OLC Board of Directors - Responsibilities

Serving on the Board of Directors of the Online Learning Consortium

The Online Learning Consortium (OLC) is a 501C3 non-profit, self-supporting organization. The OLC Board of Directors has responsibilities to provide oversight and direction for the effective operation of the organization, to set strategic directions, and to represent the interests of the membership and affiliated organizations in the broader online learning community. Accordingly, the Board’s primary responsibility is to create and continually review a statement of mission and purpose that articulates OLC’s goals, means, and primary constituents served. To achieve its mission, the Board engages in a variety of formal and informal activities. Formal or constituted responsibilities (by Bylaws) include:

  • hiring and evaluating an Executive Director
  • delegating OLC’s management functions, including planning, organizing, staffing, directing, and controlling to the top executive
  • developing and approving strategic plans, including major commitments;
  • assuring the continuity of OLC and making emergency decisions when management cannot perform (through an Executive Committee)
  • maintaining and amending, as needed, OLC’s Bylaws as the framework to govern the operation of OLC, the Board and all legal responsibilities
  • maintaining the Board as a healthy, well-organized governing body capable of helping OLC achieve success.

Informal responsibilities and understandings associated with serving on this nonprofit, non-compensated voluntary Board necessary to ensure the effective operation of the Board include:

  • a belief in the mission and goals of the OLC
  • a commitment of time and energy to support and work for the success of OLC
  • understanding the Bylaws and general operations of the Board
  • being cognizant of the fiduciary and legal responsibilities of a Board member
  • attending and actively participating in meetings of the Board
  • actively participating in Board Committee activities
  • representing the Board and/or the organization as needed

Board members are expected to actively participate in Board meetings (typically four a year, two in person and two by conference call) and any special meetings called to undertake the business of the Board.  

Board Organization

The Board is a self-perpetuating Board. Initial election to the Board is done by nomination from the membership, with selection from a slate of candidates by vote of the existing members of the Board. Board terms are three years in length and a member can be re-elected, but is limited, to a second term. There are three leadership positions on the Board (President, Vice President and Treasurer). The officers are elected annually from the Board membership. The leadership structure is designed to effectively carry out the responsibilities outlined above. Brief descriptions of the officers’ duties follow.


The President is responsible for managing the affairs of the Board, overseeing the structure and effective operation of the Board and providing general supervision and control of the business and officers of the Board. The President shall preside at all meetings of the Board and perform other duties and has other powers designated by the Board. The President works closely with the Executive Director on the general operation of the organization. The President directs the Executive Committee and serves as an ex-officio member of all committees.

Vice President

The Vice President is assigned leadership areas by the President. These areas include monitoring and advising on strategic board committees, advising the executive director on selected areas, and taking leadership on key initiatives of the board. The Vice President would lead in the President’s absence.


The Treasurer has general oversight of the financial affairs of the OLC to ensure that policies and procedures for maintaining accurate records of the fiscal affairs of the organization are executed. The Treasurer works closely with the Chief Financial Officer of the OLC to achieve this goal. The Treasurer chairs the Finance Committee.

Committee Structure

Because full Board meetings are not the best place to conduct in-depth problem solving and planning, the Board has developed a committee structure to handle much  of its work. This structure distributes governing functions and responsibilities equitably among its members and helps to maximize the Board’s effectiveness. Committees can consider major concerns and issues and provide guidance and direction for the entire Board. Committees become the workhorses of the Board, pursue a variety of short-term and long-term activities, and report regularly to the full Board, including making recommendations to either the Executive Committee or to the full Board for action.
Board members should expect to serve on at least two committees or one if she/he serves as chair.

Executive Committee

To ensure the effective and timely management of the Board and to assist the Executive Director as required, much of the Board’s work is managed through an Executive Committee (including the President, Vice President, Founding President, Immediate Past President, Treasurer and one additional Board member elected at large by the full Board). 

Other Board Committees

Other Board committees include the following:

  • Finance Committee
  • Committee on Conferences and Events
  • Nominations, Awards, and Recognition Committee
  • Publications and Research Committee
  • Policy Initiatives Committee

— Written by Burks Oakley; Revised 7 April 2015