Introducing the OTN’s New Community Manager: Mark Sheaves

Image on the right: Profile picture of Mark Sheaves taken outside.
Text: Mark Sheaves. Community Manager. 
Logo text: Open Textbook Network.

Oh, hey, Open Textbook Network Community!

Mark Sheaves here, the OTN’s new community manager. And to say that I am thrilled to be here would be an understatement. 

Wow, what an absolute privilege it is to join this vibrant community and support all of your fantastic work advancing open textbooks.

I’ve watched the work of the OTN with admiration from afar, but having worked closely with Sarah, Karen, Dave and Barry these past few weeks it is clear just how impressive and important the achievements of this dynamic community really are.

And how much more work there is to be done to support access and equality in education. 

Principally, I’ll be helping with a website redesign, managing social media, developing a library of materials for OTN members, and working on processes to support on-boarding, coordinate campus visits and OTNSI.

Text: Mark Sheaves. Community Manager. To-do list:
Support the OTN Community! 
Website redesign
Member portal 
Manage social media
Develop library of materials for OTN members
Enhance processes to support on-boarding, coordinate campus visits and OTNSI.
Tell your OER success stories.

And, one area I am extremely excited about is working with you all to  highlight the extraordinary OER success stories from your campuses. I know you have a wealth of stories to tell, and I can’t wait to touch base with you.

A little about me:

I am from Oxford, England where I grew up on a healthy diet of listening to hometown band Radiohead, dreaming of becoming a bohemian novelist – I am always happy to chat about the pages gathering dust in my draw from this period of life – and following Chelsea football club. 

Image of Mark Sheaves wearing red and black plaid shirt and grey baker-boy hat posing next to the bridge of sighs in Oxford, England.

I now live in Lawrence, Kansas with my wife Hannah, a cat named Gus and two dogs: a basador called Ivy and a labradoodle called Charlie.

Image left: Charlie, a cream colored labradoodle looks at the camera. 
Image right: Ivy, a black basset hound-labrador mix rests her head on the arm rest of a patio chair.

I studied history to ABD status at UT Austin with a focus on the little-known scientists, thinkers and travelers of the early modern Atlantic world. Here’s a link to a chapter I researched and wrote in a book that I am very proud to have been involved in.

My professional journey started in 2007, when I took my first role in higher education brimming with energy to improve the experiences of all students. I was fresh out of university, and still had a lot to learn about how the higher education sector worked and where I could best contribute.

Eleven years later, and with higher education experience as a project manager, event coordinator, social media strategist and communications manager, I have been exposed to the many challenges faced by higher education. But none has felt as pressing as the need for freely available, high-quality academic resources in an age of spiraling costs. The desire to support and enhance access to education for all students is why I am so thrilled to be the OTN’s Community Manager.

Truly, I am so excited to work with you all to support and enhance access to education for all students and to help tell the story of your great work through a range of strategic communications.

Onwards, together!

Cheers!

Mark Sheaves

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