SPARC Projects

Open Education Leadership Program

Open Education

Empowering Libraries to Lead the Way on Open Education

About the Program

The SPARC Open Education Leadership Program is a two-semester professional development initiative aimed at building expertise and capacity to advance open education in libraries. Over two semesters, the program blends online, peer-to-peer, and project-based learning opportunities to develop participants into subject matter experts with the practical know-how to advance open education initiatives on campus. Each year the program will accept a cohort of fellows, who upon successful completion will receive a certificate and the title of SPARC Open Education Leadership Fellow. The target audience is academic and research library professionals in the U.S. and Canada, with particular emphasis on those early in their careers. In keeping with SPARC’s commitment to setting the default to open, all course content and curricular resources developed for the program will be published under a Creative Commons Attribution license.

2017-2018 Pilot

A pilot of the program is currently underway with a cohort of 14 fellows selected from SPARC member libraries. Pilot fellows are both students and creators, helping to evaluate and improve the curriculum along the way. Fellows will complete the first semester the week of December 11th, and begin work on their capstone projects starting in January.

SPARC Open Education Leadership Pilot Cohort

The SPARC Open Education Leadership Program Pilot Cohort at the 14th Annual Open Education Conference in Anaheim, CA, October 2017.

Program Outcomes

    • Gain foundational knowledge about Open Education and OER across key areas, including definitions, communications, legal aspects, discovery, development, and adoption.
    • Improve leadership and advocacy skills in order to identify and engage stakeholders, navigate campus politics, and build a culture of openness.
    • Develop stronger project management skills by executing a capstone project.
    • Contribute back to the Open Education field by publishing a resource of broader significance to the community.
    • Build a network in the Open Education and library communities, both through a cohort of peers and with mentors and leading experts in the field.
    • Be formally recognized as an expert in Open Education leadership through a letter of recommendation from SPARC and the title SPARC Open Education Leadership Fellow.


SPARC would like to thank the many leaders in the Open Education and library communities who volunteered to mentor one of the SPARC leadership fellow this spring. Potential mentors will be contacted during the week of December 11th as fellows begin to turn in their draft project plans, and all fellow-mentor assignments will be confirmed by January 1st.

Mentor responsibilities:

  • Commit 1 hour per week to working with a fellow during the spring semester.
  • Complete a 2 hour training at the beginning of the semester.
  • Submit monthly updates on the fellow’s progress, and write a final evaluation at the end of the semester.
  • Contribute feedback and ideas about the pilot toward improving the program for full launch in fall 2018.
  • Receive the title SPARC Open Education Leadership Mentor.

We anticipate most mentors to come from an academic library background, but other backgrounds including publishing, teaching, policy, and leadership development are also needed. Selections will be made based on matching the needs and interests of fellows and potential mentors. Fourteen spots are available.

Enroll in the 2018-2019 Cohort

Following evaluation of the pilot, SPARC will roll out the Open Education Leadership Program in the 2018-2019 academic year. Applications to join the 2018-2019 cohort will open in Spring 2018, and SPARC members will be given priority enrollment and a tuition discount. Libraries and library professionals interested in applying for a spot in the program should sign up for the waiting list to be notified when applications open.

For further information, please check back on this page in Spring 2018 or contact Nicole Allen. To keep up with the SPARC Open Education Leadership Program, follow us on social media at @SPARC_NA and hashtag #LeadOER.

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