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.

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" two 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.