Submissions:2019/Building Broad and Diverse Wikipedia Capacity in Institutions of Higher Education: Case Study—the University of Massachusetts Lowell

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This submission has been accepted for WikiConference North America 2019.


Building Broad and Diverse Wikipedia Capacity in Institutions of Higher Education: Case Study—the University of Massachusetts Lowell


Relationship Building & Support
+ Inclusion and Diversity
+ Editor Recruitment & Retention

Type of session:



This panel reports on the Women in Red at UMass Lowell initiative, a program that aims to increase faculty and student digital literacy skills while expanding visibility of notable women at UMass Lowell. At the heart of the initiative is a 10-week Wiki Scholars training for 15 faculty members that will lead to new Wikipedia pages on notable UMass Lowell faculty and curriculum plans to integrate Wikipedia activities in undergraduate and graduate classes. In addition, we will conduct special Wikipedia activities for Lowell’s Women’s Week Celebration, the opening of UMass Lowell’s newly renovated College of Education building (where women were trained as teachers for the region for over a century), and the university-wide 125th birthday celebration. One of our goals is to produce more than 125 new Wikipedia pages over the upcoming year, the majority of which will honor notable women.

In this panel we will discuss what we have learned from the development process about building institutional-wide Wikipedia interest and capacity on our campus. Specifically, we will be discussing: • wibbly-wobbly program planning • the unique nature of Wikipedia’s conflict of interest concerns and the inability of administrators to understand them • finding the right focus for an institutional initiative—inside or outside; • the “Boundary Objects” dilemma in regard to support and funding; • leveraging notable outsiders and engaging key insiders; and, • the importance of showing results.

The challenges facing universities in regard to Wikipedia participation will vary from place to place, but there is much to be learned from detailed accounts of specific higher education contexts where the Wikipedia movement is being addressed from a programmatic perspective.

Academic Peer Review option:


Author name:

Members of the Panel:
  • Judith Davidson, Professor, Research Methods and Program Evaluation Ph.D. Program, College of Education, UMass Lowell
  • Sara Marks, Associate Librarian, UMass Lowell
  • June Lemen, Communications Specialist, Center for Women and Work, UMass Lowell
  • Jami Mathewson, Director of Partnerships, Wiki Education

E-mail address:

Wikimedia username:


Affiliated organization(s):

University of Massachusetts Lowell

Estimated time:

standard panel length

Preferred room size:

no special preference

Special requests:


Have you presented on this topic previously? If yes, where/when?:


If your submission is not accepted, would you be open to presenting your topic in another part of the program? (e.g. lightning talk or unconference session)

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