Press Release

New Publication Presents Evidence-based Strategies for Aligning Open Educational Resources with Campus Goals for Diversity, Equity, and Student Success

Washington, DC—The American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) today released Leveraging Open Educational Resources to Advance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: A Guide for Campus Change Agents, a new digital publication that provides practical, evidence-based strategies for aligning OER and DEI in ways that advance the objectives of both initiatives.

Adopting open educational resources, or OER, can be an effective strategy for meeting campus equity goals. In addition to saving students (and institutions) money, making free educational materials available for faculty and students to use, customize, and share can level the academic playing field, narrow performance gaps, and reduce failure and withdrawal rates. Yet, despite the similar outcomes sought by both, intentional connections are seldom made between OER initiatives and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives.

“Integrating OER and DEI goals requires moving beyond a focus on expanded learning access and affordability to an emphasis on equitable student outcomes, the retention of underserved students, and an enhanced sense of belonging among those whose perspectives have been excluded or marginalized within the curriculum,” said AAC&U President Lynn Pasquerella. “The authors provide campus OER advocates with evidence-based guidance on how to sustain and accelerate their efforts by evoking myriad benefits of OER and intentionally collaborating with, and connecting to, institutional DEI efforts.”

This new publication draws on the results of a recently concluded research project designed to discover, document, and disseminate strategies for aligning OER initiatives and DEI goals. Funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the project examined how OER and DEI can most effectively be connected as well as how to assess the impact of those connections on institutional culture, policy, and curriculum; on teaching and learning; and on student success. The research focused on the sixty-six colleges, universities, and state systems that participated in AAC&U’s inaugural yearlong Institute on Open Educational Resources (2021–22).

Leveraging Open Educational Resources to Advance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is co-published by the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME), a global education nonprofit working to make learning and knowledge-sharing participatory, equitable, and open. It is authored by C. Edward Watson, associate vice president for curricular and pedagogical innovation and executive director of open educational resources and digital innovation at AAC&U; Lisa Petrides, CEO and founder of ISKME; Anastasia Karaglani, research associate at ISKME; Selena Burns, senior research associate at ISKME; and Judith Sebesta, former vice president of ISKME Labs.

Leveraging Open Educational Resources to Advance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: A Guide for Campus Change Agents is available now for free download.

About AAC&U

The American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) is a global membership organization dedicated to advancing the democratic purposes of higher education by promoting equity, innovation, and excellence in liberal education. Through our programs and events, publications and research, public advocacy, and campus-based projects, AAC&U serves as a catalyst and facilitator for innovations that improve educational quality and equity and that support the success of all students. In addition to accredited public and private, two-year, and four-year colleges and universities and state higher education systems and agencies throughout the United States, our membership includes degree-granting higher education institutions in more than twenty-five countries as well as other organizations and individuals. To learn more, visit