January 23, 2012



Resolution from the Educational Policy Committee Concerning Textbook Orders (D 9348).

Professor Janet Staiger (radio-television-film and chair, Educational Policy Committee) reported that her committee had been asked to respond to Texas House Bill 33, which now legally requires textbook orders to be submitted and made available such that students will know what textbooks are required at least thirty days before the first day of class. She said the committee was also working with student government to come up with ideas about facilitating the affordability of course materials for students. Even though this latter area might not be exactly within the charge of the Educational Policy Committee, Professor Staiger said the committee was reviewing what student government was developing since the committee members were very concerned about rising costs of books and other materials. In an effort to encourage compliance with the law but to also reaffirm the notion that faculty should submit orders when requested to do so by the textbook ordering group, Professor Staiger presented the following resolution, which she said had been unanimously endorsed by the Educational Policy Committee:

Be it resolved that University of Texas at Austin faculty members should respond to the bookstores' suggested due date for submitting textbook orders (which assists in allowing the bookstores to know which text books to buy back from students which potentially saves students money) but must submit this information no later than 30 days prior to the first day of class.

Professor Strong asked if the resolution needed to include an exception for faculty members who are assigned a course to teach within the thirty-day period. Professor Staiger said the requirement was a state law so she thought the question should be directed to Vice Provost Neal Armstrong or Vice Provost Gretchen Ritter. Vice Provost Ritter said she did not know how someone could choose the books for a course when they had not yet been assigned to teach it so she thought this would be an understood exception.

When Professor Ted Gordon (African and African Diaspora Studies) asked what the penalties were if orders were submitted late, Professor Staiger said she did not know. Vice Provost Ritter said there was no explicit accountability measure written into the law as far as she was aware; however, she added that noncompliance might harm the institution in the opinion of those who pass the University’s budgets. There being no further discussion, Chair Friedman called for the vote, and the resolution unanimously passed.

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