The Wikimedia Foundation's Public Policy Initiative staff and Advisory Board members (from L-R): Board Member Robert Cummings, Head of Public Outreach Frank Schulenburg, Board Member Mary Graham, Campus Team Coordinator Annie Lin, Public Outreach Officer Pete Forsyth, Education Programs Manager Rod Dunican, Board Member Barry Rubin, Research Analyst Amy Roth, Board Member Rod Schneider, Communications Associate LiAnna Davis, and Board Member Wayne Mackintosh.
We are very pleased to announce that eight experts from the academic, nonprofit, and wiki communities have volunteered to join the Public Policy Initiative Advisory Board:
- Barry Bozeman is the Ander Crenshaw Professor and Regents’ Professor of Public Policy at the University of Georgia. His research interests include science and technology policy and higher education policy.
- Michael Carroll is professor of Law and director of the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property at American University’s Washington College of Law and one of the founding board members of Creative Commons.
- Robert Cummings is assistant professor of English and director of the Center for Writing and Rhetoric at the University of Mississippi. He is also the author of the book “Lazy Virtues: Teaching Writing in the Age of Wikipedia.”
- Charles Cushman is associate dean of the Graduate School of Political Management at the George Washington University and one of the professors to participate in the Initiative this fall.
- Mary Graham is co-director of the Taubman Center for State and Local Government at Harvard University. She’s also the co-author of “Full Disclosure: The Perils and Promise of Transparency.”
- Wayne Mackintosh is founding director of the International Centre for Open Education based at Otago Polytechnic, New Zealand, and member of the Board of Directors of the Open Education Resource Foundation. He is also a member of the Wikimedia Foundation’s advisory board.
- Barry Rubin is a professor and Public Finance and Policy Analysis faculty chair in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University, and another participant in the program this fall.
- Rob Schneider is the director of External Relations for Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports.
Our advisory board will provide feedback and approval on the work we are doing to improve Wikipedia, ensure our approach is appropriate, and identify opportunities for academic research built on the data generated by the Initiative.
“The Public Policy Initiative is an insightfully clever project because it connects Wikipedia’s processes and experience of open peer collaboration with the traditional university sector working at the heart of the education endeavor: to share knowledge freely and collectively improve the quality of learning for all,” says Wayne Mackintosh.
Professors on the advisory board see enormous connections between Wikipedia and higher education.
“Wikipedia operates as a community of practice, and one of the goals of higher education is to train and educate students to the point where they can participate in communities of practice,” says Robert Cummings. “Wikipedia collects and presents an incredible volume of knowledge, which is consistent with the goals of higher education. I’m excited to participate in the beginning of this collaboration between Wikipedia and higher education, something that could continue for decades.”
“Wikipedians share with those of us in the academic community a passion for building the world’s knowledge and a commitment to fairness and verification in our writing,” says Mary Graham. “Our work on the promise of transparency, based at the Harvard’s Kennedy School, has re-enforced our belief that an informed citizenry is our greatest hope for a more just and humane world. It has also led us to be deeply concerned about misinformation and deception, even in this our Information Age. Students all over the world have long formed a core of Wikipedia’s strength. It is a privilege to participate in a small way in helping to expand that core.”
Barry Rubin, who is participating in the program this fall with his class at Indiana University, agrees.
“Wikipedia is one of the most amazing and historic projects of our time. I am delighted to be part of an effort that can aid in its development,” he says. “The Public Policy Initiative is one area where I can contribute directly in improving the quality of information that Wikipedia makes available in a global context.”
Rob Schneider of Consumers Union also sees the Public Policy Initiative as a great way to bring knowledge his organization helps spread to everyone.
“The Public Policy Initiative is a great opportunity for Consumers Union to understand and help guide how content on Wikipedia is developed,” he says. “As a fellow nonprofit with a public policy mission, we are excited to find ways to help create a wealth of unbiased information.”
The advisory board is meeting for the first time this week in the Wikimedia Foundation’s San Francisco offices. Board members are offering input on the work we’ve done so far for the Initiative and helping us brainstorm answers to some of our big questions.
“We extend deep gratitude to the Advisory Board for their service, and we welcome them to the Public Policy Initiative,” says Frank Schulenburg, Head of Public Outreach for the Wikimedia Foundation. “We’ve already gained highly valuable insight from the Advisory Board members, and we look forward to engaging with them throughout the next year.”
LiAnna Davis, Communications Associate, Public Policy Initiative