Regional Ambassadors are crucial leaders in the Wikipedia Ambassador program, and represent a huge step in efforts to transition more and more of the central leadership roles in the program from Wikimedia Foundation staff to Ambassadors. We have divided the U.S. and Canada into different "regions" based on expected class activity levels in different parts of the country (with focus on balancing the activity levels across all the regions as much as possible), and each region will be coordinated by one or two Regional Ambassadors responsible for that area. Canada is currently considered as its own region. More details about the Regional Ambassador role are below, but in a nutshell – Regional Ambassadors will be responsible for mentoring professors during the assignment design process, assisting professors with Campus Ambassador recruitment, maintaining an advisory relationship with professors and Campus Ambassadors during the term, and facilitating communication among different stakeholders (professors, Campus Ambassadors, Online Ambassadors, Wikimedia staff, etc.).
This is a leadership role with great opportunities for developing team management, community organizing, and public outreach skills. It also provides participants with significant professional-networking opportunities, especially in the education and open-source community.
The time commitment for this role is approximately 5 hours a week. We strongly encourage all Ambassadors to apply.
Note: the Fall 2012 term has a new set of responsibilities for Regional Ambassadors, based on past feedback. Here are the specific expectations for each Regional Ambassador, and new things often come up during the term.
- After completing online orientation, you will mentor potential professors in your region while they complete the process of joining the Education Program and design their Wikipedia assignments
- Advise your professors as they recruit and select Campus Ambassadors
- If not already a Wikipedia editor, you should create a user account and familiarize yourself with the editing processes and policies, even outside of training.
- Coordinate an online video meeting with all of the Campus Ambassadors in your region to discuss plans and goals for the semester as well as answer questions the Campus Ambassadors may have after they complete their online orientation
- After Online Ambassadors are paired with your classes on September 3rd, facilitate communication among Online Ambassadors, Campus Ambassadors and professors in your region
- Conduct periodic email/phone/video check-ins with your professors and Campus Ambassadors during the academic term to facilitate performance and good relations among professors and Ambassadors
- Facilitate communication among stakeholders (professors, Ambassadors, Wikimedia community members, other interested individuals), both within your region and between your region & other regions
- Check in at least weekly to your classes' MediaWiki course pages to monitor activity and delegate problems/needs to your Campus Ambassadors
- Report progress, stories, successes, challenges, and lessons learned to Wikimedia Foundation and other interested parties
- At the end of the semester, you will conduct individual interviews with your professors to gather some important data about their experiences and input their answers into a database (private and only visible to Wikimedia Foundation staff)
- Though not required, all Regional Ambassadors are encouraged to use their expertise on the Education Program to recruit new professors and Ambassadors to join the use Wikipedia in the classroom for the following term.
Time commitment & term period
- The estimated time commitment for this role is approximately 5 hours a week, with the usual peaks and troughs throughout the academic term.
- Regional Ambassadors should expect to serve from the end of June 2012 until the end of December 2012.
- There is no maximum to the number of terms that a Regional Ambassador may serve. Someone who has already served at least one term as a Regional Ambassador does not need to go through the application process again if s/he would like to continue being a Regional Ambassador.
- If a Regional Ambassador chooses to not serve another term, s/he is also expected to mentor his/her successor, who will be selected and will start work a few months before the new term begins.
Benefits of being a Regional Ambassador
After a few semesters of the Regional Ambassador program, here are some of the most common benefits:
- Customized leadership and management coaching - We will provide close, personal guidance and mentorship throughout the entire Regional Ambassador term to help develop and practice your leadership and community-organizing skills.
- Significant resume boost - the Regional Ambassador position is an important leadership role that is translates very well into leadership roles in other organizations you may apply to in the future. In addition, the Wikimedia Foundation is more than happy to provide letters of recommendation to good Regional Ambassadors down the line.
- In the past, here are some specific ways our Regional Ambassadors have benefited from their hard work with the Wikipedia Education Program:
- Regional Ambassadors attended (with free travel and accommodations) our "Wikipedia in Education Summit" in Boston
- Some Regional Ambassadors have become trainers in our program and led Campus Ambassador orientations in San Francisco and Indianapolis
- After their experience with our program and extracurricular involvement on Wikipedia, some of our Regional Ambassadors have been hired as Wikipedians in residence
- One Regional Ambassador did so well in his role that he was hired by the Wikimedia Foundation as a part-time contractor
- A few Regional Ambassadors were selected to join the Wikipedia Education Working Group, which will give them experience founding a new non-profit organization, travel and accommodations to Washington, D.C., and the integral role of planning the future of the United States and Canada Education Program
- Regional Ambassadors also receive a Wikipedia messenger bag, tshirt and some other swag to thank them for their hard work
- At least half a semester of experience as a Campus Ambassador or Online Ambassador is highly desirable, although not required (especially for regions with few Ambassadors.)
- Commitment to the Wikipedia Ambassador program and belief in the value of using Wikipedia as a teaching tool
- Interest in motivating and exciting others
- Experience working in a coordinator/facilitator role
- Strong oral, written, and interpersonal communication skills; comfortable speaking in front of groups
- Excellent project management skills
- Ability to develop solid relationships with Wikimedia staff and Wikimedia Community volunteers as well as university staff, students, and faculty
- Available on June 27, 2012 for an online orientation (note: if you absolutely cannot attend this, we can set up an alternate meeting session on a nearby date)
Now that you understand the role, apply to become a Regional Ambassador!