Educator, activist, and author John Willinsky has been named Virginia Tech’s Distinguished Innovator in Residence for the 2013 fall semester.

Willinsky will visit Virginia Tech in this month to deliver the keynote address during University Libraries’ Open Access Week, which will highlight the movement towards providing public access to research and scholarship, and to visit classrooms, consult with faculty, and meet with student research groups.

“Professor Willinsky has been a consistent thought leader, organization builder, and source of great energy for unfettered access to scholarship in a digital networked environment,” said Dean of University Libraries Tyler Walters. “The academic community and the general public have both benefited greatly from his work. We hope that many Virginia Tech faculty, students, and administrators will enjoy interacting with him as we discuss how university research can improve its societal impact through rapid, barrier-free access.”

Willinsky’s keynote address, “What Is it About the History of Learning that Calls Out for Open Access to Research and Scholarship?” will be held Thursday, Oct. 24, at 5:30 p.m. in the Graduate Life Center at Donaldson Brown Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

"I’m delighted to be able to join Virginia Tech as a Distinguished Innovator in Residence and for its celebration of Open Access Week,” said Willinsky. “Developments at this school were an early source of inspiration for my own work in finding new ways to increase public access to research and scholarship."

Willinsky is currently a Khosla Family Professor of Education at Stanford University. As an advocate for open access to research, he directs the Public Knowledge Project, which conducts research and develops publishing software intended to expand the reach and effectiveness of scholarly communication. 

Willinsky is also an accomplished author of several books, including “Empire of Words: The Reign of the OED,” “Learning to Divide the World: Education at Empire’s End,” “Technologies of Knowing,” and “The Access Principle: The Case for Open Access to Research and Scholarship.”

The Distinguished Innovator in Residence program is a partnership between University Libraries and Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Strategies that brings great thinkers and leaders in the world of technological innovation to Virginia Tech. Each semester, an innovator visits campus to assist student research groups, visit classrooms, consult with faculty, and deliver a speech.

“This semester’s Innovator in Residence provides a unique opportunity to explore open access publishing with one of its leading advocates,” said Anne Moore, associate vice president for Learning Technologies. “We are pleased to partner with University Libraries in this important discussion of the value of public research that extends beyond traditional academic environments — a discussion well underway in institutions at home and abroad today. As important, we hope to encourage the kind of creativity and innovative practices that are at the heart of a developing arena of open, networked scholarship.”

For the keynote address in the Graduate Life Center, free parking is available after 5 p.m. in the Squires Lot, located at the corner of College Avenue and Otey Street, or in the Architecture Annex Lot also on Otey Street. Parking meters within the Squires Lot will need to be paid. Find more parking information online or call 540-231-3200.