Committee to cut down textbook prices

Textbooks+fill+the+shelf+of+the+Campus+Bookstore+waiting+for+students+to+spend+upwards+of+a+%24700+a+semester.+Photo+by+Brent+Uberty.

Brent Uberty

Textbooks fill the shelf of the Campus Bookstore waiting for students to spend upwards of a $700 a semester. Photo by Brent Uberty.

Textbooks fill the shelf of the Campus Bookstore waiting for students to spend upwards of a $700 a semester. Photo by Brent Uberty.
Textbooks fill the shelf of the Campus Bookstore waiting for students to spend upwards of a $700 a semester. Photo by Brent Uberty.
An Academic Senate committee is looking for ways to save students $500 a year on textbooks.

Meredith Metzger, a professor of mechanical engineering, is the head of the committee, which was formed by Allyson Mower, leader of the Academic Senate and assistant librarian at the Marriott Library.

Mower said the committee will make recommendations to professors and instructors who are adopting textbooks to help reduce costs.

The Academic Senate formed the committee earlier this month. ASUU Academic Affairs director Rachel Wootton, a student representative on the committee and a senior in political science, said the group hopes to spend the next few weeks brainstorming ideas and will present their findings to the Academic Senate at the end of the semester.

“Right now we’re kind of in the stage where we are trying to get all the ideas on the table,” Wootton said. “From there, we will go to how we can actually develop recommendations for the Academic Senate and campus departments about how we can decrease textbook costs.”

Wotton said that so far the committee is thinking about using open source textbooks in courses. Wootton also said the math department has already implemented some ideas on their own, such as producing videos for students to watch in their free time.

“Digital technology has changed the way students access and use information, and in the case of open textbooks, it’s an opportunity to take full advantage of the power and convenience of the web,” Mower said.

Mower believes college should not be expensive just because it is important.

“College should remain affordable while also being an excellent educational experience,” she said.

Wootton said there are plenty of instructional materials available outside of the traditional expensive books and it is important for the committee to come up with ideas that help students stay away from “breaking the bank” on textbooks.

“It’s important for the U as a whole since it is our mission to educate,” Mower said. “When we have an opportunity to remove a potential barrier, we provide an even greater service to those who want to learn.”

Mower anticipates the group will suggest the use of open textbooks, rentals and e-books.

Wootton said the committee also wants feedback from students on the ideas they come up with. She said there will be a survey emailed to students later in the semester to get more student input.

Some of the committee members are from the campus bookstore. Wootton said having them on the committee shows the bookstore also wants to improve textbook costs for students.

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