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Do I need to get departmental or dean approval to adopt an OER textbook?

The short answer is no. The faculty contract allows you to select any course material you consider appropriate to meet the student learning outcomes of the course. Article 17 of the faculty contract, especially 17.2 (p. 167) outlines your academic freedom rights.

Some departments have unwritten "rules" or guidelines that strongly suggest faculty use departmental-approved textbooks. In some cases, there is a perceived need for the entire department to offer the same text for the same class. While this can be helpful in sequenced classes (e.g. Calculus I, II, III), it is still not an official requirement.

If you are interested in exploring or piloting an OER textbook for a class and you're getting push back from other faculty in your department, you are encouraged to reach out to your dean for support.

Under the contract, faculty cannot be criticized or reprimanded in the peer review process for not using a department-approved textbook.

CC License

These questions and answers were written by Andi Adkins Pogue and are licensed under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license.