OER Steering Committee named

May 4, 2016

A group has been named to set the direction for Open Educational Resources within the North Dakota University System.

Implementing OER has progressed forward significantly after receiving widespread support from state lawmakers and the university system’s network of 11 public colleges and universities. Partnered with the Open Textbook Network at the University of Minnesota, NDUS’ drive to increase awareness and implementation of OER throughout the system has already saved students money on textbook costs.

Grants have funded OER projects throughout the university system, with Mayville State University, University of North Dakota and Valley City State University all showing savings already.

– See more at OER use to save students money.

Members of the new OER Steering Committee are listed below.


tbeadleRep. Thomas Beadle
N.D. Legislature

Thomas Beadle is an elected state legislator from North Dakota serving in the House of Representatives on behalf of District 27 in Fargo. Thomas graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead with a bachelors in Economics in 2009, and was elected to the state legislator in 2010. He serves on the Industry Business and Labor Committee, the Political Subdivisions Committee, and serves on the interim Higher Education Funding Committee and the Economic Impacts Committee. In addition to serving in the legislature, Thomas is a Commercial Realtor with KW Commercial.


Whitchurch, Michael 05 1302-02 HBLL Harold B Lee Library Department Portraits. February 13, 2013 Photo by Bella Torgerson/BYU © BYU PHOTO 2013 All Rights Reserved photo@byu.edu (801)422-7322

Michael J. Whitchurch, MLIS
Harold B. Lee Library
Brigham Young University

Michael J. Whitchurch is the Virtual Services Librarian at Brigham Young University where he manages the virtual services provided through the library website. In addition, he is the point-person for Open Education Resources. Formerly he has professional experience in mobile services and has a passion for instructional services.
He received his MLIS degree in 1999 from the LEEP program of the Graduate School of Library and Information Sciences (GSLIS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Whitchurch has served locally and nationally on many committees and groups including as the founding member of the Information Commons Discussion group in ACRL and Awards Committee Chair for multiple years.
“Open education resources provide opportunities for students to graduate faster, with reduced financial stress and with less debt to be prepared for a less financially encumbered future,” Whitchurch said.



Matt KoppMatt Kopp
University of North Dakota

Matt Kopp serves as the Student Body President at University of North Dakota. He is a senior majoring in political science and economics and will attend the UND School of Law beginning in the fall of 2016. He is a proud member and former chapter president of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, and recently represented undergraduate students on the UND Presidential Search Committee.
He believes that with the increasing cost of attending college, open educational resources provide much-needed financial relief to current students and are critical to ensuring that future generations of North Dakotans have access to an affordable education.


Tanya GroszDr. Tanya Grosz
University of Northwestern – St. Paul

Dr. Tanya Grosz works for the University of Northwestern – St. Paul as the Dean of Graduate, Online, & Adult Learning. She began her career teaching English at a large, suburban high school and transitioned to Northwestern where she completed a doctorate in e-Learning and Teaching Online and continues to teach literature online.
Dr. Grosz is honored to serve on the NDUS OER Steering Committee because open resources remove cost barriers and increase accessibility to learning for students while providing them with the most current and robust learning resources. NDUS is to be commended for pioneering open resources and providing grants so early in the open movement.


VanHornDr. Shannon VanHorn
Valley City State University

A full professor and currently the Director of Distance Learning and Faculty Development, Dr. Shannon VanHorn works with faculty in developing courses using best pedagogical practices, as well as integrating technology. Previously, she was the Chair of the Communication Arts Department at VCSU.
VanHorn earned three degrees from North Dakota State University: A Bachelor of Science in English Education, a Master of Science in Organizational Communication and Public Relations, and a Doctorate in Communication.
Dr. VanHorn is a current member of the Educational Policies Board of the National Communication Association and has served that organization in several capacities, including Chair of the Donald P. Cushman award and of the Human Communication and Technology Division. She is also Chair of the Communication, Speech, and Theatre Association of North Dakota and is a past editor of the Journal of Communication, Speech, and Theatre of North Dakota.
“OERs provide freedom to students and faculty throughout the NDUS system as students are better able to afford their education and faculty are not tethered to one source in which to create their courses,” VanHorn said.


Nicole-AllenNicole Allen
Director of Open Education, SPARC

Nicole Allen is the Director of Open Education for SPARC. In this role she leads SPARC’s work on the issue area of Open Education, with a dual focus on public policy and engaging the library community to advance this issue on campus.
Allen is an internationally recognized expert and leading voice in the movement for open education. Starting during her own days as a student, she has worked tirelessly to elevate the issue of college textbook costs and access to education into the public spotlight and to advance openness as a solution in both policy and practice. Drawing on her unique perspective as both a Millenial—the same generation as today’s college students—and a professional with more than a decade of experience in this field, she has been widely cited in the media and has given hundreds of talks and trainings in more than a dozen countries on open education, open policy, and grassroots advocacy.
Her career began in 2006 with the Student Public Interest Research Groups, where she worked with college students across the United States to organize numerous large-scale grassroots campaigns on college affordability and related issues. In 2013, Nicole joined SPARC to develop and lead a new program on open education, which has since evolved into a national network of more than 100 academic librarians and a robust advocacy portfolio spanning state, national and international policy. She also continues to work with students through the Right to Research Coalition and as part of the organizing team for OpenCon.
Allen graduated from the University of Puget Sound in 2006 with a Bachelors of Arts in Philosophy. Currently she splits her time between her home in Providence, RI and SPARC’s headquarters in Washington, DC.


PaschkeGreta Paschke
Mayville State University

Greta Paschke is an Instructor of Music at Mayville State University and represents the ND Council of College Faculties (CCF).
She received her B.S. in Composite Music Education from Mayville State University in 1985 and taught K-12 Music in several ND schools. She also obtained a B.S. in Biology & Chemistry from Mayville State University and a M.S. in General Education Studies from the University of North Dakota.
Paschke has been an instructor at MSU for 17 years, teaching everything from Biology and Natural Sciences to Music and North Dakota Studies. She also directs musical theater at MSU and founded a theater group of women, known as the Drama Queens, that raise funds for the MSU Theatre. Paschke is a student in the Music Education program at UND. She lives in Mayville, with her husband Perry, and is active in church and community activities.


20160202_ND_HS_1088-EditDr. Tanya Spilovoy,
Director of Distance Education and State Authorization, NDUS

Dr. Spilovoy is Director of Distance Education and State Authorization for the North Dakota University System. She leads North Dakota’s 11 public institutions in distance and online education. She is also the regulator for post-secondary, degree-granting institutions. Tanya serves on the MHEC-SARA Steering Committee and the WICHE-WCET Steering Committee. Tanya is leading the Open Educational Resources Initiative for the NDUS. She is interested using technology to creating opportunities for student access and success in higher education.