Hal Plotkin is the Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of the Under Secretary of Education (OUS), United States Department of Education. The OUS has responsibility for all U.S. federal higher education policies and programs. Prior to his appointment to the Obama administration, Mr. Plotkin was a trustee and board president at the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, based in Silicon Valley, California, where he shared governance responsibility for two community colleges with a combined enrollment of approximately 45,000 students. Mr. Plotkin is an internationally recognized leader in the field of Open Educational Resources, wrote the first article ever published about Creative Commons, and is the author of “Free to Learn” a widely cited governance guide to the use of Open Educational Resources by public higher education institutions. “Free to Learn” is published with an open license that permits free downloading and distribution.
Mr. Plotkin is a writer, editor and media producer by profession who has published more than 600 articles on business, science, technology and education. His publishers include Inc. magazine, Forbes ASAP, Family Business magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle’s SFGate.com, and CNBC.com, where he served as Silicon Valley correspondent. He is also a founding editor of the American public radio program “Marketplace” and the creator of the non-profit Center for Media Change, Inc., which facilitates public financing of high-quality print and documentary journalism.
At the Department of Education, Mr. Plotkin is responsible for providing advice and leadership aimed at accomplishing President Obama’s graduation goal, which is designed to ensure that the United States will once again have the best prepared, most highly educated workforce in the world by 2020.
Mr. Plotkin is a graduate of Foothill Community College in Los Altos Hills, California and San Jose State University with majors in History and Behavioral Sciences, respectively. He is the first graduate of Foothill Community College to ever serve on its governing board of trustees.