“Successful leaders recognize that teams are just another form of relationship, and like all relationships, must be founded on trust and openness. In great relationships, we know that we are stronger together than we would be separately, and to achieve our collective goals, we must operate without ego or self-interest. If we can do this, our units will thrive,” says Lori Wallace, asked about qualities that make for capable academic leadership.
The professor at the Centre of the Advancement of Teaching and Learning (The Centre) has received the 2017 Leadership Award from the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE), an annual award that recognizes outstanding service to the fields of online/distance education or technology and media in education.
Her nomination was supported by colleagues across Canada, with note being made of her longstanding and collegial leadership in distance/online learning, stating that “Dr. Wallace has exemplified leadership in our field…influencing others by [her] character, humility, and example…her contributions to the fields of distance/online education and to higher education as a whole are impressive.”
Wallace has been a faculty member at the University of Manitoba since 1984, with instructional design and distance education being a major focus of her career. For many years, she served as a director of the U of M Distance and Online Education Unit, and Senior Instructional Designers as well as Associate Dean (Degree Studies). From 2007-2013, she served as the Dean of Extended Education, working to expand innovative programs for adults and non-traditional learners, and increase accessibility through delivery methods such as online and blended learning. She has also worked in training and development in the private sector, and internationally as an instructional designer and distance education specialist.
For many years, she has been an active contributer to the professional organizations in the field, including serving on boards of directors and editorial boards of the Canadian Society for Studies in Higher Education (CSSHE), Canadian Association for University Continuing Education and CNIE/CADE. Since the inception in 2000 of the Canadian Virtual University Consortium (CVU-UVC), Wallace has been active in supporting its mandate, including serving two terms as president and chair of the board of directors, again working with member institutions to expand access to online programs and improvide mobility of credentials.
At the Centre, her current portfolio includes faculty development for curriculum design and blended learning, research investigating the experience of Indigenous and international students in online courses, and the demographics and academic choices and outcomes of Indigenous learners.
Reflecting on the many shifts in distance and online learning since she began her work and research, Wallace notes in particular changes in technology – and the opportunities these bring. “Technologies have allowed us to take great teaching and learning out of the classroom, and into the homes, workplaces (and moblie devices!) of our students” she says.
And Wallace considers working in post-secondary education an extra-ordinary opportunity. “We are paid to discover and share knowledge, to share learning,” she says. “What a privilege.”
CNIE (Canadian Network for Innovation in Education) is the voice for Canada’s distance and open education communities. https://cnie-rcie.ca