Recognizing Champions of Affordability

By Lia Dearborn and Katherine Holvoet

Co-Chairs, Affordable Learning $olutions Committee, SDSU

The second annual Affordable Learning Solutions (AL$) Faculty Recognition and Vendor Showcase was held September 28, 2018 at the SDSU Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union. This event was held to thank faculty members for participating in the AL$ program and to bring awareness to the CSU wide initiative to lower the cost of course materials for students. The atmosphere was casual and celebratory with a buffet luncheon and vendor partners located along adjoining walls. The high energy in the room came from like-minded individuals with a shared goal, saving students money.

The event began with an introduction from the Director of Instructional Technology Services James Frazee, who welcomed the CSU Chancellor’s Office AL$ Director Leslie Kennedy.

Dr. Russel Larsen

Dr. Russell Larsen, Professor of Instruction in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Houston, shares how he helps catalyze change.

The SDSU AL$ Committee Co-Chair Lia Dearborn then introduced Keynote speaker Dr. Russell Larsen, Professor of Instruction in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Houston. His thoughtful and engaging presentation discussed Immediate Access as a way to accelerate the adoption of affordable course content. He also shared best practices to promote student success in large enrollment STEM courses. He showed how learning analytics effectively informs student, instructor, and institutional decisions using course-level student engagement data.

President Adela de la Torre, offered a moving and supportive address, and for many of the attendees, this was their first opportunity to hear her speak. She stressed the benefits that access to affordable class materials has upon student success. Her support and attendance at the event validated the efforts AL$ has made on campus and encouraged all attendees to engage further.

President giving a speech

President de la Torre spoke about her experience with affordable course materials and how important they are to our SDSU students.

President of Associated Students, Christopher Thomas, provided his endorsement of the program and shared how AL$ has helped him as a student. A student Q&A session panel led by Frazee gave students the opportunity to share their experiences with Immediate Access and Open Educational Resources (OER) materials, and the impact of textbook costs on their decision-making. The student participants, Isabel Diaz, Daria Dragicevic, and Tommy Cao brought the student perspective to life during the event.

Student Discussion

Students discuss how Immediate Access and OER have affected their college experience.

Faculty awardees were recognized by AL$ Co-Chair Katherine Holvoet and certificates were awarded by Provost Joseph Johnson. This year, Michael Rapp (Communications), Eve Kornfeld (History), Christopher Brum (Special Education), Stephen Goggin (Political Science), Douglas Leonard (Astronomy), John Mercurio (Political Science), Arthur Santana (Journalism and Media Studies), and Chris Werry (Rhetoric and Writing Studies) were recognized for their AL$ efforts. These faculty members each adopted OER or elected to offer their textbooks via Immediate Access, and along with the larger faculty adoption, have saved SDSU students $3.7 million since 2016.

We expect the participation and enthusiasm for student affordability will continue to thrive at SDSU. Faculty support of AL$ initiatives is invaluable, and we hope to recognize even more faculty next year.

For more information about AL$ efforts at SDSU please visit:

Instructional Technology Services
Adams Humanities, 1st Floor
San Diego State University
5500 Campanile Dr.
San Diego, CA 92182-8114