(San Francisco, California) 12 February 2014 -- The Wiki Education Foundation, a new nonprofit organization that supports the Wikipedia Education Program in the United States and Canada, has named Frank Schulenburg as its inaugural executive director. Schulenburg, formerly senior director of programs at the Wikimedia Foundation, will begin his new role February 18, 2014.
"I look forward to leading the Wiki Education Foundation," said Schulenburg. "We are off to a great start, and will build on the strong success of the Wikimedia Foundation's Wikipedia Education Program to further engage educators, researchers and students to provide more high-quality content for Wikipedia's readers."
Started by the Wikimedia Foundation in 2010, the Wikipedia Education Program encourages students to contribute content to Wikipedia articles on course-related subjects as part of classroom assignments developed by their faculty and instructors. Over the past four years, more than 6,000 students in the United States and Canada have contributed content to Wikipedia as part of the Wikipedia Education Program, adding the equivalent of 36,600 printed pages of content to Wikipedia and significantly increasing the amount of high-quality content that Wikipedia offers its half-billion readers.
In response to that success and to give the program more focused and specialized support, in 2012 the Wikimedia Foundation began a process to spin off the United States and Canada work into its own, independent nonprofit organization. The resulting Wiki Education Foundation was created in late 2013, and Schulenburg will be its first executive director. The Wiki Education Foundation will continue to support the Wikipedia Education Program in the United States and Canada, and will develop additional programs to promote academic research and teaching that engage with Wikipedia.
"I am delighted that Frank has agreed to lead the Wiki Education Foundation as executive director," said Dr. Diana Strassmann, Carolyn and Fred McManis Distinguished Professor in the Practice at Rice University and chair of the board of the Wiki Education Foundation, who began using Wikipedia as a teaching tool in her classes in 2007. "Under Frank’s leadership, the Wiki Education Foundation will continue to expand engagement among educators, students, and Wikipedia, and will continue to diversify the community of Wikipedians, while improving the quality and depth of Wikipedia."
"Frank is the perfect person to lead the Wiki Education Foundation," said Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Sue Gardner. "Frank's a very experienced Wikipedia contributor with a long track record of inventing and leading successful programs that make Wikipedia better and more useful for its readers. I am sorry we will lose him from the Wikimedia Foundation, but I look forward to seeing the Wiki Education Foundation thrive and succeed under his leadership."
A longtime Wikipedian and an employee of the Wikimedia Foundation since 2008, Schulenburg has focused on broadening participation and developing the public understanding of Wikipedia, especially among subject matter experts. He has spoken globally about efforts to increase the relevance of Wikipedia in academia. In 2006, he founded Wikipedia Academy, an event aimed at cultivating dialogue between Wikipedia contributors and academics. In 2009, he initiated the Bookshelf Project, which created the first educational materials for new Wikipedia contributors. In 2010 he designed and implemented the Wikipedia Education Program. From 2012 on he was a member of the executive management team of the Wikimedia Foundation, overseeing the Wikipedia Education Program, Wikipedia Zero, and a new initiative to evaluate the impact of programmatic activities across countries. Schulenburg has been involved with Wikipedia since 2005, both as an author and as a photographer.
The Wiki Education Foundation board conducted an extensive search for an executive director before selecting Schulenburg. The board includes educators from a variety of backgrounds, Wikipedia volunteers, and other key stakeholders. The Wiki Education Foundation is currently supporting university instructors in the United States and Canada. Interested instructors are encouraged to send an email to contactwikiedfoundation.org.
Questions and answers about the announcement can be found here.
About the Wiki Education Foundation
The Wiki Education Foundation supports innovative uses of Wikipedia and related projects in communities of teaching, learning, and inquiry in the United States and Canada. The Foundation aims to improve the breadth, scope, and quality of Wikimedia content; enhance student information fluency; and increase the number and diversity of contributors to the free knowledge movement by engaging educators, researchers, and students. The Wiki Education Foundation has applied for 501(c)(3) charity status.
The Wikipedia Education Program means the end of throwaway assignments and the beginning of real-world impact for students. The premise is simple: Instructors assign their students to contribute to Wikipedia as part of their coursework. The Wikipedia Education Program is a global initiative, with activities in more than 60 countries. The Wikimedia Foundation launched the Wikipedia Education Program in 2011 after a successful pilot. It supports the program with brochures, online trainings, a MediaWiki extension enabling educators to track student work, and other resources.
The Wikimedia Foundation is the nonprofit organization that operates Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. According to comScore Media Metrix, Wikipedia and the other projects operated by the Wikimedia Foundation receive more than 490 million unique visitors per month, making them the fifth-most popular web property worldwide (comScore, December 2013). Available in 287 languages, Wikipedia contains more than 30 million articles contributed by a global volunteer community of roughly 80,000 people. Based in San Francisco, California, the Wikimedia Foundation is an audited, 501(c)(3) charity that is funded primarily through donations and grants.