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Three Strategies to Improve Faculty Communication

Posted by Liz Schulte on 2/5/24 7:00 AM
Topics: faculty adoption rates, Faculty engagement with campus store, college store faculty relations

Building strong channels of communication with faculty can help campus stores in a variety of ways: on-time adoptions, more faculty members recommending students get their materials from the campus store and a better understanding of the important services the store provides the community. How can your campus store strengthen its faculty relationships and improve communication? Three Strategies to Improve Faculty Communication

We all know it is important to build better faculty relationships, but how can stores get started? Below are three strategies your store could try.

Talk about the student and faculty benefits of on-time adoptions

One of the main points where faculty and the bookstore might not see eye to eye is with adoption deadlines. Adoption deadlines may seem too early from a faculty member’s point of view, but the bookstore knows the dates are anything but arbitrary.

Discuss with faculty members in person and explain the reasons in your adoption email reminders. Deadlines ensure:

  1. Students have greater access to low-cost course materials
  2. Students receive a better return at buyback
  3. Stores can implement more cost-saving solutions
  4. Fewer backorders at the beginning of term
  5. HEOA compliance

Start a faculty email campaign highlighting how the bookstore gives back to campus

Another way to ensure the campus store is top-of-mind with faculty when they are making syllabi is to remind them of all the ways the store serves the campus community. Highlight all that your store does to give back to the campus, students and the community in general.

Need some ideas? Check out the advantages of shopping with the college store.

Work directly with faculty on course material adoptions

A great way to start communicating more with faculty is to offer them help. The University of Manitoba BookStore shared how they help faculty with course material adoptions and keep them informed about course material formats.

“We focus on strong, meaningful communication with our academic departments across our campuses. It's really important to prevent that disintermediation. Strong relationships with faculty members and instructors help us discourage them from sending students to publishers’ direct sales channels,” Craig Bauer, Course Materials Manager, UM BookStore, said. “When we think about our communication with academic departments, it is about more than soliciting course material adoption submissions. We work with faculty to help find the product configurations that best meet their needs. That's particularly the case if a title has a courseware option tied to it. They might not be aware of the variety of configurations that a publisher has available for a given title. We, as a store, have had to assume a lot of that educational role for these products.

“We emphasize to our staff not to take a course material submission at face value. A lot of times an instructor may think ‘I want to use the text plus the accompanying courseware,’ but if they happen to have a print copy of the text, they might just flip the book over to look at the ISBN. When they submit that ISBN, they don’t realize they are adopting a standalone print copy and not the bundle that includes the courseware,” Bauer said. “So, we don't take that information we get at face value especially when there are a variety of configurations possible. We take a proactive approach, communicating with the academic to get a confirmation on the materials they intended to adopt. Ultimately, what we're trying to do is add value to the course material adoption experience and making sure the bookstore has their course materials accurately listed and in stock.”

What does your store do to strengthen its communication with faculty?


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