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Textbook Selection Guidelines

Over the last several years the cost of textbooks has risen dramatically. Nationally, textbook pricing has become a prominent public policy issue. In 2006 seventeen state legislatures, including Minnesota, considered measures addressing textbook affordability. On behalf of UMD students, UMDSA has proposed alternatives such as a textbook rental program and other means of reducing textbook costs for students. The key factor in keeping prices down via either a rental or buy-back program is in having faculty use a textbook for as many consecutive semesters as is feasible. For some courses, information is constantly changing and new textbooks are essential. But for many introductory or general courses this is not the case. While we recognize that independent textbook selection is an aspect of academic freedom, these recommendations are proposed to help address this important issue. This is especially important for large enrollment, lower division courses.

 The following recommendations were developed in conjunction with the deans and approved by both Academic Administration and the Chancellor's office.

Departments and faculty should consider costs when selecting textbooks for each course.

Make sure that a significant part of a required text is used in/for the class.

If supplemental material is bundled with the text, make sure all parts of the bundle are used in/for the course (if not, work with the book store to order only those materials needed.

Each department should develop a list of regularly scheduled classes for which it is agreed that textbook changes should be infrequent. For this set of courses, the same textbook(s) should be used for a minimum of two or more academic years unless the book or edition of the book is no longer published.

The same textbook(s) should be used in year-long course sequences

The same textbook(s) should be used in all sections of a multi-sectioned course.

Academic Administration

10/8/2007