Library Receives $1.5M Open Textbook Pilot Grant

(x-posted from the LMU Newsroom)

Loyola Marymount University has received a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to lead a three-year initiative that will support the creation and use of open educational resources (OER) across four California private institutions.

Librarians from LMU, Saint Mary’s College of California, Santa Clara University, and the University of San Francisco will use the funds to recruit, incentivize, and prepare up to twelve faculty teams to adapt, create, and publish OER that integrate diverse, equitable, inclusive, and anti-racist resources into high-enrollment courses across multiple disciplines. The William H. Library will administer the grant in collaboration with an inter-institutional project team of librarians from all four institutions.

OER are teaching and learning materials that are free of cost and access barriers, and which additionally provide legal permission for open use. Replacing commercial course materials with these new OER has the potential to save at least 6,000 students more than $500,000 in the first year of adoption alone by reducing costs for students enrolled in the targeted courses.

“The collaborative work of four private, Catholic university libraries will empower faculty to create new mission-driven, social justice-oriented open content in support of our universities’ curricula across a variety of disciplines,” said Kristine Brancolini, dean of the library and principal investigator for the grant. “The output of this grant project will also be amplified through information sharing and professional development with the 110+ private institutions of higher education and research library members of the Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium (SCELC).”

The project will also increase faculty capacity to create and promote OER in their disciplines and add new content to the growing body of open educational resources, which can be adapted and freely used by educators to further integrate the principles of diversity, equity, justice, and inclusion into their curriculum.

“This project builds upon the existing infrastructure that the William H. Hannon Library has developed through the Open and Affordable Textbook Initiative, which, since 2019, has provided grant incentives for 37 faculty from 10 different departments to adopt and create free and open course materials,” said Jamie Hazlitt, associate dean, founder of LMU’s Open and Affordable Textbook Initiative, and co-principal investigator on the grant. Hazlitt noted a 2021 ASLMU resolution commending Hannon Library’s efforts and calling for increased university investment in open initiatives.

Faculty indicate that time and financial resources are two of the most persistent barriers to adoption and creation of OER, Hazlitt said. “The scale of the funding from the Department of Education provides the unique opportunity for both, and we are excited about the possibilities that this will unlock for faculty and students at all of our partner institutions.”

“LMU’s strategic vision centers on our commitment to anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion; innovation and adaptability; and extending the university’s reach beyond our campus boundaries in service to our communities,” said Kat Weaver, LMU’s vice provost for research, professional development, and online learning. “This grant underscores these commitments, and positions LMU and our partner universities to empower faculty to make change for our student bodies and provide open resources that showcase our values on a global scale.”

Information sessions and a call for faculty applicants across all four institutions will be announced later in spring semester 2023. For more information about this project, contact Nataly Blas, project director and collection development librarian, or call 310-338-5329.

More information about OER can be found at the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition.

About the William H. Hannon Library

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