Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 72.66
Liaison Megan Litke
Submission Date March 5, 2021

STARS v2.2

American University
IN-41: Textbook Affordability

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 0.50 Courtney Stoner
Sustainability Analyst
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution host a peer-to-peer textbook exchange program, textbook lending library, or alternate textbook project?:

A brief description of the textbook exchange program, textbook lending library, or alternate textbook project:

As a part of the University Library's Diversity & Inclusion initiatives, the Library has purchased all of the General Education textbooks and many of the most expensive textbooks (over $150) to reduce financial barriers for students. They are available to all students at the library


The alternate textbook project that AU has is the Open American Initiative. Through the Open American Initiative, the Center for Teaching, Research & Learning offers logistical and technological support to AU faculty who make the switch from cost-bearing textbooks and other resources to freely available OERs. CTRL can assist faculty with finding OERs to supplement or replace existing course materials. This project encourages faculty to replace their commercial textbooks with alternate resources that are openly available.

Does the institution provide incentives for academic staff that explicitly encourage the authorship, peer review, and/or adoption of open access textbooks?:

A brief description of the incentives to encourage the authorship, peer review, and/or adoption of open access textbooks:

The Open Educational Resources Institute (Open American Initiative) engages faculty in innovative pedagogical practices and saves students money.

American University is a proud member of the Open Textbook Network (OTN), an active community of over 600 campuses across the country (that’s about 15% of higher education) that promote access, affordability, and student success through the use of open textbooks. Additionally, AU faculty have access to the Open Textbook Library, a collection of over 450 openly-licensed textbooks across 14 subject areas, many of which have been peer reviewed by faculty from OTN member institutions. So far since 2012, over 3,000 students have saved over $500,000 in textbook savings

To support and encourage Open Educational Resources (OER) use and innovative pedagogy, the Center for Teaching, Research, and Learning (CTRL) offers faculty stipends for OER projects. In addition to stipends, selected faculty will receive technical and instructional design support from CTRL staff. Faculty are invited to submit proposals for redesigning a course to use OERs. Although use of OERs is a requirement, successful proposals will outline projects that go further than replacing a commercial text with an open one. Faculty previously selected for OER grants have significantly redeveloped their course or created OER materials, for example, adding active learning components to class time, compiling wide ranging open media into a textbook alternative, significantly revising the scope and context of existing OER, or creating their own full-course length OER. Selected faculty will each receive a stipend of $500-$1,000.


For the Fall 2020 semester, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Library has undertaken significant efforts to take the course reserves online. Students can request course readings directly through Blackboard or Canvas.


Website URL where information about the textbook affordability incentives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

Article: "The Movement toward Open Information at American University" https://www.american.edu/cas/news/catalyst/the-movement-toward-open-information-at-american-university.cfm

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