Student Government Association’s Academic Affairs Committee Chair Emma Murphy and SGA Senator Arthur Adriano are currently working on a campus-wide “Textbook Affordability and Transparency Initiative” to evaluate textbook relevance in the classroom, as well as to gauge the average dollar amount students spend each semester on required texts.
Emma Murphy, a junior Secondary Education major and Arthur Adriano, a sophomore History major, discussed how the survey will collect concrete data on the influence these textbooks have on the Seton Hall community.
“I understand that being able to afford textbooks is a detrimental aspect of success in class, and the Academic Affairs committee wants to make education accessible to as many as possible,” Murphy said. “As the committee chair, I was inspired to start this initiative after hearing peers discuss the high cost of textbooks and how little they are used in class, as well as experiencing this myself.”
Ruby Pasupuleti, a sophomore biology major, and Thanelie Bien-Aime, a sophomore biology major, both agreed that the cost of textbooks is too overpriced, and opt to alternatively buy or rent eBooks.
“It saves a little of money and I don’t have to worry about the condition of the book,” Bien-Aime said.
Pasupuleti admitted that despite her decision to purchase eBooks, she would much rather prefer using a book as her learning method. Due to the price, however, sometimes she avoids buying the textbooks altogether and chooses to share with others.
“Since I don’t have the book on me all the time, it hinders my learning,” Pasupuleti said. “I think teachers should definitely provide an alternative like scanning and printing out relevant pages.”
According to Adriano, their short term objectives are to have the university bookstore be more transparent in the affordability of textbooks so student can make informed decisions regarding this academic resource, and to have the faculty and administration of the College of Arts & Sciences adopt programs and initiatives that are in collaboration with the bookstore and university libraries.
James Gelenites, a senior communication major, proposes that some students may not necessarily be able to financially afford the high price of textbooks. “Perhaps teachers should always make sure that the textbook they are requiring is available in the library to take out,” Gelenites said.
The SGA Committee members involved in this initiative also intend to conduct a survey specifically created for faculty.
“We are curious to know how often they incorporate textbooks when writing syllabi, and if not having the required book would be detrimental to their student’s grades,” Murphy said.
The Academic Affairs Committee (AAC) plan to first issue the survey in the College of Arts & Sciences, with the hope that the broad student population can provide a large input of responses.
They are currently working with the Assistant Dean of Students for Leadership Development in the Department of Student Life, as well as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences to distribute this initiative to students through email as soon as possible.
The results from this platform will help the SGA Committee decide the next steps of this initiative.
“I believe that through constructive discussions with appropriate administrators, we can accomplish anything worthwhile project we set our minds to that brings true benefit to the student body,” Adriano said. “The Textbook Affordability and Transparency Initiatives are projects that do just that.”
Caitlin Gartley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.