A Study of Faculty Governance Leaders’ Perceptions of Online and Blended Learning


  • Elizabeth Ciabocchi St. John's University
  • Amy Patraka Ginsberg Long Island University (LIU) - Brooklyn
  • Anthony G. Picciano Graduate Center - City University of New York




Higher education, university, college, leadership, faculty governance, online learning, blended learning


This article reports the findings of a study on the perceptions of faculty governance leaders to online and blended learning. For the purposes of this study, faculty governance was defined as formally established bodies in colleges and universities such as senates, councils, and collective bargaining organizations that are affiliated with the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). While there have been many studies on the perceptions of students, faculty, and administrators, there has been very little research on the perceptions of faculty governance leaders who hold critical positions in colleges and universities. Governance leaders are at the crux of approval processes that influence the development of curricula, faculty personnel policies, and academic programs, all of which can impact the implementation of online and blended learning initiatives. The research methodology for this study included a survey sent to a sample of governance leaders at U.S. institutions of higher education and follow-up phone interviews or email correspondence with a small number of volunteers. The sample was identified using an American Association of University Professors (AAUP) membership list. The results of this study provide important new information on the perceptions of this influential group of leaders on matters related to online and blended learning.

Author Biographies

Elizabeth Ciabocchi, St. John's University

Office of the Provost Vice Provost for Digital Learning/Executive Director of Online Learning & Services

Amy Patraka Ginsberg, Long Island University (LIU) - Brooklyn

Associate Professor of Counseling Acting Dean, School of Education

Anthony G. Picciano, Graduate Center - City University of New York

Professor and Executive Officer Ph.D. Program in Urban Education


Allen, E & Seaman, J. (2016). Online report card: Tracking online education in the United States. Needham, MA: Babson College Survey Research Group.

Allen, E & Seaman, J. (2015). Grade level: Tracking online education in the United States. Needham, MA: Babson College Survey Research Group.

Bowen, W. G. & Tobin, E.M. (2015). Locus of authority: The evolution of faculty roles in the governance of higher education. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Cain, D. L., & Pitre, P. E. (2008). The effect of computer mediated conferencing and computer assisted instruction on student learning outcomes. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 12(3), 31-52.

Cavanaugh, J. (2005). Teaching online – A time comparison. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 8(1). Retrieved May 10, 2016 from: https://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/spring81/cavanaugh81.htm.

Cavanaugh, J. K., & Jacquemin, S. J. (2015). A large sample comparison of grade based student learning outcomes in online vs. face-to-face courses. Online Learning Journal, 19(2). Retrieved May 13, 2016 from: http://olj.onlinelearningconsortium.org/index.php/olj/article/view/454/138.

DeSantis, N. (May 13, 2014). San Jose State U. Chief vows reforms after clashes over governance. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from July 29, 2015 from: http://chronicle.com/blogs/ticker/san-jose-state-u-s-president-vows-reforms-after-clashes-over-campus-governance/77543.

de Vise, D. & Kumar, A. (June 13, 2012). Teresa Sullivan ouster: 33 faculty leaders protest her dismissal from University of Virginia presidency. The Washington Post. Retrieved August 3, 2015 from: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/virginia-politics/post/university-of-virginia-department-chairs-protest-teresa-sullivan-ouster/2012/06/13/gJQA90tTaV_blog.html.

Devons, S. (Summer 2001). I.I. Rabi: Physics and science at Columbia, in America, and worldwide. Living Legacies: Great Moments and Leading Figures in the History of Columbia University. Retrieved August 1, 2015 from: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/alumni/Magazine/Summer2001/Rabi.html.

Higher Education Program and Policy Council of the American Federation of Teachers (May, 2000). Distance education: Guidelines for good practice. Washington, D.C.: American Federation of Teachers. Retrieved May 17, 2005 from: http://www.aft.org/pubs reports/higher_ed/distance.pdf.

Kimmich, C. (1999). Letter from Interim Chancellor Christoph Kimmich to College Presidents dated March 22nd. Subject: Distance Learning.

Kolowich, S. (January 31, 2014). San Jose State U. adopts new policy for online and ‘hybrid’ courses. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved July 30, 2015 from: http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/san-jose-state-u-adopts-new-policy-for-online-and-hybrid-courses/50029.

Kolowich, S. (November 19, 2013). Citing a series of conflicts, San Jose State U. asks for governance review. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved July 30, 2015 from: http://chronicle.com/article/As-MOOC-Debate-Simmers-at-San/139147/.

Kriger, T. (May, 2001). A virtual revolution: Trends in the expansion of distance education. Washington, D.C.: American Federation of Teachers. Retrieved May 17, 2005 from: http://www.aft.org/pubsreports/higher_ed/VirtualRevolution.pdf.

Miles, M.B. & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative Data Analysis. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Perez-Pena, T. (June 26, 2012). Ousted head of university is reinstated in Virginia. New York Times. Retrieved August 3, 2015 from: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/27/education/university-of-virginia-reinstates-ousted-president.html.

Phipps, R. & Merisotis, J. (1999). What’s the difference: A review of contemporary research on the effectiveness of distance learning in higher education. Washington, D.C.: The Institute for Higher Education Policy.

Picciano, A.G. (2006). Online learning: Implications for higher education pedagogy and policy. Journal of Thought, 41 (1), pp. 75-94.

Prineas, M. & Cini, M. (2011). Assessing learning in online education: the role of technology in improving learning outcomes (Occasional Paper #12). National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment. Retrieved May 10, 2016 from http://www.learningoutcomeassessment.org/documents/onlineed.pdf.

Ryan, Y., Tynan, B., & Lamont-Mills, A. (2014). Out of hours: Online and blended learning workload in Australian Universities. In A. G. Picciano, C. D. Dziuban, & C. R. Graham (Eds.), Blended learning: Research perspectives, Vol. 2 (pp. 268-283).

Selingo, J.J. (Editor) (2014). The innovative university: What college presidents think about change in American higher education. The Chronicle of Higher Education and McGuire Associates. Retrieved August 2, 2015 from: http://app.results.chronicle.com/e/es.aspx?s=2423&e=89593&elq=cd9973526e504845837bbada16e5b345.

Stack, S. (2015). Learning outcomes in an online vs traditional course. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 9(1), Article 5. Retrieved May 10, 2016 from:


Stassen, M., Blaustein, M., Rogers, R., & Shih, M.-Y. (2007). Undergraduate student outcomes: A comparison of online and face-to-face courses. Office of Academic Planning and Assessment, University of Massachusetts Amherst. Retrieved May 13, 2016 from http://www.umass.edu/oapa/oapa/publications/misc_docs/undergrad-student-outcomes.pdf.

Sturgis, I. (2015). MOOCs: More hype than hope. Convergence: Diversity and Inclusion. Supplement to The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The Campus Computing Project (2013). Welcome to the Campus Computing Project. Retrieved August 1, 2015 from: http://www.campuscomputing.net/.

Tomei, L. (2004). The impact of online teaching on faculty load. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 1(1), 3-45.

White, T. (May 8, 2014). Open letter to the students, faculty, staff, and friends of San Jose State University. California State University – Office of the Chancellor. Retrieved July 30, 2015 from: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/169779759/sjsu_administrative_review.pdf.






Invited Papers / 2015 OLC Conference Special Issue