Without proper course materials available on the first day of class the chances of student success are reduced, faculty is unable to teach a course in line with administrative goals, and student and faculty retention become a challenge.
A baseball team shows up to a game with the proper equipment — a bat and ball. The same mindset can be used for textbook adoptions. The challenge is communication, and how to efficiently solicit faculty for their adoptions with enough time to source the proper materials. When adoptions are turned in on time, the course material distributor knows what books are needed for the upcoming term, how many copies to source and the nationwide search can begin for what an instructor needs to teach their course. Students can then purchase the course materials they need, saving money on used books or rentals.
MBS Direct Account Manager Dusti Mitchell said knowing adoptions in advance dictates what is purchased at buyback from the prior term.
“When booklists are submitted by the due date, we know the demand for the upcoming school year and which items to supply for the upcoming selling season,” she said. “A timely booklist submission decreases backorders, out-of-stock items and gives our buyers a better picture of the total inventory demand to obtain what you need.”
Communication = Timely adoptions = Proper materials = Faculty and student retention
Communicating the needs and benefits of timely adoptions varies by school. Hilda Willman, Saint Louis Priory School campus store manager, gives each department chair a binder with the textbooks used the prior year. The packet includes an image of the book’s cover and pricing.
Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, hosted their College Classroom Connections Expo with the goal of improving the relationship between faculty and staff. The workshop on early adoptions and how bookstores secure more used titles was attended by more than 100 registrants.
A faculty-centric approach outlining how faculty is a vital element in the effort to reduce the costs of textbooks is used by The University of Arizona. Their faculty page outlines the adoption process, includes deadlines, emphasizes their role in minimizing costs and maximizing learning, and offers links for step-by-step adoptions or support.
The University of Kansas School of Pharmacy website specifically outlines the adoption process and communication procedures. The site streamlines the adoption process, informs buyers of which books to be on the lookout for and how to seamlessly make course materials available to students for any given semester.
Nikki Daniels, Ichabod Shop course materials director, at Washburn University has been sending daily emails to all faculty reminding them about the upcoming adoption deadline. The emails consist of images from cartoons, movies and the now infamous Oscar envelope error.
“I get a lot of responses from people about the memes, so I know they see it,” Daniels said. “I have also received questions from faculty about how they can copy their adoptions from one term to the next, so we have a conversation.”
The processes for communicating the needs for timely adoptions are unique but share the common goal of ensuring students have what they need to be successful in class and faculty have the tools to teach.