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David Ernst (University of Minnesota)

David Ernst
Chief Information Officer, College of Education & Human Development

Minneapolis, Minnesota

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David Ernst is the Chief Information Officer in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. He brings his extensive background in education (14 years teaching, PhD in Learning Technology, ...) to his role. His passion lies in innovations that help faculty teach and students learn.

David is the Executive Director of the Open Textbook Initiative. This program works to improve higher education access, affordability, and success for all students. Through this initiative, David created and manages the Open Textbook Library ( - a single source for faculty to find quality openly licensed textbooks. David and his colleagues are also developing a toolkit to help other institutions interested in starting their own open textbook initiative on campus.

David is also responsible for leading the College of Education and Human Development's mobile initiative, which began in 2010. Each year, ~450 college freshmen receive an Apple iPad which is integrated into the curriculum of their First Year Experience program. David and colleagues have documented how these mobile devices have especially benefitted students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

David has presented at many venues, including talks at TEDxKyoto in Kyoto, Japan, and TEDxUMN in Minneapolis, MN, USA.

David is also a team leader for Global Citizens Network (GCN) - a non-profit that works to promote peace, justice and respect through cross-cultural understanding and global cooperation. As a team leader, David brings teams of volunteers to live and work with indigenous peoples around the world. He has traveled to Nepal, Tanzania, and Peru; and lead a trip to Thailand with GCN.

In 2011, David completed a swim from Alcatraz to the shore of San Francisco. And in 2013, he swam around the Statue of Liberty with his three sons.


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