David Caldwell’s “Books Fly Free” email

Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration David Caldwell sent a letter regarding “Books Fly Free” to all students and faculty.

David Caldwell, Dear Students & Faculty,

As most of you no doubt are aware last week the SGA affirmed their prior decision to move forward with the Tree of Life proposal known as “Books Fly Free”.  The Cabinet strongly agrees with the primary objective that every student would have every required book for every class and has chosen to respect their decision but, after discussing further with SGA since the vote, has decided to delay implementation by one year, to the fall of 2013, for the following reasons.

1)      Delaying one year will allow us to review credit hours more closely and perhaps better segregate those hours earned by student teaching and other off campus learning that do not require textbooks.

2)      Some professors have indicated that they would like to consider more textbook alternatives.  While I believe the myth that ebooks in general are cheaper has been largely debunked, as part of the various conversations over the past few weeks since this opportunity was first presented, I am told that there are some digital opportunities from non-traditional sources that could possibly work in some classes that would be cheaper.

3)      It has also been said that all books listed for a course are not required and actually used but rather that some may be suggested for additional learning opportunities and thus could be excluded from the core or “free” books to be included.

By delaying a year I hope that we can modify the plan that was presented in two ways.  First excluding some credit hours that would normally never have textbooks associated with them and then also exhausting reasonable alternatives to textbooks.  Obviously the first of these modifications would cause an increase in the $20 stated hourly rate while the second would cause a decrease.  We must also determine that we have an efficient and effective way to implement a credit hour book fee while excluding some credit hours earned or we may find that we have a great idea but implementation is prohibitive.

I applaud the SGA for taking on what became a politically charged task and seeing it through to the end.  I also applaud Tree of Life for presenting a creative idea and being very willing to work with us to find a solution that would work the best for our students.  I trust this rationale and explanation is clear for everyone to understand why this choice to delay is being made.

Kindest regards,

David B. Caldwell

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