12-8-16 Weekly Three

Call for Proposals - Following up on the campus communication last week from Miami’s administration and my note in last week’s Three, I will be providing information tomorrow about how faculty and staff can submit proposals to develop and lead one of four discussions to be held in the spring semester. This initiative provides an opportunity for those who have expertise and experience in specific subjects or areas to work collaboratively to propose and create a session that explores complex issues in a substantive, balanced, respectful and scholarly manner. Details will be provided in a tomorrow’s communication, and I encourage you to consider how you and colleagues from across our campuses could contribute to a better understanding and awareness of important national and global issues and how those issues affect the Miami community.

Grant Opportunity – Grants, in the form of professional development funds, are available for Miami University faculty interested in working to lower textbook costs for students using Open Educational Resources (OER). Objectives for the OER Grants include:

  • significantly lowering the cost of textbooks for enrolled students in a specific course (this is part of Miami’s response to the Governor’s Task Force on Affordability and Efficiency in Higher Education).
  • maintaining or improving student learning outcomes and satisfaction with the required materials.
  • contributing to the growing body of OER available to the global higher education community.

The grants are open to Miami instructional faculty who teach courses in any department on any of our campuses. Priority for grants will be given to coordinators of courses with higher enrollments. For more information, please visit the Provost website and/or the University Libraries' OER LibGuide.

E-Campus Bookstore - At this week’s Academic Administrators’ Breakfast, representatives from e-Campus Virtual Bookstore updated the chairs and directors about ordering books through the virtual bookstore. You will recall that in response to Governor Kasich’s Ohio Task Force on Affordability and Efficiency, all state colleges and universities were required to submit a plan to reduce the cost of an undergraduate degree by 5%. One of the initiatives Miami and other institutions in the state included was to adopt a virtual bookstore model that would help accomplish that goal by lowering student textbook costs by approximately 15-25%.

After a series of presentations, which included input from faculty and staff, e-Campus Virtual Bookstore was selected as Miami’s provider. In addition to providing a platform for students to buy, rent and sell textbooks, special materials and custom textbooks, the virtual bookstore also improves the quality of textbook adoption tools. At the earliest, faculty will start using the Faculty Administration Support Tool (FAST) to enter course textbook information when ordering textbooks for classes offered in Fall, 2017. Training sessions will be offered to prepare faculty and staff to use the virtual bookstore to order texts for their classes; desk and review copies will also be available through FAST.

At this time, training sessions are tentatively scheduled for January and February, 2017. Information regarding specific dates will be publicized as soon as they are finalized. I have asked department chairs and programs directors to share the information they received at Administrators’ Breakfast with faculty and staff.