For the students of Springfield Technical Community College STCC, the cost of an education continues to be a significant issue. More than half of STCC students receive Pell Grants for low-income students. In addition to the cost of tuition, fees, transportation to and from school, and basic living costs, students also struggle with the cost of textbooks and course materials. The cost is significantly high for students looking to train in the health sciences, where an individual textbook can cost more than $200. In order to make the STCC health programs more accessible to underserved communities, the College must examine ways of making the programs more affordable. The STCC Faculty Fellowship Program, started in 2018 with support from NNLMNER, has resulted in an increase of courses that use materials that are openly licensed and or/ available through the STCC Library and the National Library of Medicine, rather than traditional, proprietary textbooks. Because of this success, STCC is looking for a more sustainable way to encourage faculty adoption of free and open resources. The proposed project seeks to continue the Faculty Fellowship Program, but with some distinct changes that will further advocate for open resources and also ensure continuation of the campus OER initiative beyond the period of funding. This project seeks to demonstrate that the availability of free, high-quality resources can make a significant impact on the accessibility of health sciences education at STCC and that by providing professional development opportunities for STCC health sciences faculty, interest in free/open resources will increase, resulting in more courses with zero textbook costs.
Springfield Technical Community College Library