Edward is an associate professor in Chemistry, and an active member of Faculty Senate. At a recent Faculty Senate assembly, student leaders who organize the campus food pantry presented a report on how students are navigating the skyrocketing costs of college attendance. The student leaders shared troubling statistics of growing rates of student food insecurity, hunger and houselessness and how all of these conditions are exacerbated by inflating tuition rates, student fees and textbook costs.

Edward immediately reflects on the cost of the textbook for his own course in introductory chemistry. Typically, students are able to secure a used copy for just under $300. Edward is grateful for the student leadership with the campus food pantry, and also recognizes that this short-term service is not a long-term solution. Edward leaves the presentation resolved to intervene in the inflating textbook costs in his own department.

Edward begins the process of exploring how to provide open access textbooks in his courses. He begins formulating estimates on the time required to curate and facilitate those resources across his department with the goal of providing free and open textbook access to all undergraduate students in chemistry by the beginning of the next academic year.

Key Take-Aways: 
  • The Issue: The growing costs of college attendance is exacerbating rates of food insecurity, hunger, and houselessness among students.
  • The Deliberation: Edward recognizes that growing textbook costs are contributing to the marginalization of low-income students and resolves to intervene in these economic inequities in his own department.
  • The Growth: Edward identifies an opportunity to support students by offsetting the costs of textbooks in the Chemistry department.

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