Friday, March 18, 2016

Alternative Textbook Grant program supports teaching, learning, and student success

By Adrian Ho and Jillian Waitkus

Committed to supporting student success and knowledge sharing, UK Libraries is launching the Alternative Textbook Grant Program to encourage faculty members to adopt peer-reviewed, open access alternative textbooks or to create alternative textbooks for their courses. Faculty members may apply for one of ten grants of up to $1,500 each to implement any curriculum change required for the use of alternative textbooks. 

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics has shown that the cost of college textbooks rose 82 percent from 2002 to 2012. Studies indicate that the financial burden of textbooks negatively impacts student success by limiting students’ access to essential learning resources. With textbook cost soaring to an exorbitant level, faculty members are looking for solutions that will enable students to gain access to learning materials in the most economical way.

Open educational resources and alternative textbooks present a proven solution to the prohibitive prices of traditional textbooks, and allow faculty members to customize course materials in timely and innovative manners. UK Libraries’ academic liaisons will provide faculty members with assistance in identifying existing alternative textbooks and UK Libraries’ licensed information resources that are appropriate substitutes for traditional textbooks. 

Any current UK faculty member teaching a course in 2017 using a commercial textbook is eligible to apply for one of the ten alternative textbook grants. Proposals must be submitted via the Program’s online form. 

The Faculty Senate Library Committee will review the proposals. Successful applicants will be notified of awards in early Fiscal Year 2016/2017. Selection criteria include: strength of statement of concern, estimated potential savings by students in the course, sustainability beyond the initial semester, and the ability to use the alternative textbook in 2017. Each grant recipient will have to submit a report that describes the alternative textbook, the number of students impacted, estimated student savings, and a short evaluation of the experience with the Program. Outcomes of the Program will be shared with the UK community.

The proposal submission deadline is April 29, 2016.  For more information about the Alternative Textbook Grant Program, please contact UK Libraries Director of Digital Scholarship Adrian Ho at or UK Libraries Senior Associate Dean Mary Beth Thomson at

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