June 21, 2010

New textbook policy goes into effect

On July 1, Johns Hopkins will roll out a universitywide textbook affordability policy in compliance with new state and federal laws. The intent is to lower the cost of textbooks by ensuring that faculty, staff and students have appropriate options and pertinent and timely information when selecting and purchasing course materials.

The new policy comes in response to the Maryland College Textbook Competition and Affordability Act and the federal Higher Education Opportunity Act.

Before selecting a textbook, faculty need to consider such factors as price, available formats (hardcover, paperback and online editions) and the difference in content between current and previous editions. Also, the university must post certain textbook-related information for all courses—such as a book’s ISBN identifier, whether a previous edition will suffice and anticipated class enrollment—within three weeks after selection of class materials by a faculty member.

To comply with the laws, faculty must acknowledge receipt of information from the publisher by signing an online form.

The university is encouraging early selection and adoption of textbooks and course materials so that students have an opportunity to explore budget-sensitive options.

Faculty will soon receive a letter from their program or dean’s office that will include instructions and a link to the acknowledgment form.

The new policy, a letter from Provost Lloyd Minor, a list of divisional contacts and a FAQ sheet can be found at http://webapps.jhu.edu/jhuniverse/administration/councils_committees_programs/textbook_taskforce.