Published: March 16, 2018

Leslie Reynolds, Interim Dean
1720 Pleasant Street
University of Colorado
184 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0184

Dear Dean Reynolds,

Thank you for your service to the University of Colorado Boulder, its Libraries, and our faculty, students, and staff. I appreciate greatly your willingness to be Interim Dean of the University Libraries and your work as a leader and scholar on our campus.

As you know, one of CU Boulder’s priorities is to ensure that our campus remains affordable while maintaining our world-class status.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, textbook prices increased nearly 88 percent between 2006 and 2016. 

For CU Boulder undergraduate students, they are expected to budget nearly $2,000 per year for books and supplies.

It is incumbent on us, as leaders in public higher education to address those costs in ways that, not only continue to respect shared governance and faculty members’ purview over curricula matters, but also to work collaboratively to reduce the significant financial burden textbooks put on our students.  As such, the campus has committed $1M to facilitate the transition to more affordable textbooks and supplies.

To that end, I am creating the CU Boulder Open Educational Resources Advisory Committee and charging you, as Chair, as follows: 

  1. Examine national trends regarding Open Educational Resources (OER) and make recommendations regarding best practices of their use;
  2. Examine the current use of OER across CU Boulder and make recommendations to increase their use while respecting faculty rights and responsibilities;
  3. Identify any impediments to adoption;
  4. Determine the savings that the average CU Boulder student could achieve if 10, 20, and 50 percent of their textbooks were OER; and
  5. Recommend a path to invest the funds committed to further this effort.

In order to ensure full engagement of faculty, staff, and students, we will announce the creation of this committee and seek nominations and volunteers through CU Boulder Today and other communication formats. I expect nominations to be submitted by April 8th and the committee formed shortly thereafter.    

To the extent that you and the committee feel additional charges would be beneficial to the goal of reducing the cost of textbooks, you may add those as you see appropriate. Your report and recommendations are due to my office by October 2, 2018.

Again, thank you for your service to CU Boulder. I look forward to receiving your report.  

Thank you,

Russ Moore

Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs