Strengthening the Nucleus of the Online HBCU Executive Team: Transversal Leadership

Concurrent Session 2
Streamed Session HBCU Leadership

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Brief Abstract

This interactive Lightning Talk furthers a 2019 pilot study completed for the OLC Graduate Student Discovery Program. It focuses on clearly presenting the results and conclusions of the full-scale research project so that attendees are compelled to reflect on the themes of online HBCU executive leadership and transversal leadership by generating intellectually-driven questions on leadership competencies present at their own college or university and/or development of their own research to investigate these themes as a vision for the future of online learning beyond 2020. 


Andrew Afton Lawrence is completing his doctoral dissertation in Global Leadership and Organizational Management at Indiana Tech. He holds a MA in Teaching and Learning with Technology from Ashford University and a BA in Humanities with a Specialization in English from Bluefield State College. He is an experienced online faculty member and administrator. In 2013, he was named an Elliott Masie 30 Under Thirty @ Learning honored guest, session leader, and main-stage presenter for a team Pecha Kucha titled "Where is Learning Going?". He was asked to return in 2014 as a 30 Under Thirty @ Learning Mentor. In 2019, he was selected as an emerging scholar for the International Leadership Association’s Emerging Research Scholar Consortium for his research titled “The Strong Forces of Transformational Leadership and the Courageous Executive”. Andrew Afton Lawrence's network of professional communities includes the American College of Corporate Directors (ACCD), the American Marketing Association (AMA), the Bluefield Chamber of Commerce's Youth Leadership Program, the International Leadership Association (ILA), the National Association of Sales Professionals (NASP), the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA), and the Virginia Council for State Authorization and Reciprocity.

Extended Abstract

This quantitative research further explores the connection between transversal leadership and online executive leadership in a higher education setting by redefining the population of a 2019 pilot study completed for the Online Learning Consortium’s (OLC) Graduate Student Discovery Program. The 2019 pilot study created a clear vision by concluding the launch of a full-scale research project on higher education executive leaders in online learning colleges and universities was feasible modelling the means and methods and design of the 2019 pilot. A book chapter published in the University of South Africa’s online Institutional Repository provides three criteria of evaluating and assessing the value of a pilot study: 1) detection of flaws, 2) identification of ambiguous items, and 3) provision of information for wording of the questionnaire. Four additional criteria are listed as advantages of pilot studies and can be utilized for assessing the effectiveness of the study leading up to the full-scale launch; they are 1) provision of possible advanced failure warnings, 2) adherence to research protocols, 3) identification of practical problems, and 4) appropriateness of methods and instrumentation. 

One of the reconsiderations provided through the pilot’s results and conclusions was that the population should be more uniquely defined as the broad nature of the pilot study population could create a flawed practical procedure for the full-scale research. All remaining procedures are considered feasible for investigation, including the seven day time frame for completing the survey and the use of a pay-per-respondent online data collection instrument. Initially, the 2019 pilot study was designed using a qualitative focus group; however, it was redesigned before the launch of the pilot study to align the design with effective and proven methods for appropriate collection of data on executive leadership competencies. Using a quantitative method, the pilot tested the use of a relatively new and under-utilized survey creation and data collection tool, Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk), to develop and collect measurable data on the six domains of transversal competencies in executive leaders at online learning colleges and universities. As a survey development tool, MTurk was capable of formulating the concepts as items in a quantitative and deliverable/returnable format; however, it was not capable of narrowing the population or defining the population by institutional size or type through technical means. After evaluating the pilot study and reassessing the population a new sample of study was selected to create research interest in and increase value in the project and to prevent the failure of the full-scale launch within the capabilities of the instrument while maintaining the integrity of the research, purpose, and goals. The Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) sample population was selected as a specialized group of study to create a narrowed population and increase value in this study and in published research on online executive leadership in higher education within the theme of transversal leadership, an emerging concept of research investigation. The results of this research advance the present state of online leadership in higher education by conducting a first of its kind research on this historical population. The results demonstrate leadership competencies applicable for advancing the future state of executive leadership in online learning. The results also advance the development of a definition of Transversal Leadership within and beyond the framework of this population sample. The updated literature review and references include new research on the state of HBCU and online learning, yet otherwise remain the same from the 2019 pilot study.