Navigating Accreditation for Online Courses and Programs

Pre-Conference Workshop Session 1

Brief Abstract

 Join us for a pre-conference workshop on accreditation in the online space.  This workshop brings together leaders with experience in accreditation from a variety of institutions and organizations to discuss policies and procedures, preparing for and maintaining accreditation, and implementing best practices.  As demand for online courses and programs grows, ensuring quality and accreditation is essential for digital leaders - but it can be tricky to navigate the ins and outs. This half-day event will feature presentations and small group discussions on the successes and challenges of accreditation, and will provide an opportunity for participants to shape the upcoming OLC agenda for supporting digital accreditation through research, policy briefs, webinars, and more.

There is a fee for this Pre-Conference Workshop: $225 Early Bird / $250 Full Price. Select both an AM and a PM pre-conference workshop to receive special combo package pricing of $395 Early Bird / $445 Full Price (total savings of $55).

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Lynette provides leadership for the OLC Research Center for Digital Learning and Leadership. Prior, she was the Director, Learning Enhancement for the Center for Learning Experimentation, Application, and Research at the University of North Texas. Lynette’s experience spans the educational pipeline from K-12 to public universities and community colleges, and in addition to her digital learning and leadership roles, she has served in a number of positions in Academic Affairs, Enrollment Management, and Educational Partnerships. She has worked extensively with public, private, corporate, and philanthropic organizations, was involved in two State of Texas Star-Award winning initiatives, and led the statewide Texas Reverse Transfer Initiative, resulting in more than 7,000 degrees awarded within the first year of the program and policy mandate. Lynette also teaches Quantitative Methods and Research Methods courses for the University of North Texas, and has a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration, an M.S. in Educational Psychology, and a B.A. in Psychology. In her spare time, Lynette practices yoga, reads everything from YA to historical non-fiction, and is involved in her community in Denton, TX.
Russ Poulin leads the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies, which advocates for effective practices and policies for digital learning in higher education. WCET’s members represent institutions, state agencies, corporations, and non-profit organizations from all fifty states. In paying attention to federal, state, and institution policies, he twice represented the distance education and competency-based education communities in federal negotiated rulemaking processes. The Presidents’ Forum, Excelsior College, the National University Technology Network, and the Online Learning Consortium have all recognized Russ for his contributions. He is also partial to movies, cats, and his wife, Laurie. Contact: or @RussPoulin.
Dr. Kristen Betts is a Clinical Professor in the School of Education at Drexel University. Dr. Betts has over 20 years of experience in higher education and serving in key leadership positions within private, public, and for-profit institutions. Dr. Betts teaches in the Mind, Brain & Learning certificate program, the Master’s program in Higher Education Leadership, the Master’s program in Creativity & Innovation, and the Doctoral program in Educational Leadership & Administration. She is also the founding Director of the Education, Learning and Brain Sciences (E-LaBS) Research Collaborative. Additionally, she serves as an Advisory Board Member for the Freddie Reisman Center for Translational Research in Creativity & Motivation. Dr. Betts’ expertise is in online and blended education, curriculum and instructional design, and evaluation. Her research focus is on Mind, Brain, and Education Science, creativity, technology-enhanced learning, Online Human Touch, and professional development. Dr. Betts is a Fulbright Specialist, Middle States Commission on Higher Education peer evaluator, and an instructor with the Online Learning Consortium certificate programs. Dr. Betts is a grant reviewer for the Hong Kong Grants Council and has been a reviewer for 14 journals and publishing companies. Dr. Betts has also been a keynote and invited speaker at conferences and government-supported events in Sweden, South Korea, South Africa, Canada, and across the United States.
Dr. Karen Pedersen has a long history serving in various administrative positions in both public and private higher education institutions and is currently in the role of Dean for Global Campus at Kansas State University. Previously she worked as the Chief Knowledge Officer for the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) where she served as a thought leader and fostered initiatives related to learning innovation, quality enhancement, leadership development, and institutional transformation. She has expertise leading award-winning online and off-campus units, working with faculty institution-wide, expanding partnerships, engaging cross-institutional academic operations, and pursuing integrated marketing solutions to realize significant enrollment growth and retention outcomes. Other experiences include serving on the launch team for a competency-based education initiative, leading a system-wide enrollment management transformation, and building academic collaborations in Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brazil. Prior to starting her administrative career, Pedersen served as a faculty member at the University of Nebraska. She holds bachelor of science and master of science degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a doctor of philosophy degree from Oklahoma State University.
Stephanie Hinshaw is the senior vice president of academic affairs. In her role, she oversees all academic activities and initiatives for the college, including academic programs and departments, curriculum production services, student affairs, academic excellence, and continuous improvement. As an advocate for student-first approaches and processes, Hinshaw's ethos revolves around monitoring and converting student feedback and achievement into actionable changes and eliminating barriers to continuing education. She is passionate about providing high-quality education in an accessible manner for adult learners. Hinshaw has worked in higher education for over 19 years and joined American College of Education in 2014, where she ascended the ranks, serving as the senior director of registration and student services, senior director of student operations, and assistant provost and vice president of student operations. Previously, Hinshaw worked as the director of admissions operation for Orbis Education, where she spearheaded admissions efforts for their accelerated online nursing programs and partners. She co-led the creation of their centralized admissions model. Before that, she served as an instructor, director of admissions, corporate director of admissions and marketing, and vice president of admissions for MedTech College. She received her MBA in marketing from Butler University and a bachelor's in journalism and public relations from Indiana University. Hinshaw is presently completing her Ed.D. in interdisciplinary leadership at Creighton University where she is researching the impacts of toxic leaders on their followers. She also attended Harvard's Graduate School of Education 2017 Women in Education Leadership conference and the Online Learning Consortium's 2019 Institute for Emerging Leaders in Online Learning, both programs are designed to help senior-level leaders advance their leadership practice and the field of education.

Extended Abstract


  • 8:30-9:00 Registration/Check-in

  • 9:00-9:05  Welcome and Opening Remarks

  • 9:05-9:30  General Session One: Tools for Preparing for Accreditation: Using the OLC Scorecard to Benchmark

  • 9:30-10:00  Breakout Session One

  • 10:00-10:25  General Session Two: Policies and Regulatory Issues Impacting Accreditation

    • Russ Poulin, Executive Director, WCET

  • 10:25-10:55  Breakout Session Two

  • 10:55-11:05  Break

  • 11:05-11:30  General Session Three: From the Field: Experiences of an Accreditation Reviewer

    • Kristen Betts, Clinical Professor, Drexel University

  • 11:30-12:00  Panel Discussion and Closing Remarks