Professional News

Alternative Textbook Grants Available for Academic Year 2020-21

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 25, 2020) University of Kentucky faculty who would like to replace a traditional textbook with alternative course content in the academic year 2020-21 are encouraged to submit a proposal to UK LibrariesAlternative Textbook Grant Program. The grants will support adoption of existing open textbooks and creation of new course content.

UK Libraries has held four rounds of the Alternative Textbook Grant Program since 2016. Twenty-five of the funded courses had been taught by August 2019 with an approximate total enrollment of 7,071 students and accumulative estimated savings of $939,434 for the enrolled students. In other words, each student saved about $133 on average thanks to the use of alternative course content in place of traditional textbooks in their courses.

“It was actually fairly straightforward!” said Rachel Farr, an Alternative Textbook Grant recipient and assistant professor from the Department of Psychology. “I used UK library resources to identify a specific text I had in mind (with the topic of lifespan development) and I found one I liked and that would fit with how I envisioned teaching the content pretty readily.”

“This is a fantastic program,” Brian Frye, Spears-Gilbert Associate Professor of Law who received an Alternative Textbook Grant, commented. “It encouraged me to create public domain open access teaching materials that have already saved UK students ~$20,000 and hopefully will generate even greater savings in the future. I currently only assign open access materials in all of my classes. I plan to create additional public domain open access teaching materials in the future.”

Asked about the grant program, Mary Beth Thomson, senior associate dean of UK Libraries, said, “The program outcomes and grant recipients’ feedback are very encouraging. It is evident that using alternative textbooks are beneficial to students academically and financially while instructors can better customize their course materials.”

In support of the grant program, Adrian Ho, director of Digital Scholarship at UK Libraries, will hold information sessions focused on finding and using open textbooks on March 4 and 5, 2020. Seating is limited and registration is required for attendance.

The Alternative Textbook Grant Program offers two tracks for applicants to consider. A successful proposal for adopting existing open textbooks, free online content, and/or UK Libraries’ licensed information resources will be awarded a grant of $1,500. A successful proposal for creating new open course content (with at least 50% of the content being original and newly created) will be awarded a grant of $2,500.

Proposals must be submitted via this online form by March 31, 2020. All applicants will be notified of the results in early summer of 2020. After teaching the specified course with an alternative textbook, each grant recipient is required to submit a description of the outcomes and an evaluation of their experience with the grant program.

Details about the Alternative Textbook Grant Program are available on this page. Interested faculty can also contact Adrian Ho, UK Libraries director of Digital Scholarship, or Mary Beth Thomson, UK Libraries senior associate dean, for more information.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion three years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for four straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.