A workgroup to reduce the cost of course materials that began last spring as a collaboration between FSC and SSC, completed the project this fall and will be making recommendations to students and faculty.
In the spring of 2012 the workgroup conducted a multi-component study on the problem that included: (1) a review of the current literature to identify strategies used in other universities, (2) a review of NYU policies and practices and (3) a meeting with the NYU Bookstore Director Phil Christopher and textbook specialist Peter Urias to explore their role in addressing the problem.
At a follow-up meeting this fall, Mr. Christopher and Mr. Urias demonstrated a new innovative online system they have developed that enables NYU students to compare the cost of course materials across multiple vendors including the NYU Bookstore and order directly from vendors online. SSC members plan to promote use of the system throughout the student body. The workgroup has also developed a set of “best practices” to assist faculty in reducing the cost of course materials for their students that will be disseminated this spring.
In response to the request from the Student Senators Council, the FSC Faculty-Student Relations Committee looked into the possibility of developing a uniform system across NYU's many schools of collecting and publicizing course evaluations. Schools' policies currently vary widely. In May of 2012, the Committee presented a resolution regarding course evaluations which was approved by the Council.
The Faculty Council recommends:
This plan is in the process of implementation by undergraduate Deans with input from the Faculty Senators Council.
Faculty and Student Senators Councils Workgroup on Reducing the Cost of Course Materials: Summary Report, Spring 2012
Workgroup Purpose: To develop collaborative student faculty strategies to address the problem of the high cost of course materials for students
Background: Students pay as much as $500-$600 per year for course materials. The greatest cost is for text books. Text books are very expensive at the NYU bookstores, however, reimbursement for used books from the book store is very low ($4-5 for a $40-50 text) The bookstore resells these same used books for high prices.
Students search for lower cost alternatives such as Amazon that cost 20-30% less than the bookstore. Some students have set up their own book exchanges where prices are lowe.r Other read text books in the library ( limited access) or book store (inconvenient).
Assumptions: Technology is dramatically changing access to written materials thus costs in the future may be different.
The Workgroup identified the following questions:
Review of the available literature largely in the Chronicle of higher Education identified the following strategies used in other university settings:
Review of NYU policies and practices:
Issues discussed at meeting with Phil Christopher, NYU Bookstore Director, April 26, 2012:
Draft Faculty Best Practices:
The workgroup will reconvene in the fall to carry out the following activities:
In December, the FSC Teaching Excellence Committee met with Senior Vice Provost Ron Robin, administrative liaison to the Teaching Excellence Committee, and Debra Szybinski, the Executive Director of the Office of Faculty Resources, regarding the programs and initiatives of the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE), which is part of the Office of Faculty Resources. During the course of the meeting it was learned that the CTE currently has no formal mechanism for systematic input from faculty regarding the programs and plans for the CTE, but both Vice Provost Robin and Executive Director Szybinski welcomed the idea of such input. The FSC has a long history of support and collaboration with the Center for Teaching Excellence and wishes to resume and strengthen that collaboration and also supports the importance of student consultation and feedback regarding the programs and initiatives of the Center for Teaching Excellence.
At the December 15, 2011 FSC meeting, the Council approved a resolution regarding the creation of an advisory committee to the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE). Nancy Van Devanter will now act as the FSC advisor to the CTE in 2012-13.