The University of Houston announced an exciting new pilot program to expand the university’s use of open textbooks.

From the announcement by the UH Provost:

I want to share with you that the University of Houston has recently joined the Open Textbook Network (OTN), which supports faculty and student access to a large volume of free, openly licensed, peer-reviewed academic textbooks… As part of our partnership, OTN will provide on-campus workshops which encourage faculty to adopt the use of open textbooks in their classroom and review textbooks already in the library. All textbooks in the library are reviewed by faculty members at member institutions. I am planning to launch a pilot program in which 20 faculty members will receive a stipend to implement the program in one of their courses.

The University of Houston Student Government Association spent the last several months lobbying the administration to create this open textbook program. They first began investigating the high cost of textbooks last fall and discovered the existence of open textbooks. The SGA’s Director of Research then dove into the issue, in search of everything he could find about open educational resources.

Based on his research, SGA President Shane Smith and other SGA leaders met with Paula Myrick Short, the university’s Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. They presented her with their research on the issue and made the case for open textbooks. As it turned out, she had also been investigating open textbooks and was interested in the issue. The SGA members urged her to move forward with a pilot program, and within two months: she did!

Congratulations to the Provost’s Office and the UH SGA for taking such swift action on this important issue!