The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Libraries’ Adopt-A-Free Textbook program recently received a $100,000 commitment from Scott Sawtelle and Kathleen Curry to help advance the mission of supporting faculty in offering free and low-cost learning materials.
The program serves as open educational resources (OER) and incentivizes UTSA faculty that integrate free textbooks into their courses. OER offsets the cost to students having to buy hard-copy books or costly online texts that often cost more than $100 or more per literary material.
To date, the Sawtelle and Curry pledge has been the largest gift to the free textbook program and will afford additional grants for professors opting to use open-access resources for their courses. Sawtelle shared his desire that the gift will work to remove the barriers to student success, and believes students thrive when given the proper tools.
“Kathleen and I thought it was a great idea to provide students—and the professors who teach them—with this opportunity to have greater access to study material,” Sawtelle said. “Going to school and getting a degree is the first big statement in a young person’s life, and we hope we can help as many students as we can make that first big statement.”
UTSA’s Giving Day took place on April 6, with Sawtelle and Curry initially contributing $25,000 to the gift challenge, along with 75 other donors who were asked to take the challenge. Donors' contributions served to unlock the funds for the UTSA Libraries and the Institute of Texan Cultures, and the day’s goal was met with the additional $25,000 annual pledge from the couple in the course of the next three years.
“We are whole-heartedly grateful and humbled by the generosity of Scott and Kathleen not only for their challenge gift during Giving Day but also for their commitment to helping fund our free textbook program,” said Dean Hendrix, Dean of UTSA Libraries. “We foresee that this gift will have an immediate impact on several thousand UTSA students and will only grow exponentially over time. It will truly help put the libraries at the forefront of championing open resources for students.”
To learn more about UTSA’s Adopt-A-Free Program, and about the Sawtelle and Curry pledge to the program, view the original article from UTSA Today.