Lessons Learned from the Pandemic: Syracuse University Women Embraced the Online Pivot in Leadership Education

Michele G. Wheatly, La Vonda N. Reed, Marie Garland, Candace C. Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Women are underrepresented in higher education leadership. Many institutions offer women-only programs to bridge the gap to career advancement. COVID-19 has compounded existing gender inequities and raised concern about long-term setbacks for women. Recognizing the need to equip women to enter the postpandemic talent pool, a Women in Leadership program at Syracuse University rapidly pivoted to online delivery in the 2020–2021 academic year. The current paper reports dramatic increases in offerings, quality, and participation during the online pivot compared to in-person programming the preceding year. The pivot broadened access to women and strengthened their networks for career advancement. Integrated programming for academic and administrative staff reinforced a shared leadership model with the ability to learn during a crisis. Programming was nimbly adjusted using trauma-informed design thinking. Online platforms afforded intensive small group discussions, active learning, access to higher profile presenters, and connection with national leadership opportunities. Rapid growth during the online pivot enabled the initiative to bring its vision into focus. Briefly, the online pivot was embraced by women seeking leadership education. In the rush to return to normal and address gender equity in the talent pool, providers of women-only leadership education should consider online delivery as effectual.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-52
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Leadership Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


Dive into the research topics of 'Lessons Learned from the Pandemic: Syracuse University Women Embraced the Online Pivot in Leadership Education'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this