The Open University awards Dr Jane Secker Honorary Degree for exceptional contribution to education and culture

Jane Secker and Malcolm Sweeting
Jane Secker and Malcolm Sweeting

At the Brighton Centre Graduation ceremony on 4th November 2022, Dr Jane Secker was recognised for the exceptional contribution she has made to advancing the field of Information Literacy (IL) and copyright education. She was presented with the Honorary Doctorate by Selena Killick, the Associate Director at the Open University Library. Jane is one of the UK’s leading professionals involved in developing and implementing Information and digital literacy strategies for the 21st century at the national and international level.

Jane read History and Information and Library Studies at Aberystwyth University, where she also went on to earn a PhD, and is also a qualified librarian. She believed that IL practice was important to share in the library community and so in 2005 with a like-minded colleague set up the Librarians’ Information Literacy Annual Conference (LILAC) conference. This has become one of the most significant events of the year for information professionals, regularly attracting over 300 international delegates.

Her involvement in IL advocacy didn’t stop with one conference and over the years Jane’s activism and achievements in this area have been unparalleled. During her career, she has since been one of IL’s leading promoters and her belief that being information literate is not only an important life skill but also a fundamental human right is clear in her numerous publications and conference presentations. She has worked extensively to embed information literacy throughout secondary and higher education, having developed resources and initiatives that have been used as frameworks for teaching.

In recent years, she has also focussed on copyright education. She campaigns to make learning about copyright fun, engaging and empowering. Because of Jane, copyright is now the subject of games and t-shirts as well as the more traditional publications and conference talks. Her advocacy for the world of copyright has led to a greater interest within the profession, leading in its turn to better compliance and understanding within the wider world of Higher Education and elsewhere.

In today’s complex world, digital literacy and information literacy are just as important as conventional literacy. Jane’s work to equip students and staff with the skills they need to become confident and effective lifelong learners, teachers and researchers has made a vital contribution to higher education in this country.

At the award ceremony, Dr Jane Secker said:

“While I wasn’t the first person to go to university in my family, I was the first to study as a traditional undergraduate student. My dad had completed most of his degree on day release while working full-time so I understand why the Open University is so important.

Through my work in information literacy and open education, I strongly believe that learning should be accessible to everyone, but particularly those who may not have the most traditional of educational backgrounds.

I am so honoured to receive this honorary doctorate and to be here with you today. I’m celebrating with so many amazing Open University graduates who made me feel humbled and proud to be part of the OU Family.”

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