Engaged Learning

University of San Francisco Partners with Loyola Marymount University on $1.5M Department of Education Open Textbooks Pilot Grant: OER for Social Justice

SAN FRANCISCO (January 25, 2023) — The University of San Francisco (USF), in partnership with Loyola Marymount University (LMU), Saint Mary’s College of California, and Santa Clara University, has received a $1,533,300 grant from the U.S. Department of Education to lead a three-year initiative to support the creation and use of open educational resources (OER).

Librarians from four private Catholic institutions in California - University of San Francisco, Loyola Marymount University, Saint Mary’s College of California, and Santa Clara University – will use the funds to recruit, incentivize, and prepare up to twelve faculty teams to adapt, create, and publish OER that integrate diverse, equitable, inclusive, and anti-racist resources into high-enrollment courses across multiple disciplines. The William H. Hannon Library at LMU will administer the grant in collaboration with an inter-institutional project team of librarians from all four institutions.  

Replacing commercial course materials with these new OER has the potential to save at least 6,000 students more than $500,000 in the first year of adoption alone. OER are teaching and learning materials that are free of cost and access barriers, that additionally provide legal permission for open use. For more information about OER, visit the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC)

“We are all tremendously excited about this work at Gleeson Library. OER, including textbooks, align with the university’s mission to provide our students equal access to educational materials and opportunities for academic success, regardless of financial or logistical barriers,” says Shawn P. Calhoun, Dean, Gleeson Library. “Developing open access resources is a vital component of USF’s and the Gleeson Library’s strategic plan. Providing our students access to academically rigorous tools and a vast wealth of knowledge will help them succeed in the classroom and down the road in their chosen vocation.”

Ultimately, this project will reduce costs for students enrolled in courses that use these materials, increase faculty capacity to create and promote OER in their disciplines, and add new content to the growing body of OER that can be adapted and freely used by educators to further integrate the principles of diversity, equity, justice, and inclusion into their curriculum.

USF’s grant liaison is Nicola Andrews, Open Education Librarian at Gleeson Library. Nicola states, “This funding from the Department of Education is a remarkable recognition that these four private religious colleges in California are forward-thinking, student-centered, and are collaborating to make higher education more equitable. Furthermore, this is a vital recognition of the work that 14 faculty teams have undertaken with the help of our USF OER Faculty Grants, which have been sponsored by the Library Dean’s office since 2018. The University of San Francisco has long led the way with open education, including passing an Open Access Policy in 2018 - the first for a Jesuit institution. I am overjoyed that Gleeson Library will be able to build on this foundation and offer significantly increased funding, community, and support for faculty to produce and adapt open educational resources - and I hope our grant alumni consider applying.”

“This grant exemplifies USF’s values of anti-racism, diversity, equity and inclusion and our commitment to access in education,” said Chinyere Oparah, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs. “This pilot is an innovative example of how institutions can come together to advance social justice. Open educational resources meaningfully reduce costs and tangibly improve student access to vital teaching and learning materials. I am grateful to the faculty and librarians who will develop OER for social justice and am pleased to be working so closely with peer institutions in the Jesuit and LaSallian networks to address cost and access barriers for students in California.”

Information sessions and a call for faculty applicants across all four institutions will be announced later in spring semester 2023. For more information about this project, contact Nicola Andrews, Open Education Librarian at Gleeson Library.

About Gleeson Library at the University of San Francisco

Under the leadership of University Library Dean Shawn P. Calhoun, Gleeson Library is an exemplary place for contemplation, inquiry, and engagement whose impact is felt throughout the university. As a collaborative and forward-looking organization, we are a central partner in ensuring student success, faculty and staff excellence, research innovation, and social responsibility. For more information, visit library.usfca.edu 

About the University of San Francisco

The University of San Francisco is a private, Jesuit Catholic university that reflects the diversity, optimism, and opportunities of the city that surrounds it. USF offers more than 230 undergraduate, graduate, professional, and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, law, education, and nursing and health professions. At USF, each course is an intimate learning community in which top professors encourage students to turn learning into positive action, so the students graduate equipped to do well in the world — and inspired to change it for the better. For more information, visit usfca.edu