Online pivot offers new options for Executive Education programs
More than 50 students in the Veterans Program for Politics
and Civic Engagement (VPPCE) are engaging online rather than on campus this
semester. Like educational programs across the world, the program shifted to
virtual learning this fall amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Although Executive Education previously offered hybrid
formats, the unexpected shift spurred by the global health crisis highlights
the potential to quickly expand online delivery formats.
“We were fortunate to have some experience with online
education prior to the pandemic. Our work with the online Executive Master of
Public Administration and other online training programs enabled an easier transition,”
said Steven Lux, director of the Executive Education Program.
VPPCE, a training program for veterans and civilians working
with the military interested in political careers, is a collaboration between
Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families and the
Maxwell School. Eighteen veterans graduated from the program in 2019, its
inaugural year. VPPCE’s 2020 cohort began their program in September and will
graduate in January, followed by ongoing alumni engagement.
Executive Education’s programs for the U.S. Government
Accountability Office and National Security Management Course also shifted to
an online delivery mode this fall. One benefit is the ability to invite
speakers from a larger geographic region, diversifying options and
opportunities for the participants.
Executive Education’s degree programs and Hubert H. Humphrey
Fellowship Program have also created opportunities to engage online. This
summer orientation for new students offered asynchronous content on Blackboard
learning management system in addition to synchronous sessions on Zoom. The 2019-2020
cohort of Humphrey Fellows celebrated its yearlong
program on Zoom in the spring, and
the 2020-2021 cohort of Humphrey fellows
is initially engaging in sessions taking place via Blackboard
and Zoom in advance of their arrival to campus.
Executive Education’s shift to online learning formats
reflects the program’s commitment to providing training to midcareer
professionals no matter the delivery mode. “It’s imperative for the School to
constantly adapt in the face of the trends in adult education that suggest
online learning is becoming more mainstream,” Lux said. “It also complements
Maxwell’s longstanding international engagement.”
While the pandemic’s far-reaching impacts created
challenges, it identified additional opportunities for The Maxwell School,
said David Van Slyke, dean of the
Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University and the
Louis A. Bantle Chair in Business-Government Policy. “Building
community and strengthening connections can be accomplished with intention
using any modality,” he said. “We are committed to preparing leaders for a
complex global community, especially in times such as we currently face.”