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Director, Distance & Continuing Education

Department: Distance and Continuing Education Effective Date: October 16, 2006

USG 16

35 hr/wk

Reports to: AVP-LRI

General Accountability

The Director, Distance and Continuing Education is accountable to the AVP-LRI for providing strategic leadership and effective management of the University’s Distance Education and Continuing Education programs.  This includes online learning design, development, and delivery; advocacy and support for adult part time learners; and non-credit program development and delivery.

Nature and Scope

Other positions reporting to the AVP-LRI include the Director, Teaching Resources (TRACE), the Director, Learning and Teaching Through Technology (LT3), and the Strategic Consultant for Teaching, Research, and Assessment.

Reporting to the Director are the Associate Director, Distance Education, the Manager, Continuing Education, the Manager, Information Systems, the Senior Instructional Technologies Advisor, and an Administrative Assistant.

The University’s Distance Education program is being delivered primarily using online technologies.  The Office provides instructors with support for the design of their online courses.  This instructional design integrates University objectives as described most recently in the 6th Decade Plan:  graduate competencies, experiential learning, and global perspectives.  The Office also provides development support through expertise in technology, programming, graphic design, and interface design.  Design and development also ensure compliance with copyright, accessibility, and privacy legislation.  Finally, teaching excellence is supported through course delivery:  from distribution through technical support, assignment processing, and final examination management.  The Office must work with academic departments to ensure congruent approaches that maximize the academic integrity of all processes.

Advocacy and support for adult part time learners includes developing marketing and communication strategies.  In addition, the Director works with Faculties and academic departments to encourage development of degree or certificate programs that will meet the needs of this constituency, both within Canada as well as for international markets.  Encouraging growth of DE programs and building a larger base of adult learners (nationally and internationally) presents an interesting challenge for the Director as decisions about programs, course offerings, and enrolment limits are at the sole discretion of the academic units.

The University’s Continuing Education program (CE) develops and delivers non-credit professional development courses, corporate training, and community outreach initiatives (such as the KPL lecture series).  The Director is responsible for the growth of this unit into areas that will further the goals of the 6th Decade Plan and promote the University’s reputation.  For example, CE will facilitate opportunities for alumni and practitioners to remain in touch with current research through knowledge mobilization technologies.  Academic support and direction is provided by the CE Advisory Committee, comprised of representatives from each of the six faculties as well as other units who have a vested interest in continuing education.  Together with this Committee, the Director is responsible for providing centralized guidance and assistance to continuing education efforts being conducted across campus.  CE is an ancillary operation which must generate its own income and maintain its own fiscal viability.

The University has a long history of leadership in the area of distance education (beginning in 1968), and its program is still one of the largest and most well-respected in the country.  The Director is responsible for maintaining and enhancing this leadership role both nationally and internationally.  To achieve this goal, the Director must represent and promote the University’s reputation for distance and online learning through membership in provincial, national, and international professional associations, presentations at conferences, and by networking with professional contacts across the country.  The Director represents the University as a member of the Canadian Association for University Continuing Education (CAUCE), the Ontario Council for University Lifelong Learning (OCULL), the Canadian Association for Distance Education (CADE), and the American University Continuing Education Association (UCEA).  The Director is also involved with COHERE, Merlot, and CLOE.

The Director also participates in several on campus committees and regular forums including Admissions Forum, Arts Admissions Committee, International Operations Group, Undergrad Operations Committee, UW-ACE Steering Committee, UW-ACE Operations Committee, University Enrolment Management Advisory Committee, and the Student Information Systems Project (SISP) Leaders Group.  To further the goal of advocacy for distance and online learning, the Director must develop and maintain excellent relationships with academic Chairs and Faculty Deans, as well as members of the University’s Executive.  The Director also has a high degree of interaction with other administrative department heads, including the Registrar, the Director of Instructional Technologies and Multimedia Services, and the Directors of TRACE and LT3, to name a few.  The Office, along with the other LRI units, collaborate to provide direction and support for online teaching and learning, and teaching excellence in general at the University.

The Director must manage the financial resources of Distance Education to reflect the priorities of the Office and the University, and must monitor DE’s financial performance.  From time to time, the Office is custodian to additional funds used to promote specific initiatives.  The Director must ensure that these funds are fairly distributed in a manner that optimizes the goals of the University.  Likewise, the Director must ensure that the Continuing Education program is generating sufficient revenue to remain financially viable.  The Director must keep current with respect to financial practices relevant to the University and exercise good judgement regarding financial management issues, particularly in the face of conflicting demands.

Finally, the Director must ensure appropriate systems and information management processes are in place to support the work of the Office.  Management data regarding distance education / online activity should be provided to academic departments on a regular basis.  Technology must be kept current and must be in line with the overall technical direction of the University, and must support courses that are accessible to all students.

Statistical Data

For Distance Education:

Staff:  30 regular FTEs, 4 to 6 contract positions, plus co-op and/or work placement students; regular FTEs include 8 professionals

Budget:  $2.1 million; 80% of which is salary-based

Course offerings:  approximately 120 in each of the Fall & Winter; 70 in the Spring (total distinct courses available via DE is 260; almost half are fully online and this number is growing)

Students:  9,275 students took at least one DE course during the 2005-06 fiscal year; more than half of these students were enrolled full-time on campus

Enrolments:  17,000 course registrations annually; 55% in online courses; 65% in Faculty of Arts courses (as at 2006)

Final examinations administered:  approximately 6,000 in each of the Fall & Winter terms; 5,000 in the Spring; about half of these are held on the main campus, and the remainder are held in about 60 exam centres across the country or with individual proctors

For Continuing Education:

Revenue:  $0.5 million

Staff:  2 regular FTEs

Enrolments:  approximately 1,000 annually

Specific Accountabilities

Working Conditions