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Program Director, Distance Learning

Posted: 09/01/2023

Sierra College is committed to Guided Pathways to increase student achievement and timely goal completion and to close equity gaps. In that spirit, the Program Director is responsible to ensure areas of oversight afford an inclusive educational and employment environment and are focused on equitable outcomes for all. Under the administrative direction of an assigned Educational Administrator, this position provides leadership and operational direction for the College’s Distance Learning Department. The position designs, recommends, and implements a strategic online education plan using research and data analyses of online student success and enrollment trends and models. The position manages the Distance Learning staff and the operation of the Department and works collaboratively to develop new programs and delivery formats in support of District needs. The position establishes and reviews internal policies and procedures while ensuring compliance with Title 5 and District policies as well as other applicable State and Federal laws and regulations. Additionally, this position creates effective structures for on-going evaluations and reviews, working with others to ensure effective teaching and student success in the online environment.
Sierra College has a strong commitment to the achievement of equity and inclusion among its faculty, staff, and students and values the rich, diverse backgrounds that make up the campus community. The Program Director must demonstrate a profound understanding of, and experience with, successfully supporting individuals with varying backgrounds. This includes persons with disabilities and various gender identities and sexual orientations, individuals from historically underrepresented communities, and individuals from other groups to ensure the District provides strategies for success and pro-active, student-centered practices and policies committed to eliminating equity gaps and promoting a college-going culture.


  1. Manages and leads the operation of the Distance Learning Department and supervises the staff.
  2. Working collaboratively with the assigned AEA, creates, develops, and implements a strategic direction and plan for Distance Learning.
  3. Works with Research and other departments to analyze data associated with student success, equity gaps, and enrollment trends in online and hybrid courses; uses data to enhance and continually update strategic plan for the Department.  
  4. Works collaboratively with Sierra College Instructional Division Deans to ensure effective online teaching and class scheduling; collaborates with Deans to develop online delivery of existing programs as appropriate and to standardize implementation of distance learning policies and processes across divisions.
  5. Works with Professional and Organizational Development to ensure effective and up-to-date professional development and training for faculty and staff.
  6. Ensures compliance with accreditation standards and state and federal requirements for online education.
  7. Completes all reports for California Community College Chancellor’s Office and other areas as needed. 
  8. In alignment with District student success and equity goals, establishes, monitors, and reports on programmatic goals for Distance Learning program, including targets for student and courses, equity specific goals, and student success metrics. Collaborates with College stakeholders to synthesize goals and data for program improvements and adjustments.
  9. Manages Distance Learning budget with assistance from designated Administrative Assistant.
  10. Works with Distance Learning and Instructional Technology, an Academic Senate standing committee, for their advice and recommendations for short and long-range plans and goals for Distance Learning programs, assessment, policies and procedures, professional development, and equity efforts.
  11. Interprets, articulates, implements, and monitors compliance with federal and state requirements, local Board and Administrative Policies, applicable human resources, and business services processes.
  12. Attends, participates, and represents the college in relevant Distance Education/learning and/or educational technology professional conferences, associations, and trainings. Maintains awareness of new trends and developments regarding the field.
  13. Stays current on all new developments in the field by participating in state-wide and national associations for DL development.
  14. Performs other related duties as assigned.
MINMIMUM QUALIFICATIONS: The following describes the education, experience, knowledge, skills and abilities required to enter the job and successfully perform the assigned duties.
Education and Experience GuidelinesAny combination of education and experience that would likely provide the required knowledge and abilities is qualifying. A typical way to obtain the knowledge and abilities would be:
A Master’s degree from an accredited college or university, preferably in educational technology, instructional design, online teaching and learning, multimedia or other related degree.
  • At least three (3) years of experience or the equivalent working in Distance Learning or Instructional/educational technology programs                     

  • At least two years of increasingly responsible supervisory or equivalent experience within a Distance Learning or Educational Technology program .

  • At least two years of work in administration or the equivalent within an educational program. Experience teaching in the online environment highly desirable.


Knowledge of:

  • Current directions, issues, and developments in Distance Learning.
  • Equity-minded practices that support increased student success and the closing of equity gaps in a distance learning environment.
  • Higher education metrics, such as student success and retention, time to completion, etc.
  • Schedule planning and development.
  • Pertinent federal, state. and local laws, codes, and regulations pertaining to online education, including accessibility.
  • Methods to successfully support individuals with varying backgrounds, which includes persons with disabilities, various gender identities, sexual orientation, individuals from historically underrepresented communities, and other groups.
  • Current developments, issues, and concerns with the online classroom.
  • Current developments in online teaching.
  • Collaborative problem solving and conflict resolution techniques.
  • Accounting and budgeting methods, audit procedures, statistics, and data interpretation
  • Management concepts and practices, including change management, organizational and motivational  techniques.
  • Personnel management practices and techniques of supervision and staff evaluation
  • Employment processes, collective bargaining processes, data collection, and report writing.
  • Laws, regulations, and legislation relevant to assigned program areas.

Ability to:

  • Manage and direct the activities of and provide effective leadership for a Distance Learning program.
  • Envision, develop, and maintain short and long-term strategic plans.
  • Collaborate effectively with partners across the District.
  • Coordinate and direct student success programs for general and specific identifiable student populations.
  • Apply an equity-minded framework and ensure programs, services and processes are designed and delivered to assist with the recruitment of and support the varying needs of all students.
  • Supervise, organize, and review the work of assigned staff involved in the development, implementation, and evaluation of Distance Learning.
  • Recommend and implement goals, objectives, policies, and procedures for the Distance Leaning Department. Analyze problems, identify alternative solutions, project consequences of proposed actions, and  implement recommendations in support of goals.
  • Participate in the preparation and administration of assigned budgets.
  • Promote comprehensive solutions involving a diverse body of stakeholders.
  • Stay professionally active within the State and national distance education environments.
  • Conduct ongoing research and evaluation of best practices.
  • Identify and respond to sensitive organizational issues, concerns, and needs.
  • Plan, organize, direct, and coordinate the work of assigned staff.
  • Compile data and prepare accurate reports.
  • Demonstrate an awareness and appreciation of the cultural diversity of the community.
  • Adhere to critical deadlines while working with frequent interruptions.
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships.
  • Commit to equity and student success.
  • Interact and work effectively with a diverse population utilizing exceptional interpersonal and intercultural skills.
  • Perform consistently under the pressure of deadlines and other administrative demands.
  • Plan and manage in an environment of participatory governance.
  • Demonstrate integrity and consistency.
  • Communicate effectively verbally and in writing.
  • Effectively coordinate group work efforts.
  • Effectively utilize social/interpersonal skills.
  • Utilize listening and negotiating skills.
  • Interact effectively with District faculty and staff, and the community.
  • Set priorities and establish goals and objectives.
  • Organize work and manage time effectively.
  • Conduct effective meetings.

PHYSICAL DEMANDS AND WORKING ENVIRONMENT: The conditions herein are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential job functions.
Environment: Work is performed primarily in a standard office setting and requires occasional travel to local high school districts and campuses.
Physical: Primary functions require sufficient physical ability and mobility to work in an office setting; to stand or sit for prolonged periods of time; to occasionally walk, stoop, bend, kneel, crouch, reach, and twist; to lift, carry, push, and/or pull light to moderate amounts of weight; to operate office equipment requiring repetitive hand movement and fine coordination including use of a computer keyboard; and to verbally communicate to exchange information.
Vision: See in the normal visual range with or without correction; vision sufficient to read computer screens and printed documents; and to operate assigned equipment.
Hearing: Hear in the normal audio range with or without correction.

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