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Meet the Open Texas Committee Members: Paul Sharpe (Promotion and Assessment)

Updated: May 11, 2022

Name: Paul Sharpe

Preferred pronouns: he/his

Where do you work?

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

What do you do there?

Dean of Libraries

Where did you go to school?

University of Denver

Where is your hometown?

Lewistown, MO

What might someone be surprised to know about you?

I learned to read at age 3.

How did you get involved with the Open Texas Conference?

Aware of the conference. Responded to the call for volunteers.

What was your first impression of Open Texas?

Great idea and necessary for moving academia forward.

What has surprised you most about working with Open Texas?

The passion of my colleagues for the Open Movement.

What do you find most challenging about coordinating the Open Texas Conference?

Scheduling meetings in Outlook.

What do you wish other people knew about the Open Texas Conference?

Excellent information and great projects can be found all throughout Texas.

Tell me about some of the people you’ve met while working on Open Texas?

It's been great meeting professionals from across the state - each sharing their excitement for the Open Movement. Early career librarians take to this philosophy in such a natural way and can relate to the struggles. More seasoned colleagues feel rebellious in breaking down the barriers we've known for years.

What would you say are some of your strongest beliefs about open education practices?

The work we have helped to create is being leveraged to line the pockets of publishers and large corporations. As libraries work to make every penny count, it hurts to see record profits being made on the backs of college students. We must reclaim educational resources for the good of all.

The interest in open education seems to be growing. Why do you think that is?

Affordability is key. The old business model is unsustainable for students and for higher education. Without breaking things "open", all of higher education will end up either privatized or simply unable to do business. As the wealth gap grows, so does the gap between the educated and the blue collar class. If all good information is behind a paywall, disinformation will flourish.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about presenting or attending Open Texas?

Go for it! We need to hear from everyone. Share your experiences.

What do you think will change about open education in five years?

Hopefully, the Open Movement will drive big changes in the expectations of our students. They will only pursue higher education if it is affordable. Recognition of open education will become a mandate from our current generation of students (something I'm already witnessing on my campus!).

What are your professional goals for the next five years?

1) Survive.

2) Continue to have a positive impact on students and their success.

3) Keep fighting the good fight against disinformation.

What is your personal philosophy on open education?

When I explain the business model of libraries and higher education to today's student leaders, it makes sense to them. They get it! When they see that the system is broken, they still have the energy and resolve to seek solutions. The hopefulness of the young sustains my middle-aged soul.


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