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22st Annual OLC International Conference
November 16-18, 2016 | Orlando, Florida | Walt Disney World Swan/Dolphin Resort

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Academic Entrepreneurship Expanding Internationally and Navigating the Institution

Gerald LeTendre (Penn State University, USA)
Ronald Musoleno (Penn State University, USA)
Laurence Boggess (Penn State University & World Campus, USA)
Session Information
October 15, 2015 - 2:30pm
Institutional Strategies & Innovations
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Institutional Level: 
Universities and Four Year Institutions
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Oceanic 6
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Concurrent Session 8

How one online M.Ed. educational leadership program navigated institutional structures to expand into the international market.

Extended Abstract

Mention "academic entrepreneurship" in a Research 1 university and increasingly that reference can apply to the university's online presence. This is the case with our land grant research university and its mature, online initiative. Recently, our online market research group conducted a study of opportunities and strategies for expanding programs to overseas audiences. The drive to expand online international offerings presents significant challenges and opportunities for constituents in the institution. In this session, we describe the political, social, financial, and policy navigations one program experienced as it worked to expand its international footprint.

Session goals:

Co-led by an educational researcher of comparative and international education, the director of online faculty development and also a faculty in the online program, and the program lead faculty and former school principal overseas, this session intends to:

* Discuss common obstacles and strategies for moving existing programs into international markets;
* Examine the academic program's role in achieving an accurate analysis of international market for educational leadership degrees;
* Share examples of incentivizing faculty to teach online and innovate and extend international programs;
* Describe how we are creating a pipeline of international faculty and training current faculty for effective instruction of international students;
* Describe how we create partnerships within, across, and beyond the university, for example, international schools associations;
* Illustrate new and established institutional networks and structures for increasing internal capacity and student recruitment;
* Give examples of online curriculum revision processes to reflect more concerns with multi-cultural education and cross-cultural competencies;
* Describe a process for re-evaluating university policies that hinder online expansion to international markets and advocating policy change.

Background. Academics - program administrators, program leads, and faculty - need to be entrepreneurial in the online teaching and learning space. In order for their programs to establish and thrive, they need to work with, and sometimes against, university structures and policies that prevent leading edge marketing, program expansion into new markets, and faculty preparation and buy-in.

The online MEd in Educational Leadership at our university was originally developed for teacher leadership (non-certification) and school leadership in the U.S. The program has increasingly seen students enrolling from abroad. Principal certification is critical in the U.S. but much less important for international markets. There are large number of potential students who are engaged professionals teaching in international schools, international baccalaureate schools, American overseas schools, and other private schools around the world. For these individuals, a master's degree in educational leadership with an emphasis in teacher leadership can be most appealing and is acceptable documentation for leadership roles. In the international setting, this same degree and emphasis is sufficient to take on more administrative leadership roles and therefore can be an attractive option for educators living abroad who aspire to administrative leadership roles within the international schools setting.

The program is housed within the Education Policy Studies Department -- which hosts three top-ten ranked programs (Higher Education, Educational Leadership and Educational Theory and Policy). The department is also home to a Comparative and International Education program that provides significant access to international connections and faculty with an international interest. In addition, the Higher Education program runs a successful summer seminar for university administrators that attracts high-level university faculty from China and India. This activity provides the department with a more supportive environment for on-line expansion.

Activities. During the session, the participants will crowd source ideas during two activities that center on developing networks within the university and connecting with students. The session co-leaders will give a brief overview of the kinds of issues and obstacles they encountered and then have the audience work in small groups to identify similar or different issues, problems and groups that they are likely to encounter in their own university. Small group report-outs and summary reflection conclude the session.
Session outcomes.

At the conclusion of this session, participants will:
* Identify institutional challenges and opportunities of expanding online programs to international markets;
* Learn from our example how faculty can initiate and implement an international strategy;
* Understand formal and informal networks and partnerships within and between universities and other external partners; and
* Belong to an informal professional network of ideas and support for navigating university resources from program expansion into online international markets.