The second Award for Excellence in Open Education goes to… Tara Robertson.

Tara Robertson has consistently championed open resources, open technologies, and open data. What distinguishes her from many others in the field is that which inspired this nomination: her work demystifying and practically connecting open and accessible.

Post by Ben Hyman, University Librarian, Vancouver Island University (VIU)  & Shirley Lew, Director, Library, Teaching & Learning Services, Vancouver Community College

Since July 2012 and until recently, Tara was the Accessibility Librarian at CAPER-BC at Langara College (she has just moved from Langara College to Mozilla, where she’s the Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Partner). In this capacity, Tara was among the dedicated few who worked to connect content to readers with print disabilities in the post-secondary system. Tara instilled open educational resources, open technologies, and open approaches into a traditionally market-based environment. In so doing, Tara was and continues to be a transformation agent.  

Tara co-authored the BC Open Textbook Accessibility Toolkit, which has been translated into French and won the Open Education Consortium’s Creative Innovation award in 2016. The enduring practicality of that toolkit is just one manifestation of Tara’s work in B.C. She was Chair of the organizing committees for two successful conferences: Access Conference 2011 with the theme “Library is Open” and for Evergreen International Conference 2013 with the theme “Open Library Ecosystem”. While a Systems Librarian at Emily Carr University of Art & Design, she successfully advocated the library to migrate to Evergreen OSS ILS, becoming the first academic library to join the SITKA consortium in the province.  

Perhaps, Tara’s greatest contribution is in being a passionate advocate and leader in the open community at large. Tara is sought after as a keynote speaker, presenter, and participant in conferences all over the world that cross library, education, and OER sectors. She speaks with equal authority on issues that range from open and accessible, universal design, to ethics in digital collections. She is a thought-leader, rooted with a strong sense of values and social justice and who also has an ability to get things done.

For all this and more, please help us in thanking Tara for her outstanding advocacy in open education and congratulate her in winning the Award for Excellence in Open Education. Well done, Tara!

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