The Listening Tour

One of my favorite things about visiting my hometown in Utah is driving down the I-15 corridor through Salt Lake City along the beautiful Wasatch Front. While the mountain view is always stunning, I also look forward to seeing the often funny, sometimes downright clever billboards that dot the highway shoulder, for Utah has no shortage of them. One local car dealership’s billboard campaign is among my favorites. Their tag-line – “We Hear You” – is supported by a series of ever-changing billboards highlighting how well they listen to customers. My favorite among the lot depicts a single fallen tree in a forest. The caption reads: “We’d hear it.”

As I head out this morning on the first of many scheduled visits to the Hewlett grantees in the OER portfolio, I am focused on listening and learning. My predecessors at the foundation have made careful and strategic investments in the OER space, some of which I am more familiar with than others. I see this listening tour as an opportunity to dig deep and better understand the challenges and successes these grantees are experiencing in their Hewlett-funded work, as well as in their broader organizational missions. I also look forward to hearing grantees’ thoughts and perspectives on the OER field itself, and their opinions on how the OER portfolio should evolve over the next few years. In short, I want my initial (and, with any luck, continual) message to every grantee to be worthy of a clever billboard campaign: “I Hear You.”


**The opinions expressed on this blog are my own and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation**

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