Hal Plotkin is a senior policy advisor in the Office of the Under Secretary of Education in the U.S. Department of Education, which has responsibility for all federal higher education policies and programs. Before being appointed to this position in 2009, Plotkin was a trustee and board president of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, based in Silicon Valley, California. By profession, Plotkin is a writer, editor, and media producer, who has published more than 600 articles on business, science, technology, and education. At the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, Plotkin was the principal sponsor of the College District’s innovative Policy on Public Domain Learning Materials, which are now more commonly known as Open Educational Resources. Plotkin was a founding editor of the American public radio program Marketplace, the creator of the nonprofit Center for Media Change, Inc., which facilitates public support of high-quality print and documentary journalism, and the author of Free to Learn: A College Governance Guide to Open Educational Resources. At the Department of Education, Plotkin helps oversee collaborative initiatives with the Department of Labor and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Plotkin is a graduate of Foothill Community College in Los Altos Hills and San Jose State University, both in California, with majors in History and Behavioral Sciences, respectively. He was the first graduate of Foothill Community College to ever serve on its governing board of trustees.