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Summer 2024 - Volume 27, Issue 2

From the Editor

It’s been a year since I retired after 27 years in developing and leading both university and system-wide online learning programs. Now that those of us who got started in distance learning back in the 1990s have “matured,” you may be wondering what life looks like for a former DLA administrator.

Let’s just say it’s even better than I expected. It’s just like Dr. Mike Rogers (longtime USG hero) told me it would be. I still do all the things I love. A little online teaching and assisting with the DLA Conference I started nearly 25 years ago, and a few consultations related to retention and online quality stay in the mix.

Reading and writing (often about education) by the pool or on the beach is part of an ordinary day. But I confess. I sleep late. I travel, exercise more than ever, and lose track of the day of the week. There’s no more personnel issues or grade appeals. No more strange and drawn-out administrative meetings.  My days are 100 percent mine (okay - and my grandchildren’s).

My biggest piece of advice if you are a distance learning administrator looking at the glory land on the other side is to start working on your succession planning. Support and mentor your best with every key issue regarding scalability, student success, financials, core values, secret sauce, and navigating politics. This should take 2-3 years, not 2-3 months.

Then walk away.

They’ll do some things differently, and you’ll very quietly but proudly celebrate their grand triumphs.

I relish the memories of my time as a full-time administrator, but feel more alive and authentic now more than ever. Hope to see you at the DLA Conference in July and we can talk more. Maybe you’re even up for a game of pickleball with me?

Peace to all,

Melanie N. Clay, Ph.D.

OJDLA Editor-in-Chief

June 14, 2024