Faculty Watch 2015-16

Key Findings Report: Faculty Watch 2015-16 Academic Year

Faculty Select Materials Based on Quality, Cost, and Reputation

In selecting new course materials, the vast majority of faculty (81%) base their selection on the overall content quality of the book, including accuracy, layout, and structure. The second-most important factor in the decision-making process is the cost of the material to the student, along with familiarity and experience with the current edition.

Updating To New Editions

For the most part, faculty indicate they act responsibly in this situation, with the slight majority of 37% updating only when changes between versions become significant, and 21% making the switch to the latest materials when it becomes difficult for students to obtain the older edition. Still, a significant 36% of faculty indicated they adopt the newest release as soon as it becomes available.

Updating Course Content and Materials Based Upon Quality Content

Providing better materials for students and eliminating non-relevant materials ranked as the top reasons for changing course materials; a decisive 91% of instructors said they did not receive any incentives from publishers to change to a new edition or new book. Only 3% of faculty indicated they received a publisher incentive.

Faculty are Comfortable with Digital

Despite speculation to the contrary, the majority of faculty members indicate they are quite comfortable using digital technology in their classrooms; 52% say they are very to extremely comfortable using these materials. Interestingly, faculty with 10-plus years of teaching experience are just as likely to be comfortable using new formats as their younger counterparts.

Use of New Formats

Faculty are gradually adapting to new formats of course materials in their classrooms. Traditional printed textbooks remain the predominant format adopted by instructors, with 93% indicating that they have used printed textbooks over the past 12 months, but only 81% plan to do so again over the coming year. Thirty-six percent of faculty plan to incorporate eBooks into their curriculum during the next 12 months, and 28% will require students to obtain access codes for their classes.

Some New Formats Enhance Learning, Others Don’t

Only 11% feel that eBooks are more effective than printed versions; the majority 54% believe they are equally effective. The same is not true, however, of access codes and adaptive learning tools. Nearly half of faculty believe they are actually more effective in creating positive learning outcomes for students.

With regard to students learning better, faster, and retaining more information, faculty still favor printed textbooks, but they’re seeing positive results from access codes and adaptive learning solutions.

Faculty Recommend the
Campus Store

The vast majority of faculty make recommendations to their students about where to acquire their course materials and the campus store is far and away their top recommended retail location. Over 80% of faculty refer their students to the campus store for their materials, either in-store or online, and 36% point them to Amazon for their purchases. Top reasons for referring to the campus store are convenience, followed closely by confidence that students will get the right books. For those instructors that recommend other retail options, better pricing is the number one reason.

How Big Business, Politics Changed Bookstore Operations

Suzy Staubach, a retired 34-year general-books manager at the UConn
Co-op, a formerly independent member-owned bookstore serving the University of Connecticut, who also penned the Face Out: Notes of a College Bookseller column for The College Store magazine, recently wrote a column for Shelf Awareness about why independent campus stores are fewer. Read more here

8 Things the Most Successful People Do Every Night

8 Things the Most Successful People Do Every Night

Your happy and productive tomorrow starts tonight.


President and CEO, Lead From Within@LollyDaskal

The importance of good morning habits is a no-brainer. It’s common sense that if you wake up early and do good things to ramp your body and mind up for the day, those things will pay off.  How we spend our evenings gets a lot less attention–but they’re just as important, the time that bridges one day into the next.

Train yourself to make that transition a great one with these eight evening habits borrowed from highly successful people.

  1. Read to learn.
    Growth requires learning, and the more topics you’re engaged and interested in, the more effective you can be. But there’s rarely time during the workday to feed your mind or learn something new. If you set aside some time to read in the evening, you’ll find it’s a relaxing way to expand your horizons. As a bonus, it can help you make the transition to a great night’s sleep, as long as you read from a book or an ebook with digital ink rather than the screen of a computer or smart device.
  2. Spend time with people you care about.
    One of the very best ways to nurture yourself is to spend time in the company of people you deeply connect with and care about. These are the people who bring out the best in you, the ones whose support and caring can fuel you through hard times. It doesn’t matter if it’s friends or family, and it doesn’t matter what you do–watching a movie together, taking a walk, or sharing a meal. The point is spending time together.
  3. Make time to do nothing.
    We spend so much of our time in busy-ness. The best antidote is to spend some time not doing anything. Turn off the screens and the sounds, find a quiet corner, and quiet your mind. You can choose to engage in structured meditation or prayer or just concentrate on your breath. A few moments set aside will center you and keep you focused, and it also promotes good sleep.
  4. Take stock.
    The end of the day is a great time to take stock of what’s been happening. Some people journal, others do a mental walk-through. Either way, ask yourself what’s working and what’s not, what needs your attention, what developments are significant. It’s a natural time to check in, and it keeps key concepts at the top of your mind as you prepare for the next morning.
  5. Work out.
    Especially if you’ve spent the entire day at your desk, don’t go to bed until you’ve found a way to move your body. Many people find a hard workout at the gym too stimulating for the evening hours, but a long walk, a yoga class, or even some simple stretches will help your body and leave you relaxed rather than revved up.
  6. Reset to refresh.
    If an active day of work and decision making leave you drained, find a ritual to help you reset your body and your thoughts so you can symbolically leave it behind instead of carrying today’s problems into tomorrow. It may be that one of the habits we’ve already discussed–especially exercise and meditation–covers this base as well. If not, try to create a habit that will signal your brain to reset, like taking a bath or having a cup of herbal tea.
  7. Get organized.
    Do as much as you can in the evening to organize and prepare for the morning. It creates a ritual you can walk through–prepare the coffee, pack anything you need to take with you, set out your clothes. You’ll sleep better knowing that the next day is likely to have a calm, effective start.
  8. Express gratitude. 
    Making gratitude a nightly touchstone helps keep you content and happy. You may build it into another practice, like journaling or meditation, or just take a moment to jot down the top five things you’re grateful for each evening. Gratitude makes you more positive and optimistic, which in turn helps more good things happen.

Good evening habits are all about unwinding and balance and letting go of the pressures of the day. It’s something that pays you back twice–giving you a relaxed, pleasant evening and a more energetic, productive day.