Closing and Debrief (10 minutes)

Attendees will share the most valuable points from the session in an open forum style in order to revisit and reinforce the learning that occurred during the workshop.

Thank You and Session Evaluation