volume 39, number 4
Temple UniversityFaculty Herald

Guidelines for Textbooks and Other Instructional Material
Jay Sinha, Associate Professor, Fox School of Business

The cost of textbooks has been the highest priority of Temple student government leaders in ’08-09. Here we reprint a message sent out by Fox School of Business Associate Professor Jay Sinha, on behalf of the President’s Cost Savings Committee, on how faculty can help students save money without compromising curricular needs.

I would draw particular attention to the item number five. If only order to be in compliance with the law, we will have to get used to deciding on our required books earlier than perhaps we have. On the other hand, Blackboard enables us to give this information directly to the students, who – more than the campus bookstore – are ultimately the ones who need and deserve the information. – The Editor

By far, the Number One complaint from students coming into the online suggestion box has been about the exorbitantly high textbook prices. In these tough economic times while the university is looking to make savings in facilities, energy usage, and supplies, we are also mindful of the out-of-pocket expenses of our students. Students are complaining about textbooks that cost more than $100 each on average, with some reaching much higher. While a market for used books does exist, our students oftentimes fail to take advantage because of the late reorder notices from faculty.

In fact, according to the bookstore, Temple University ranks last in the nation in faculty reorders of books – that is not a statistic that we can feel happy about. Accordingly, here are some ways faculty can help alleviate the burden of textbook prices for our students.

1. Please file the reorder forms as soon as you get them from your secretaries.

2. Do offer students the chance to use the past editions of the books unless there are substantial changes in the new editions.

3. Do apply price as a criterion in your selection of a textbook. Sometimes, there is an inclination to go for the "best of breed" books but they may be over-priced (because of that status) and cheaper alternatives may exist. Individual departments may reach a consensus about this issue.

4. Do look at electronic versions of the instructional material (books, cases, articles, etc.) if they are available in your field.

5. According to the Higher Education Act, all universities are required to inform students of the ISBN numbers of the text and instructional material when they register. We have to be in compliance by 2010. Please remember to list the ISBN numbers on your syllabi and forward them to the department secretary.

6. Do post the syllabi in sufficient time before the semester and make use of Blackboard to communicate them to students.

We know that many among the faculty are already sensitive to our students' costs but we hope this will become pervasive throughout the university.

Jay Sinha
Associate Professor
Fox School of Business