A Bold Initiative: 2018 KWB Virtual Summit Success

A Bold Initiative: 2018 KWB Virtual Summit Success

(left to right:) Dean of Research and Scholarship Dr. Mark McCaslin and Vice Provost and Executive Dean, Dr. Hinrich Eylers greet more than 80 virtual attendees in the open plenary, August 14, 2018. They are joined by 2017 Distinguish Senior Fellow Dr. Lynne Devnew as they await (far right) Provost Dr. John Woods opening message.

By Erik Bean, Ed.D.
Associate University Research Chair
Center for Leadership Studies & Educational Research

It was an audacious initiative. It led to a collaborative effort the likes of which University of Phoenix stakeholders have never partaken in before. Where many institutions have tried a virtual conference, little celebrated success is known ⧿ until now. Within the Shindig® advanced knowledge sharing platform, nearly 100 of the more than 400 registered EventBright attendees simultaneously logged onto the opening plenary Tuesday, August 14 at 9 a.m. Arizona time. That endeavor dubbed the 2018 Knowledge Without Boundaries (KWB) Summit, heralded by Mark McCaslin, Ph.D., dean of research and scholarship, as a new level of interactive communication and camaraderie. He enthusiastically welcomed the attendees mostly within the contiguous states, but others internationally, an eager mix of School of Advanced Studies doctoral students, faculty, chairs, and other UOPX stakeholders at all degree levels.

A pre-recorded video of UOPX President Peter Cohen awaited the attendees. Cohen hailed the effort and was followed by a live appearance of Provost Dr. John Woods who praised the Office of Scholarship Support (OSS) and the Research Hub administrators work for their timeliness and execution of the four-day event. Vice Provost and Executive Dean, Hinrich Eylers, Ph.D. also played host to an attentive audience captivated by the unprecedented attended virtual introductory session.

The Plenary Amassed

Packed with more than 70 presentations, workshops, and best practices featuring a taste of the five-month signature Dissertation to Publication workshop conducted by Dr. Mansureh Kebritchi, university research chair, Center for Educational and Instructional Technology Research (CEITR) session-upon-session examining issues in diversity by Kimberly Underwood, university research chair, Center for Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Research (CWDIR) and others, and yet more who shared the results of their doctoral student success work. Such work showcased a plethora of a synopsis of qualitative and quantitative published or recently presented studies in the areas of virtual (cyber) teamwork, organizational effectiveness, gender bias, practitioner and field contributions, as well as leadership skills development. Many attendees agreed the breakout sessions were just as insightful as any higher education conference held anywhere.

The Day 1 concurrent breakout session was an enticing selection examining networking as well as community outreach efforts in metropolitan and urban centers such as San Francisco, Detroit, and virtually.  Projects dubbed: Networking the Bay Area: Continuing the Dialog to Promote Scholarship, by Cheryl Burleigh (CEITR), research fellow, Detroit Rising - A Phoenix in the Midwest? by Janice L. Cardwell (http://bit.ly/2iELj5p), UOPX VP and Donna Smith, research fellow, and Leading Virtual Research Teams for Collaboration, Engagement, and Advancement by Underwood and Rehema Underwood, made for outstanding first choices. Six more concurrent sessions kept the three breakout rooms as busy as any hotel conference suites. Hallway traffic? In between each of the Hub research centers and session breaks staffed hospitality rooms to field questions about their fellowships and research projects. Those formal presentations and workshops missed were recorded and archived within the permanent summit proceedings online.

Day 2, 3, and 4 followed with a similar pattern of nine breakouts after a welcoming plenary and another nine for a late morning session and early workshop series (with a fourth breakout room) commencing at 1 p.m Arizona time as well as open hospitality center hours. Traffic meandered in and out of sessions and allowed for many networking opportunities listening to podium speakers or attaching to another attendee for private video conversations.

There is not enough space to pay tribute to the quality and rigor of the numerous scholarly presentations. But most serviceable to the many Hub research affiliates was a review, Reflections of Methodologist on an Innovative Practice, held by Center for Leadership Studies and Educational Research Associate University (CLSER, http://bit.ly/2jS3Zxt) Research Chair Ryan Rominger, Kebritchi, and others from the Research Methodological Group whose purpose is to help School of Advanced Studies (SAS) doctoral students and other stakeholders understand the various research practices to uphold their rigor. According to the Hub site, “Research Methodology Special Interest Group (RM SIG) is a cross disciplinary community consists of committee of methodologists and members who are experts and interested in social science research methods and designs.” A list of the remaining Methodological Group 2018 Webinars is available at the end of this Phoenix Scholar edition.

Rominger, Kebritchi, and McCaslin also presented Student Success in Online Practitioner Doctoral Programs, a reflection of the rigor and attentiveness needed to retain doctoral students. Kebritchi, Rominger, and Liz Johnston hosted Exploring Special Interest Groups (SIG), a panel discussion with several SIG leaders who support professional development in a number of subject matter expertise and scholarly leadership. The latter offering occurred on Day 4 during the afternoon workshop sessions that also included a dialog on the concept of Healthy Leadership presented by McCaslin and Cardwell and finally a long-awaited Professional Engagement to Publication (PEP) workshop conducted by Center for Leadership Studies and Educational Research Associate University (CLSER, http://bit.ly/2jS3Zxt) Erik Bean and Carol Holland, CLSER publication fellow.

The two-part workshop explores the process of finding reputable trade and practitioner publications and how to best match one’s subject matter expertise with their topic needs. A follow-up workshop (dates available on the CLSER Hub) will be held in the last week of September and more workshops will be offered later in the fall. Day 4 also featured an open house roundtable with all research center chairs present including Center for Management and Entrepreneurship, Associate University Research Chair Brian Slaboda, Senior Research Fellow, Center for Organizational Research (COR) James Gillespie, and Center for Global Business and Information Technology Research, Senior University Research Chair (CBITR, http://bit.ly/2MonoIs) Fiona Sussan, to discuss the purpose of the research centers.

The Happening: Shindig Integrated Collaboration Tool

Imagine a traditional conference with a large hall with a presenter’s podium complete with many attendee seats. Now put yourself inside the Shindig, Website platform with three or more podiums for all presenters and instead of seats, each individual audience member’s video conference window oscillates below the presenters. Those above on the podium are clearly seen and heard and can be arranged in a number of visual configurations. Those in the audience can mingle without interfering by adjoining their box to any attendee of their choice. Once adjoined they can chat with one another privately, the best of a real conference with the best of the virtual one. Shindig’s Christopher Downs, Vice President of Higher Education provided support of this important undertaking. Steve Gottlieb, CEO & Founder, later explained their unique collaborative tool this way, “Shindig replicates the dynamics of in-person events at internet scale. Attendees are able to mix, mingle, network and make the conference personally relevant just as if they were attending an in person conference.”


Day four was eagerly awaited by most as Executive Dean Eylers (as part of the dissertation of the year selection committee with Associate Chair, Dr. Bill Beck) was pleased to present several awards to three freshly minted SAS doctorates for outstanding dissertations. Recipient One –

Dr. Kristine F. Meze Burris, whose dissertation was entitled Intrinsic Case Study on the Influences of Social Media Content on a Zoological Organization, was chaired by Sandra Nunn, Ph.D.

“As the Dissertation Chair for Kristi Burtis, I have observed Kristi to be fully dedicated to her dissertation study, as well as the dissertation process.  Her study on the Effect of Social Media on a Zoological Organization was truly unique as it examined how social media not only could impact employees who engaged and consumed social media in the scope of their employment activities, but also how social media could affect perceptions of the zoological organization relative to the public, and how the public reacts to the work of the zoological organization. Given the implications of social media and how the use of this medium can affect people alongside the global community, the study of these perceptions can be valuable to understanding how social media may impact zoological organizations and how these organizations can help correct misconceptions of their work through social media,” Eylers read a prepared statement.

Recipient Two - Dr. Kelly Rhodes, with her study, Influencing Corporate Social Responsibility Decision-Making in a Major League was chaired by forthcoming 2018 Distinguished Faculty Kevin Bottomley, Ph.D. Eylers read from a prepared statement:

“Dr. Rhodes provided a “quality” research product that was grounded in theory and provided a significant contribution to the literature surrounding Corporate Social Responsibility in professional sports (specifically Major League Baseball). The student’s writing skills are some of the best I have seen.  Kelly had several issues to deal with during her dissertation journey, but rose to the challenge with a positive attitude.  Since completing her dissertation I have remained in contact with her and she has been promoted at her University during this time.”

Dr. Scott Gerald Drexler was the third recipient. His dissertation was entitled, Mindful Awareness of Internal and External Influences on HRO Leaders: A Heuristic Inquiry chaired by Elizabeth Young, Ed.D. Eylers read a prepared statement by Young.

“Dr. Scott Drexler was passionate about wanting to understand how HRO responders felt at the moment of decision in a critical situation.  He knew from his own experience as a Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of SEAL TEAM 3 how he had engaged life and death situations; and, upon reflecting on the internal and external influences existing within himself at those “critical moments.” This is where he became curious about how others experienced their own unique critical moments.  Were they mindfully aware of their inner and external influences and how such awareness guided or impeded their actions? This type of highly sensitive inquiry was one that few, if any researchers, have attempted, nor would they be capable of finding volunteers willing to participate in this type of study.”

After each statement, respectively the distinguished alum stepped up to the podium with a simple click of his or her touchpad or mouse. Their response?  Center stage now and sequentially, each alum said they were grateful to have worked with their chairs and were humbled to have been selected and affiliated with University of Phoenix.


The awards turned to four distinguished faculty members. Dr. Lynne Devnew led the award ceremony by recounting the previous year as the first Distinguished Senior Fellow. Devnew ran down a list of many successes building opportunities for more research and with the Women’s Infinity Group aboard the International Leadership Association (ILA) for which she has worked tirelessly for many years now. Devnew highlighted her recent autoethnography study with a number of coauthors published in the Qualitative Report Journal too. Devnew yielded back to Eylers who asked Dr. Kevin Bottomley to grab a Shindig podium first.

Distinguished Faculty Dr. Kevin Bottomley

Center for Leadership Studies and Educational Research Senior Fellow and SAS Lead Faculty Area Chair, Dr. Kevin Bottomley who passionately thanked the SAS and all his colleagues for the honor to work at University of Phoenix. Eylers ran down a list of accomplishments. “Bottomley teaches doctoral research methodology courses and serves as a dissertation committee chair. Dr. Bottomley received his Ph.D. in Leadership Studies from North Carolina A&T State University. His current research focuses on sustainable leadership, decision-making, and Millennials in leadership. Dr. Bottomley is an active member of the International Leadership Association (ILA), Academy of Management (AOM), Interdisciplinary Network on Group Research (INGRoup), and the European Academy of Management (EURAM).  Kevin has an extensive list of refereed published articles and presentations and most recently presented his work in Iceland. Dr. Bottomley recently published a journal article Changing Generations in Today’s Workforce: Leadership Skills for Millennials.  Employment Relations Today.  Kevin has also recently contributed to three book chapters within Grassroots Leadership and the Arts for Social Change, Developing Sustainable Leadership Through Succession Planning and Millennials in Leadership: An Examination of the Practice-Immediacy Model.”

Distinguished Faculty Dr. LauraAnn Migliore

Eylers continued, “Fellow, Center for Learning Analytics, Lead Faculty Area Chair – Research Methodologist, Dissertation Chair, Institutional Review Board (IRB) committee member, Society for Advancement of Management (SAM) member, and Editorial Board Member for the European Journal of Cross-Cultural Competence Management (EJCCM) Dr. LauraAnn Migliore   was next.”  Migliore is published in the areas of personality and cross-cultural research, leadership, corporate governance, and mobile technology. In addition, she has been recognized by Emerald Literati Network for an outstanding academic paper and was awarded Best Paper in Session by peer-review process from the Clute Institute.  LauraAnn is also a prominent contributor to The Phoenix Scholar.” Migliore expressed much humility as she happily expressed the outstanding collaborative nature of UOPX.

Distinguished Faculty Dr. Liz Johnston

“Associate University Research Chair at Center for Educational and Instructional Technology Research (CEITR) Elizabeth Johnston, Ed.D. was the third 2018-2019 distinguished faculty. Johnston has greatly contributed to professional advancement of the researchers at CEITR by leading Diversity Research lab and Teaching and Learning with Arts Special Interest Group (TLA SIG). Diversity Research Lab with 8 research teams focuses on issues related to diversity in education. TLA focuses on the ways that arts enhance teaching and learning and include 8 team projects. Liz is a content analysis methodologist at Research Methodology Group, supports faculty development at CEITR, has been working as reviewer at Dissertation to Publication workshop, and has developed faculty appreciate week at CEITR. She has presented and published many studies related to teaching and learning in higher education. Above all these countless contributions, Liz is a distinguished scholarly leader who has a genuine passion for supporting researchers to reach to the best of their potentials. She deeply cares for success of her colleagues and students,” Eylers said. Johnston was teary eyed and immensely grateful to have been selected.

Distinguished Faculty Dr. James Lane

Finally, Eylers announced the last recipient. “Senior Research Fellow of Center for Educational and Instructional Technology Research (CEITR) Jim Lane, Ed.D also is a distinguish faculty member. Lane has contributed to professional advancement of the researchers at CEITR by leading Professional Responsibility in Education Research Group with a total of 8 research teams and 30 researchers. The projects are related to ethical issues in higher education and K-12.  Jim has also collaborated with many other research teams in Diversity research lab and Teaching and Learning with Arts SIG. Jim is an autoethnography methodologist at the Research Methodology Group and have been working as a reviewer at Dissertation to Publication. He has presented and published many studies related to ethics and morality in K-12 education.  In addition to all these great scholarly contributions, what makes Jim a distinguished scholarly leader is his deep commitment to scholarly success of his students and colleagues. He goes above and beyond the requirements to ensure his learners and researchers receive adequate support to succeed.” Lane too was extremely proud of his relationship with UOPX and his colleagues that has allowed him to continue exploring his subject matter expertise, secondary school administration.

Contests Challenge Learning Outcomes

After several opening and closing day messages including a number of prize winners in a unique crossword puzzle contest (See sample of the more than 10 puzzles here), CLSER’s http://bit.ly/2jS3Zxt) Erik Bean, Ed.D. (http://bit.ly/2iPinHM), prize committee chair, explained the purpose of integrating the JAVA puzzles this way. “Each puzzle contained 8 key terms and clues most significant in the learning outcomes of the presentations created by the authors themselves. By interacting with the crosswords key concepts are reinforced and remembered.” Attendees also could partake in a unique virtual Hub Rally for which registered teams from one to four participants experienced a virtual journey like a traditional road rally based on a number of clues that led to a tour of the UOPX Research Hub and meandered in and out of several Summit presentations and workshops.

During the Day 4 closing session, Bean and Dean McCaslin thanked Senior Research Fellow (CEITR) David Proudfoot, Ed.D, for his outstanding summit platform expertise and prize implementation integration and the Office of Scholarship Support’s Chara Price and Mary Valdez for their expertise in coordinating approvals and posting results. Dean McCaslin also read a numerous list of personnel that made the summit such a success within a short implementation time. Visit the 2018 KWB Summit prize page for a list of crossword puzzle winners and the final Hub Rally results. Lastly, a number of visibility categories allowed for more interactions and kept onscreen appearances unique and memorable. The categories and winners were as follows: 

Category One: Being Active

The MacGyver Award
This award recognizes someone who’s always fixing things even though it’s not in their job description.

Louis Underdahl  

The Fashionista Award
This award recognizes someone who takes their wardrobe game to the next level more often than not. Showing University of Phoenix spirit in accessories or colors is included in this category.

Medgar Roberts (who also contributed the Shindig preparation video)

The Busy Body Award
This award recognizes someone who has attended multiple events on each of the 4 days.

Cheryl Burleigh

The Chatty Cathy Award
This award recognizes someone rigorously engages the audience in a positive manner related to the content so that he or she can interact with the content presentation at a deeper level of understanding. 

Lou Daily

The Social Networker Award
This award recognizes someone who has posted the most 2018 KWB conference updates!  Use the hashtag #2018KWB   These hashtags are also searchable in LinkedIn.

Karen Johnson

Category Two: Screen Time

The Mr. Clean or Ms. Clean Award
This award recognizes someone on screen during the Research Summit who keeps their work space immaculately clean.

Kelly Rhodes

Mark Ludorf, Journal of Leadership Studies editor 

The Green Thumb Award (Our Green Compliance Initiative)
This award recognizes someone on screen during the Research Summit who has the most plants — that are still alive — in their work space.

Jan Otter 

The Most Visual Background Award
This award recognizes someone on screen during the Research Summit who has the most creative visual background. 

 Jan Cardwell

Category Three: Research Hub

New Hub Profile Award
This award recognizes someone who has recently created (within the last month) a Research Hub profile that is comprehensive.

New Research Center Affiliate Award
This award recognizes someone who joins one of our research centers as a new affiliate during the Research Summit as a result of their experience in a center’s hospitality room. One award will be issued from each of the six hospitality rooms which feature our research centers.

These categories were still being tallied at press time. Visit the prize page link listed earlier for final results.


Recent News