February 21, 2017
The University of Houston (UH) recently joined the Open Textbook Network (OTN), which supports faculty and student access to a large volume of free, openly licensed, peer-reviewed academic textbooks. The average UH student spends an estimated $1200 yearly on books and supplies. Providing textbooks at no cost to students could result in significant savings over the course of an undergraduate career.
“We’re always looking for ways to ensure our students are successful, and that extends to the cost of tuition” said Paula Myrick Short, UHS senior vice chancellor for academic affairs and UH senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “First, I strove to provide students with a fixed tuition for four years through UHin4, and now I am working to further reduce their financial burden through participation in the Open Textbook Network.”
As part of their continued partnership, OTN will provide on-campus workshops to faculty which encourage faculty to adopt the use of open textbooks in their classroom and review textbooks already in the library. All textbooks in the library are reviewed by faculty members at member institutions. By participating in a review, faculty are further vetting the materials already shared on the Open Textbook Library, making it easier for future faculty to choose a quality textbook.
UH plans to launch a pilot program in which 20 faculty members will receive a stipend to implement the program in one of their courses. “We’re encouraging faculty to participate for the benefit of their students” Short said. “In this digital age, we need to reassess how we bring materials to the classroom, and work on ways to combine a high-quality education with affordability.”
About the Office of the Provost
The Office of the Provost houses the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost responsible for student access and success. The Office of the Provost initiates and oversees a broad range of programs which benefit students throughout the University of Houston and the community, including undergraduate, graduate, continuing and distance education programs, as well as all academic programs and policies. The Office of the Provost also oversees faculty appointment, promotion, and tenure.
About the University of Houston
The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university recognized by The Princeton Review as one of the nation’s best colleges for undergraduate education. UH serves the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships. Located in the nation’s fourth-largest city, UH serves more than 39,500 students in the most ethnically and culturally diverse region in the country.