Quality Assurance for Online Programs: Roles, Responsibilities, and Leadership Styles of Higher Education Administrators

Quality Assurance for Online Programs: Roles, Responsibilities, and Leadership Styles of Higher Education Administrators

Yi Yang (Franklin University, USA) and Curtis J. Bonk (Indiana University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-762-3.ch016
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Abstract

Roles of administrators are often overlooked when discussing the quality of online education. Administrators have long asserted the pivotal influence on school policies, faculty members’ morale, and learning atmosphere. This chapter examines the challenges administrators face in ensuring the quality and viability of online programs. In the chapter, we suggest that the responsibilities of an effective higher education administrator encompass roles as strategic planner and manager, effective motivator, aggressive promoter, and strong supporter of others. We also put forth recommendations for administrators that might help them improve the quality and success of online programs.
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Administrators As Strategic Planners And Managers

A host of factors and pressures have had a profound influence on how institutions of higher education are now managed (Yielder & Codling, 2004). For example, many such institutions are experiencing a significant shift from a collegial to a managerial structure. Neave and Van Vught (1991) depict three key features for managerialism in higher education institutions. These components include: (a) the increasing influence of external stakeholders (e.g., the government), (b) a strong emphasis on strategic planning at an institutional level, and (c) the adoption and adaption of corporate management concepts and techniques. The managerial environment requires higher education administrators to take active roles in strategically planning and managing online programs. Strategic planning is “an essential management activity where high quality can be expected” (Kettunen, 2008, p. 323). When effective, it includes the integration of the institution’s mission, an inventory of available resources, a financial and market assessment of various programs, and an academic evaluation of those programs (Berge & Schrum, 1998).

According to McKenzie, Ozkan, and Layton (2005), to make online programs successful, administrators need to understand the importance of planning, implementation, and quality control. When planning and managing online programs, administrators might consider techniques that are aligned with quality online learning. Alley (2001) suggests the following specific techniques:

Key Terms in this Chapter

Situational Leaders: Such types of people are often those who employ open communications while helping staff with competence, commitment, independence, value, and honor differences ( Hersey and Blanchard, 1977 ).

Strategic Planning: It refers to the process of defining the values, purpose, vision, mission, goals, and objectives of an organization. Through the planning process, a jurisdiction or agency identifies the outcomes it wants to achieve through its programs and the specific means by which it intends to achieve these outcomes (Ruthwell, 1989 AU36: The in-text citation "Ruthwell, 1989" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

Technology Capacity: This term refers to the change or innovation through technological means such as technology infrastructure, online library access, online registration access, etc.

Transformational Leadership: Such a concept refers to the style of leadership in which the leader identifies the needed change, creates a vision to guide the change through inspiration, and executes the change with the commitment of the members of the group. Retrieved April 6, 2010 from http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/transformational-leadership.html

Leadership: This concept often relates to a type of management or initiative of an organization that takes it in a new direction, solves difficult problems, fosters the creativity of its people, facilitates the design of new programs or products, rethinks or improves organizational structures, or improves the quality of any process, procedures, or product (Davis, 2003 AU34: The in-text citation "Davis, 2003" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

Multidimensional Leadership: It refers to a leadership that encompasses many dimensions, including resilience, personal behavior, student achievement, decision making, communication, faculty development, leadership development, time/task/project management, technology, and learning (Reeves, 2004 AU35: The in-text citation "Reeves, 2004" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

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