Nov 212014

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For More Information Please Contact: Meredith Jacob

Creative Commons USA is pleased to announce that longtime open education advocate Hal Plotkin has accepted a position as our first Senior Open Policy Fellow. Plotkin served as a Senior Policy Advisor in the U.S. Department of Education, Office of the Under Secretary, from 2009 to 2014.

Creative Commons USA is the United States’ national affiliate of the Creative Commons Affiliate Network, which works to inform and educate policymakers and the public about the benefits and uses of sharing content through open copyright licenses. In particular, the opportunities and benefits of sharing educational resources through Open Educational Resources in the United States are an area of focus. As Senior Open Policy Fellow, Hal Plotkin significantly increases the profile and capacity of Creative Commons USA to engage in these activities.

Hal Plotkin

During his five years of federal service, Plotkin was widely recognized as a principal architect of the Obama administration’s groundbreaking progress in the area of open education, TAACCCT. As a federal official, Plotkin helped develop and oversee the first major U.S. government job training and education grant programs that require the use of open licenses in order to ensure that members of the public have the right to freely use, reuse, improve, and customize learning materials developed with public funds.

“We are delighted to have Hal join our team as our first Senior Open Policy Fellow,” says Michael Carroll, Professor of Law and Director, Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property at American University School of Law, member of the Board of Directors of Creative Commons and the Public Lead of Creative Commons USA.  “For the past five years, Hal has been a leading voice in promoting open education within the federal government and internationally. Among other initiatives, Plotkin chaired the special session at UNESCO in 2012 that led to the adoption of the Paris-based organization’s Declaration on Open Educational Resources. He also helped initiate and guide the open educational resources research program currently underway under the auspices of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). We are pleased to name someone with Hal Plotkin’s demonstrated ability to shape the national and international dialogue about how technology and open licenses can be used to create more accessible, cutting-edge, cost efficient educational opportunities.”

Prior to joining the Obama administration, Plotkin served as President of the Board of Trustees at the Silicon Valley-based Foothill-De Anza Community College District where, in 2003, he initiated the District’s innovative Policy on Public Domain Learning Materials, which was the first formal governance policy in the nation to mandate administrative support for faculty members who wish to create, maintain, share and improve free and open digital learning materials. He is also the author of Free to Learn: An Open Educational Resources Policy Development Guidebook for Higher Education Governance Officials.

Plotkin started his career as a talk show host on local FM radio in the San Francisco Bay Area in the late 1970’s. He joined the public broadcasting family in 1987 as one of the founding editors of Marketplace, and later served as Silicon Valley Correspondent for and as the Tech Beat columnist for, the web site of the San Francisco Chronicle. Plotkin is the author of more than 600 publications for a wide variety of publishers including Harvard Business School Publishing, Inc. Magazine, International Business magazine and Forbes ASAP. Publications citing Plotkin’s work include Die Welt, Mac Week Japan, Brazil’s 80/20, The Taipei Times, The Industry Standard, Le Monde,,, and The National Review. More recently he has been a contributor to the blogs at the U.S. Department of Education and the White House.

In his new role at Creative Commons USA, Plotkin will be responsible for promoting awareness of newly created federally funded open educational resources, help develop new tools that identify existing resources that can be used to fund and support the creation and continuous improvement of renewable open educational resources, and mentor new emerging leaders of the open education resources movement.

Creative Commons USA is the affiliate of Creative Commons, a global non-profit public benefit organization that provides open licenses and promotes their use to enable collaborative progress in science, education, technology and culture. Plotkin’s position is made possible thanks to generous support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Open Society Foundations.


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