Dear Wikimedia New York City,

As many of you know, I'm part of the Wikimedia Foundation's Public
Policy Initiative, a pilot program to find better ways of getting
teachers and their students to contribute to Wikipedia and of
mobilizing the volunteer community to support such students and
teachers as "Wikipedia Ambassadors".

Right now, we're recruiting professors for the spring semester (the
second, and last besides possibly the summer term, wave of classes
before the pilot program ends and turns the future of the ambassador
program entirely to the volunteer community).  The basic way that
we're going about spreading the ambassador program is by selecting and training
volunteers who will serve as "Campus Ambassadors" to provide local
support to professors doing major Wikipedia assignments in their
classes.  A couple of ambassadors from each region where we have participating
professors will be brought to San Francisco in early January for a two-day
'train the trainers' program, and then return to their own regions to
run ambassador training events for other volunteers.  For future
terms, the ambassadors will be in charge of figuring out how to train
new sets of campus ambassadors, and how fast it is feasible to spread
the program.

I think it would be a shame not to get a foothold for the ambassador
program in the NYC area for this next term.  Given the concentration
of Wikipedians and the strong interest in Wikimedia ambassadorship in
the general sense, having an ambassador training event in NYC makes
sense.  For that to happen for the spring term, though, we need to
find NYC-area professors who teach public policy-related courses and
want to participate in the Public Policy Initiative.  We have one
prospect at NYU, but don't yet have a verbal commitment on that.  But
most of the WMF staff focus for the coming term is on recruiting from
women's and minority colleges and universities, and I don't anticipate
we will spend much time trying to find professors in the New York
area.  Which gets to the point of this message:

Please help recruit one or more professors who teach public
policy-related courses to participate in the Public Policy Initiative
for the spring semester.  This page [2] has an example email you can
use to contact professors.  Later this week, we should have the new
versions of the "memorandum of understanding" and assignment
guidelines that we are asking professors to sign and use for designing
assignments, respectively.  Those, as well as this example syllabus
[1] can be used to give potential participants a good idea of what the
program is about and what it will involve on their part.  If you find
professors who are interested and make the initial contacts, then pass
the conversation on to Annie Lin (, the Campus Team
Coordinator for the project; she will handle the final stage of
securing commitments and discussing the final versions of the
requirements, etc.

The soft deadline for putting interested professors in touch with
Annie is next Friday, 19 November.

If we can get to the point of verbal commitments from NYC professors,
then we can start identifying and selecting campus ambassadors in the
area, including someone to come to SF and return to lead a training
event in NYC in January.  The basic plan is to have the training
events be open to all interested Wikimedians who think they would
benefit from it, not just those who are selected to be campus ambassadors.

Please keep Annie Lin informed of interested instructors and feel free
to contact me about questions and/or let me know if you're trying this
out.  Thanks!

-Sage Ross

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[2] =

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