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This is a Q&A about the Wikimedia Foundation–Wiki Education Foundation joint announcement on February 12, 2014, about Frank Schulenburg's departure from the Wikimedia Foundation to lead the Wiki Education Foundation.
Regarding the Wiki Education Foundation
- What is the Wiki Education Foundation?
The Wiki Education Foundation is a brand-new organization that supports professors and institutions within the United States and Canada that are involved in the Wikipedia Education Program. The Wikipedia Education Program is aimed at bringing Wikipedia editing into classrooms, helping professors develop curriculum that encourages students to edit Wikipedia as part of their courses.
- Who will lead it?
The Wiki Education Foundation announced on February 12, 2014 that Frank Schulenburg will be its new Executive Director. Frank is a perfect choice to lead the new Wiki Education Foundation because he is a longtime Wikipedian, he has a long track record of running successful programs related to Wikipedia and education, he is an experienced nonprofit executive, and he has an excellent close working relationship with the Wikimedia Foundation.
- How was Frank chosen to be ED of the Wiki Education Foundation?
He was chosen by the Board of the Wiki Education Foundation in a process that began in late 2013 and concluded in February 2014.
- Who is on the board of the Wiki Education Foundation?
Diana Strassmann, professor in the Wikipedia Education Program (board chair); PJ Tabit, Campus Ambassador (treasurer); Mike Christie, long-term Wikipedia contributor and Campus Ambassador (secretary); Adrianne Wadewitz, long-term Wikipedia contributor and professor in the Wikipedia Education Program; Chanitra Bishop, Campus Ambassador, Regional Ambassador, and representative of university librarians; Richard Knipel, long-term Wikipedia contributor, Regional Ambassador, and president of Wikimedia New York.
- Where is the Wiki Education Foundation based?
- How many employees does the Wiki Education Foundation have?
Starting on February 18, the Wiki Education Foundation will have two full-time employees, Frank Schulenburg (Executive Director), and Jami Mathewson (Program Manager).
- What will the Wiki Education Foundation’s programs look like? Is it planning to carry out more direct training programs with colleges and universities?
As of now, the Wiki Education Foundation’s classroom program will continue to support educators at universities in the U.S. and in Canada who use Wikipedia as a teaching tool. It will also explore other ways of improving Wikipedia’s content through partnerships with universities.
- What are its origins?
In 2010 the Wikimedia Foundation launched a program called the Public Policy Initiative (PPI), which was aimed at encouraging university professors in the United States to assign their students to write articles on Wikipedia related to public policy topics. That program was English-only and US-only and was limited to the topic of public policy. It was very successful – the students and professors enjoyed it, and Wikipedia grew bigger and better as a result of it. The Wikimedia Foundation felt like the PPI had proved the basic concept was sound and there was potential for it to grow to multiple geographies and topic areas. And so, the Wikimedia Foundation created the Wikipedia Education Program, designed to act as a global central hub supporting people and organizations that wanted to do work similar to the PPI. The Wiki Education Foundation is a natural outgrowth of that work.
- Will the Wikimedia Foundation's Wikipedia Education Program continue to exist?
Yes. The Wikimedia Foundation’s Wikipedia Education Program (sometimes referred to as the Global Education Program) is a central hub that supports initiatives like the Wiki Education Foundation with training materials and expertise of various types. Its scope is global, and its purpose is to support geography-specific organizations such as the Wiki Education Foundation.
- How are the Wikipedia Education Program and the Wiki Education Foundation different?
The Wikimedia Foundation’s Wikipedia Education Program is global in scope and supports geography-specific organizations and individuals with training materials and other expertise related to running educational programs related to Wikipedia. The Wiki Education Foundation's scope is the United States and Canada: it works with universities and others on the ground to run programs related to Wikipedia in an academic setting. The two parts are complementary, and are expected to work together fairly closely.
- Does the Wiki Education Foundation have nonprofit status?
Not yet. It has applied to be a 501(c)(3), but has not yet concluded the process of being recognized by the IRS as such.
- How will it be funded?
Initially the Wiki Education Foundation will be funded by a grant from the Wikimedia Foundation. In July 2013 the Wikimedia Foundation, supported by its Grants Advisory Committee, approved a grant of $147,570 to enable the Wiki Education Foundation to start its work. You can read about the grant here: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:PEG/User:Pjthepiano_-_Wiki_Education_Foundation/US_and_Canada_Wikipedia_Education_Program
- How will it be funded in future?
The Wiki Education Foundation will be seeking additional sources of funding as it establishes itself. These will likely include grants from major donors in the United States.
- How will the Wiki Education Foundation work within the Wikimedia community?
The Wiki Education Foundation will work closely with all stakeholders, including Wikipedians, the Wikimedia Foundation, instructors who participate in activities on Wikipedia, and student editors. The Wiki Education Foundation will also likely send a representative to Wikimania, and they are interested in having good and constructive interaction with other like-minded organizations on the ground in the U.S. and in Canada.
- Is the Wiki Education Foundation eligible for Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC) funding?
At this point, the Wiki Education Foundation is not eligible for FDC funding and has no current plans to apply for funds from the FDC.
- What is the nature of the relationship between the Wikimedia Foundation and the Wiki Education Foundation as organizations?
The Wikimedia Foundation and the Wiki Education Foundation intend to continue to work together in pursuit of our common goal of increasing the creation and distribution of Wikipedia's high quality educational material. The Wikimedia Foundation is really happy to see the Wiki Education Foundation established and wants to support it and its work, through the Wikimedia Foundation staff working on the Wikipedia Education Program. The Wikimedia Foundation’s Wikipedia Education Program team will continue to develop brochures, online training, the Education Program MediaWiki extension, and other help resources that the Wiki Education Foundation program and any other branch of the Wikipedia Education Program globally can adapt and use.
Additionally, the Wikimedia Foundation is also acting as a "fiscal sponsor" for the Wiki Education Foundation. In this specific case, the fiscal sponsorship ensures that the Wiki Education Foundation can receive funds from major donors while its 501(c)(3) status is pending.
Regarding the Wikimedia Foundation
- How does the Wikimedia Foundation feel about Frank leaving?
The Foundation will really miss Frank, but everyone is excited about his new role with the Wiki Education Foundation. This is a loss for the Wikimedia Foundation. But it's a win for the Wiki Education Foundation, and we think also for the global community overall. We think Frank will do a great job as ED of the Wiki Education Foundation, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with him in his new role. We are looking forward to seeing him build an organization that we believe will make Wikipedia stronger and better and more useful for its readers.
- What did Frank do at the Wikimedia Foundation?
Frank was Senior Director of Programs at the Wikimedia Foundation. In that role, he was responsible for three sub-departments. He oversaw the work of the Wikipedia Zero team, a group that develops and executes on partnerships with mobile carriers which provide Wikipedia for free to their customers. He ran the Program Evaluation team, which helps the Wikimedia global community evaluate the success of its programmatic activities worldwide, with the goal of equipping us to increase our collective impact. And he oversaw the work of the Global Education team, which supports geography-specific organizations and individuals with training materials and other expertise related to running educational programs related to Wikipedia.
- Who will replace Frank?
Frank had a unique set of skills that equipped him to be the Wikimedia Foundation's Senior Director of Programs. He is a longtime Wikipedian and Commons contributor who has a long track record of developing and leading successful programmatic activities in the Wikimedia global community, both at Wikimedia Deutschland as a volunteer and at the Wikimedia Foundation as a staff member. To some degree, the job of Senior Director of Programs was custom-created for Frank and his skill set, and we don't think it makes sense to try to recruit a replacement to do exactly what Frank did for us. Therefore, the Wikimedia Foundation will not be hiring someone to be Senior Director of Programs, replacing Frank. Instead, we will use this as an opportunity to restructure ourselves a little.
- What will happen to the Wikipedia Zero group?
The Wikipedia Zero program will move to Product & Engineering, with Carolynne Schloeder reporting to Erik Möller. That will bring the Wikipedia Zero team closer to the teams working on mobile engineering and user interface and design, which we think will result in a better product for Wikipedia readers. The Wikipedia Zero offering will benefit from more design and user experience expertise, and Product & Engineering will benefit from Wikipedia Zero's expertise in user preferences and behaviours in the Global South.
- What will happen to the Wikipedia Education Program staff?
The Wikipedia Education Program will move to Grantmaking, with Rod Dunican reporting to Anasuya Sengupta. The Wikimedia Foundation believes the Wikipedia Education Program is making Wikipedia significantly better and more useful for readers, and so we intend to continue supporting and developing it.
- What will happen to the Program Evaluation and Design group?
The program evaluation group will also move to Grantmaking, with Jamie Anstee reporting to Anasuya. This is a natural fit and an obvious extension to the work Anasuya’s team is already doing. In the next few months, Anasuya's team will be working on creating a framework for learning and evaluation that will best coordinate program evaluation and design with organizational effectiveness and grants evaluation. We hope this will make our support of grantees and partners in the movement that much more effective.