Open and Affordable Textbooks Working Group: Charge


Textbook prices have risen more than 800% over the last 30 years, with the average annual cost now exceeding $1,200 per student. In an effort to improve college affordability, students from the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group (NJPIRG) have been championing the move to free and low-cost materials in Rutgers courses. In 2015, the University Senate Student Affairs Committee proposed a plan to create incentives for faculty and instructors who want to transition to open and affordable course materials. In February 2016, President Barchi endorsed their recommendation and created an open textbooks initiative pilot award program. The Rutgers University Libraries were chosen to manage the award program, and a task force was charged with its development. That task force successfully oversaw the first-year of the program and has transitioned into this team.


Reporting to the Associate University Librarian for Planning and Organizational Research, the Open and Affordable Textbooks (OAT) Team will continue to plan, implement, and assess the President's open textbooks initiative award program, including defining the award process, advertising the program, soliciting applications, setting criteria, maintaining the web presence and application of the program, selecting awardees, arranging for distribution of funds, exploring ways to support faculty and instructors in creating open content, and assessing the impact.

Areas of Focus

Activities will include:


The OAT Team will include representatives of each university library director who work extensively on library instruction or collection development and others as their expertise is needed. Additional coordinating members are the director of Communications, the director of Financial Planning and Business Operations, the head of Integrated Information Systems (IIS), a representative from Central Technical Services (CTS), and a representative from Collection Services and Resource Sharing (CSRS). The liaison to Cabinet will be the Associate University Librarian for Planning and Organizational Research.

Current director representatives are:

Roberta Bronson Fitzpatrick (RBHS)
Bonnie Fong (Newark)
Laura Palumbo (NB)
Lily Todorinova, chair (NB)
Zara Wilkinson (Camden)

Jeanne Boyle (Cabinet Liaison) is an additional team member.

Support is provided as needed by:

Colin Bitter (CTS)
Abigail DiPaolo (Financial Planning and Business Operations)
Cathy Pecoraro (CSRS)
Jessica Pellien (Communications)
Tibor Purger (IIS)


The OAT Team will develop an annual timeline for the award program and will communicate progress throughout the award process by including the Liaison in team meetings and email communications. The Team will develop a communication plan for keeping liaisons informed and supporting outreach to their faculty.

Members' Work Commitment and Accommodation

Member participation in the OAT Team is a significant part of their primary job responsibilities and shall be evaluated as such during all appropriate performance reviews. Because membership in the group represents a substantial work commitment, unit directors are expected to accommodate the workload requirements for participating library faculty and staff.

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