Scaling the Mountain of Faculty Governance in Building Institutional Online Capacity

Concurrent Session 2

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

All the essential gear you need to effortlessly scale the Faculty Governance Summit! Don’t go around the mountain - tackle it head on with the tools you will gather from this conversation. Learn how to work with and empower faculty and administrators to develop foundational policies for a sound online program.


Heather McCullough is the Associate Director for the Center of Teaching and Learning at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Heather earned a Ph.D. in French Literature from Indiana University and an M.S. in Information Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has taught French and English at the university level in the US and France and worked in the field of instructional technology and pedagogical support for over 10 years. She previously served as Head of Research Services and Digital Scholarship in the J. Murrey Atkins Library.
Pamela Wimbush brings over twenty years of cumulative experience in information and instructional technology. She is notable for her work in strategic planning, enrollment management, marketing, building effective teams, online course developments, curriculum development, training, learning management system migrations and technology integration for online undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs. Pamela serves as the Associate Director, Distance Education and Summer Programs at UNC Charlotte. Previously, she served as the Assistant Dean, University College, and Director, Hampton U Online at Hampton University; Director, Instructional Resource Center and Online Learning at Johns Hopkins University; Director, Technology Applications Center at Northern Virginia Community College and also, Learning Management System Administrator and Computing Consultant at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Pamela presents at the local, state and national level on "Best Practices in Online Learning," “Building Effective Teams” and "Effective Technology Implementation Planning" through UPCEA and the Online Learning Consortium. Pamela has been nominated and selected to serve on the Northern Virginia Community College President’s Leadership Academy and the Online Learning Consortium Emerging Leadership in Online Learning (IELOL). Pamela has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Studies, Master of Science in Management, Master of Distance Education and currently is in the final stretch of her doctorate in Educational Administration. Pamela encourages faculty and students to “embrace” the benefits of technology and distance education to provide access and enhance the student learning experience.
Staci Davis is the Executive Director of Learner Experience at Ball State University in the Division of Online and Strategic Learning. She is responsible for managing the adult online students’ experience from lead to graduation including the integration of the learner experience into course design and delivery. Staci earned her M.B.A. with a concentration in information systems from Ball State . She has worked with online and distance education programs for the past 21 years at Ball State, and has taught introduction to business and the Microsoft Office Suite at the university level.
Director of Online Learning Programs at U.Va. She is responsible for managing production for U.Va.'s partnership with Coursera. Her graduate work was done at Stanford University in Learning, Design and Technology. She also holds a degree from Rochester Institute of Technology. For the past seventeen years, she has been successfully delivering enterprise technology projects for various companies including Walt Disney, Hewlett-Packard, eBay and Intuit. She joined U.Va. in 2011 to lead the LSP community, a community for computing professionals at U.Va.

Additional Authors

Dr. Laurie Hillstock has been a faculty member and administrator in higher education for over 15 years. Most of her experiences have been in the distance learning arena, focusing on strategic planning, technology research and integration, academic integrity, faculty and curriculum development, and student success. In addition, she has taught a number of credit bearing courses in online, hybrid, and web-enhanced learning environments. She has also administered and/or taught with a variety of LMS systems including Blackboard. She is a member of the Institute for Emerging Leadership in Online Learning (IELOL) faculty at Penn State. In addition to her duties as Board Clerk, Dr. Hillstock is actively involved with OLC, serving as a content developer, workshop facilitator and mentor. More specifically, she is the developer and facilitator for the Leadership in Online Learning Mastery Series, Instructional Design Mastery Series and the Advanced Online Teaching Certificate program. She is also a mentor for the basic OLC Teaching Certificate program as well as a content developer and/or workshop facilitator for other OLC workshops. In addition, she is a member of the OLC Effective Practice Awards Selection Committee. Dr. Hillstock holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership (Higher Education) and M.A. in Human Resource Development from Clemson University. She also holds a B.A. in English (minor: Computer Science) from Converse College.

Extended Abstract


This conversation will focus on practical approaches to guiding and equipping faculty and administrators to engage in productive dialogue around faculty governance of online education. Often Centers for Teaching and Learning are at the campus’s leading edge for designing online learning. However, their roles and oversight likely do not extend to the critical dimensions of curriculum development that are under the jurisdiction of the faculty. The process for developing academic policy can be very slow and yet the pressure to create new, innovative online programming and online teaching resources can feel intense. Having sound institutional policies that govern the online learning space is an essential component to a clear and coherent approach to developing online programs. Those dimensions include: preparedness to teach online, creation of online course guidelines, standards for online learning, course evaluation, faculty hiring and reappointment, calculation of workload, and more. This conversation includes questions to facilitate exchange around strategies that are culture- and context-specific and that are practical.


  1. Learn context-specific strategies to influence online policy development

  2. Learn context-specific strategies to operate effectively when online policies are not in place

Questions for Discussion

  1. Survey the Landscape: Framing the Challenges (Question for the larger group)

    1. What is one challenge you face with supporting or growing your online presence that your office does not control?

    2. What are the components of your institution’s faculty governance? (Review handout on common faculty governance structures and components and have individuals identify those components at their institution)

  2. Prepare Your Backpack: Understanding Your Context and Audience (To be discussed in small, facilitated groups)

    1. What are your administration’s concerns with online? What are their blind spots?

    2. What are your faculty members’ concerns with online? What are their blind spots?

    3. What forums do you have to interact with each group (these may be within or outside your institution)?

  3. Put on Your Climbing Boots: Choosing Tools and Strategies for Your Particular Challenge (Large group discussion, plus time for individual reflection)

    1. What are trends (challenges and strategies) that each group identified?  (Question for the larger group)

    2. What strategies are appropriate for the challenge/s you face? What are the first three steps you need to take to begin implementing one (or more) strategy? (Individual reflection and use of handout)

Engagement Techniques

  1. (Pre-conversation): We will invite participants to add their questions/challenges to a shared Google Doc before the session begins (ideally linked in the session description on the conference site).

  2. Questions will be discussed in small group breakout sessions, each facilitated by one of the presenters, with report outs after each

  3. Participants will write the first steps of their action plan

  4. Handouts of resources, including resources to communicate with faculty and with administrators will be provided


  1. Heather McCullough, Ph.D., Associate Director, Center for Teaching and Learning, UNC Charlotte

  2. Pamela Wimbush, Associate Director, Office of Distance Education and Summer School

  3. Laurie Hillstock, Ph.D., Higher Education Consultant

  4. Kristin Palmer, Ed.D., Director, Online Learning Programs at UVA 

  5. Staci Davis, Executive Director, Online & Distance Education Programs, Ball State University