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SPARC Projects

Open Education Leadership Program

Open Education

Empowering Leaders for an Open Education Future

Open Education Leadership Program

The SPARC Open Education Leadership Program is an intensive professional development program to empower academic professionals with the knowledge, skills, and connections to lead successful open education initiatives that benefit students. The two-semester program blends online, peer-to-peer, and project-based learning to build a comprehensive understanding of the open education space coupled with practical know-how to take action on campus and beyond. Structured as a fellowship, each cohort becomes a vibrant community of practice that is further enhanced by expert instructors and mentorship support. The program was launched in 2017 and is now enrolling its fourth cohort.

Now Accepting Applications!

Applications are now open for the 2020-21 cohort. The priority deadline is Friday June 19th at midnight local time.

Please consider joining us for an information session at one of the times below. Sessions will include SPARC staff and program graduates and provide ample time for Q&A.

  • Thursday June 4 at 4:00pm EDT / 1:00pm PDT
  • Tuesday June 9 at 1:00pm EDT / 10:00am PDT
  • Thursday June 11 at 2:00pm EDT / 11:00am PDT
  • Tuesday June 16 at 2:00pm EDT / 11:00am PDT
  • Thursday June 18 at 2:00pm EDT / 11:00am PDT

Program Outcomes

The program is designed to benefit academic professionals with any level of experience with open education, including those just getting started with a new initiative and those with more experience looking to take their work to the next level. By putting practice, community, and real-world impact at the center, the program provides an environment where participants, instructors, and mentors learn and grow from both the curriculum and each other.

  • Gain a comprehensive understanding of how to approach the discovery, creation, adoption, licensing, and stewardship of open educational resources and how this connects to open pedagogy.
  • Develop skills to define, communicate, and advocate for open education to a wide variety of stakeholder audiences.
  • Learn how to assess local needs and barriers relating to open education, and design an initiative to address them.
  • Gain practical experience planning, implementing, and assessing an open education project that both has an impact locally and contributes back to the community.
  • Develop as a leader through personalized feedback, mentorship, and peer-to-peer support.
  • Build a network within the open education community, both through a cohort of peers and access to leading experts in the field.

Cohort Profiles

Pilot Cohort Group Picture

2017-2018 Cohort

2018-2019 Cohort

2019-2020 Cohort Profile Picture Array

2019-2020 Cohort

What Fellows are Saying

“The most important takeaway from the SPARC OER Leadership program was the connection it provided for me to my peers in the cohort. One of the hardest parts of getting started is identifying potential partners and collaborators, by going through this program I have built connections with other professionals that will last throughout my career. I can’t overstate how important the bonds we developed through learning and working together in a sustained space has changed the way I work.”
— Amanda Larson, Open Education Librarian, Penn State University

Who Should Consider Applying?

  • Eligible candidates must be employed at a higher education institution or consortium in the U.S. or Canada, or by one of SPARC’s international members. Candidates from SPARC member libraries/consortia will receive priority consideration.
  • The program is now open to all academic professionals with open education responsibilities—including instructional designers, project coordinators, and related roles—in addition to the program’s core focus on library professionals.
  • To be successful in the program, candidates should have job responsibilities or other professional activities that relate to open education during their participation.
  • Candidates should be prepared for a significant time commitment (6-8 hours per week for online coursework in the fall, average 5 hours per week for capstone work in the spring) and have the support of their institution and/or supervisor to participate.

Tuition

SPARC recognizes that all institutions are facing budget pressures and uncertainty due to COVID-19. After consulting our community, we have decided to move ahead with offering the program this year but have worked to reduce costs as much as possible. The 2020-21 tuition rates reflect a more than 20% discount over previous years on account of adjustments, and we will seek to offer as many additional discounts as possible through the application process.  

Tuition is inclusive of both semesters, and covers all costs except attendance at the Open Education Conference (online or in person). Institutions are expected to sponsor tuition on behalf of the accepted applicant, and will be asked to sign a standard enrollment agreement. 

SPARC Member Rate: $1,995 USD / $2,595 CAD

Non-Member Rate: $2,995 USD or $3,995 CAD

SPARC will offer a limited number of tuition discounts for institutions who would not be able to participate otherwise. Applicants can request the form to apply for a tuition discount in their application.  

Conference Travel & COVID-19

Part of the program is attending the annual Open Education Conference together as a full cohort. The conference is planned for November 9-11, 2020, and fellows can either attend online or in-person in Denver, CO. Given the uncertainty around COVID-19, the program will be structured assuming most people will choose to attend online, and we will work to make sure the cohort has a valuable experience no matter how they participate.

Note: Individuals/institutions are responsible for their own registration and travel costs, if applicable.

All other aspects of the program are conducted online, which was part of the program’s original design. Having supported our 2019-20 cohort through the spring semester during COVID-19, SPARC is well-prepared to be flexible and understanding of challenges that fellows may face in their local environments that impact participation in the program, especially during the fall. 

Application & Selection

The application process for 2020-21 is now open. The priority application deadline is Friday June 19th at midnight local time. Candidates who apply before this date will receive decisions by June 30th. Candidates are encouraged to apply early, as the majority of additional tuition discounts will be awarded to priority applicants. After June 19th, applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

The application process involves completing a form with short answer questions about the candidate. We encourage candidates to read the entire form and instructions before beginning your answers or contacting us with questions. 

Selections for the program are made in consultation with the SPARC Open Education Advisory Group, which includes alumni from the program. The selection process gives special consideration to candidates who work at SPARC member institutions, and the process also places emphasis on diversity and inclusion.

Please visit our FAQ for further information. For questions not addressed in the FAQ, please contact Hailey Babb at [email protected]

Instruction

Tanya Spilovoy, Instructor

Tanya Spilovoy, Ed.D. designed and currently leads instruction for SPARC’s Open Education Leadership Program, a first-of-its-kind professional development program to empower librarians as leaders for successful open education initiatives. Tanya designed the program’s curriculum and innovative format that blends online, peer-to-peer and project based learning.

Tanya has a two-decade career in higher education leadership, during which she has led numerous education technology and open education initiatives. Currently, she serves as Director of Open Policy for WCET, where she leads the Z Initiative which focuses on the policy, practice, and implementation of Open Educational Resources in states, systems, and higher education institutions. Previously, she served as the Director of Distance Education and State Authorization at the North Dakota University System where she also led a statewide OER Initiative.

Tanya received her B.A. in English from Union College, a M.A. in Education from Hamline University, and a Doctorate in Higher Education Leadership and Organizational Change from Benedictine University.

Photo of Nicole Allen

Nicole Allen, Director of Open Education

Nicole Allen oversees the Open Education Leadership Program as part of SPARC’s Open Education portfolio. A veteran grassroots organizer and pioneer of the Open Education movement, Nicole infused the curriculum with more than a decade of history and proven strategies for effective change. Nicole manages the mentorship component of the program, and works with fellows to build networks in the Open community.

Nicole was inspired by the idea of open education as an undergraduate student, and has dedicated her career to advancing the vision of a world where everyone, everywhere has access to knowledge. Now an internationally-recognized advocate and leading voice in the movement for Open Education, she has been widely cited in the media and has given hundreds of talks and trainings in more than a dozen countries.

Nicole joined SPARC in 2013 to develop and launch a program on open education. Under her leadership, SPARC’s open education program has been a driving force behind accelerating the Open Education movement within the academic library community. Throughout the last decade, she has spearheaded advocacy efforts that contributed to significant policy victories, including securing Congressional funding for an open education grant program, establishing an open licensing policy at the U.S. Department of Education, and passing state and federal legislation to reform anti-consumer practices by the textbook publishing industry. Nicole’s career began in 2006 at the Student Public Interest Research Groups, following her graduation from the University of Puget Sound with a BA in Philosophy.

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