Professional News

Alternative Textbook Grants Benefit Teaching and Learning

photo of student studying with laptop and notepad on couch
Mark Cornelison | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 30, 2020) — The University of Kentucky Libraries recently awarded 10 Alternative Textbook Grants to UK faculty who will replace traditional commercial textbooks with open educational resources, library-licensed materials or original content created by the faculty themselves. The grant recipients teach a variety of subjects, ranging from law and biology to history and clinical leadership and management.

Held annually since 2016, the Alternative Textbook Grant Program has provided UK instructors with opportunities to customize their course contents by switching to materials that are more affordable and readily available to students. Thirty-nine grants were awarded from 2016 to 2019. According to grant recipients’ feedback, the program saved nearly 9,000 students over $1.14 million. In other words, each student who enrolled in a course taught with an alternative textbook saved about $129.

After teaching with alternative textbooks, grant recipients have shared inspiring comments about their experiences. “This is a fantastic program. 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,” Brian Frye, Spears-Gilbert Associate Professor of Law, noted.

“Having relied on my open source textbook has made my current start into the online teaching world due to COVID so much easier,” Regina Hannemann from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering said.

This year's 10 grant recipients are:

  • Molly Blasing, Department of Modern and Classical Languages, Literatures and Cultures, College of Arts and Sciences;
  • Christopher Bradley, J. David Rosenberg College of Law; 
  • Andrew Byrd and Brenna Byrd, Department of Linguistics and Department of Modern and Classical Languages, Literatures and Cultures, College of Arts and Sciences; 
  • Emily Croteau, Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences; 
  • Stephen Davis, Department of History, College of Arts and Sciences;
  • Fatima Espinoza Vasquez, School of Information Science, College of Communication and Information; 
  • Brian Frye, Rosenberg College of Law; 
  • Anita Lee-Post, Department of Marketing and Supply Chain, Gatton College of Business and Economics;
  • Stephen Voss, Department of Political Science, College of Arts and Sciences; and
  • Brandi White, Department of Clinical Leadership and Management, College of Health Sciences. 

Some grantees have created or enhanced their own course content thanks to the support of the program. In the spirit of open knowledge sharing, they have graciously made their materials freely available online to instructors and learners around the world. These free educational resources include:

Faculty interested in finding alternative textbooks for their courses are encouraged to contact the academic liaisons for their departments or Adrian Ho, UK Libraries director of digital scholarship, for more information. An online guide is also available for consultation anytime.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.