Shinta Hernandez

Question #1: Tell me about yourself and how you came to be involved with Open Education.

First of all, thank you for inviting me to be a part of this really important work. I’m honored that I can share with you my experiences and my perspectives about Open and where I think we as a collective whole can progress. As far as my involvement with Open, first of all let me share with you that my background is in public policy. Prior to working in academia, I spent a number of years as a public policy analyst in research and public policy think tank organizations in the Washington DC area; namely the Urban Institute and Westat. While I was a public policy analyst at those organizations, I conducted extensive quantitative and qualitative research studies. I traveled across the United States on site visits to conduct program and policy evaluations including projects like the No Child Left Behind Act, the National Child Abuse and Neglect Study, and the Food Stamp Program Evaluation. All of those are about social policies and social inequities. Then I ventured into the world of academia, starting off as a Sociology instructor at public four-year institutions and two-year higher education institutions in Maryland.

Approaching student success in a holistic, comprehensive and strategic way is what I strive for.

Teaching students in our local communities is near and dear to my heart. Approaching student success in a holistic, comprehensive and strategic way is what I strive for. In Sociology we teach about social and global inequities all the time and we get our students to think about solutions to the issues that plague our societies. It’s fitting for me to continue in this equity work in this current space that I’m in.

Several years ago, Montgomery College received the Achieving the Dream OER Z degree grant. I became involved in that work as a Sociology professor and helped to promote the work throughout my institution. Over time, I started presenting at national conferences on the work that we were doing. Now as a Department Chair of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice, I’ve been in this role for four years, I get to provide leadership and support to my full-time and my part-time faculty in helping them see the benefits of Open. I help them get their feet wet in this space and create opportunities for them to try different ways to incorporate Open in their teaching.


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