BCcampus recently launched a faculty fellows program aimed at encouraging more instructor and faculty adoption and use of open textbooks in British Columbia. The fellows will engage in research that determines the efficacy of open textbook use in B.C. institutions and provide mentorship to faculty new to open textbooks through presentations and consultation. The first three fellows include Christina Hendricks, a Senior Instructor in the department of Philosophy at UBC; Dr. Rajiv Jhangiani, Instructor of Psychology at KPU; and Jessie Key, a Professor in Chemistry at VIU. According to Dr. Hendricks, benefitors of open textbooks include students who “don’t have to go into debt so much to pay for their education. And you’re not sacrificing quality by using open resources, so students still get very good materials for their courses”. Additionally, Dr. Hendricks points out that faculty themselves benefit by the ability to revise the textbooks and to fit them to their clases: “it’s much easier to teach with a resource you’ve managed on your own.”
The BC Open Textbook Program has issued a call for applications for its faculty fellows program. The program is designed to encourage the adoption of existing open textbooks, to create advocacy and education for faculty about adaptation and creation, and to ensure the quality and relevance of the collection. Faculty fellows will be responsible for engaging in research that determines the efficacy of open textbook use in BC institutions. The specific focus of the research would be decided in consultation with the BCcampus Open Textbook team. Fellows would also provide mentorship to faculty new to open textbooks through presentations and consultation. This activity would take place both within the context of the fellows’ home institution and their discipline. Appointments will be for a one year term beginning September 2014, and each fellow will receive $10,000 at the conclusion of their service. The application deadline is August 11, 2014.