Different students have different preferred learning styles and therefore our classes are most inclusive when they incorporate multiple learning techniques (listening, talking, reading, writing, working in groups, working alone, problem-solving, etc.). Consequently, well-written textbooks, course readers, and other written materials are useful additions to our courses. The intention of the three policies below is not to discourage the use of these beneficial materials, but only to ensure that they are chosen judiciously and with attention to their expense. This will improve the quality of education for all students, while protecting economically disadvantaged students from unnecessarily high costs. 

1) All required and recommended written course materials that impose a monetary cost upon the students in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry must be approved by a Written Course Materials Committee, which will be appointed each year by the department chair. The committee will include representatives from the Biochemistry, Organic Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, and Instructional Divisions and will consult widely with faculty members not on the committee to ensure that the necessary expertise comes to bear on the committee’s decisions.

Prior to the beginning of each academic term, the committee will ask all faculty members to provide a list of written course materials required or recommended for purchase for their courses in the upcoming term. For each item, the following information must be provided:

  • Bibliographic information
  • A brief description of the content
  • The number of pages 
  • An explanation of how the item will be used
  • The expected retail cost
  • Any potential financial conflicts of interest on the part of the instructor. This includes any royalties earned by the instructor or other faculty members in the department on sales of this item. The royalty amount per copy must be disclosed to the committee. 

At the committee’s discretion, copies of some materials will be requested for review. The committee will then decide whether to approve or disapprove each item. Approval or disapproval will be based on the committee’s assessment of whether or not an item provides value in proportion to its cost. The committee will also check to make sure that appropriate permissions have been granted for copyrighted material. In some cases, approval may be conditioned upon changes to the content and/or cost of the material. 

The purpose of this policy is not to question textbook choices that have been made for our various core course series (e.g., the General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, and Biochemistry series) by the academic divisions. The Written Course Materials Committee will defer to the divisions in the choice of such texts.

2) Faculty members are required to provide students with no-cost alternatives to required and recommended written course materials. Two methods for providing such alternatives are the posting of materials on the Internet for free download or placing hard copies on reserve in the library. When the latter option is selected, the Written Course Materials Committee will decide how many copies are needed and the Department will bear the cost of purchasing these copies. 

3) The following statements, if applicable, must be included in the course syllabus:

A) This statement is required whenever a course includes required or recommended written course materials that impose a monetary cost upon the students: 

All required and recommended written course materials that impose a monetary cost upon the students in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry have been approved by a departmental Written Course Materials Committee. No-cost alternatives to the purchase of these materials are available through the following sources. [Instructions for accessing the no-cost alternatives should be inserted here.]

B) This statement is required if the instructor receives royalties or remuneration of any kind on the sale of written course materials:

The instructor receives royalty payments on the following written materials: [Include a list here. At the instructor’s discretion, the instructor can disclose the amount of the royalties. If the instructor uses the royalties in some way that does not profit the instructor personally (e.g., uses it to purchase food for class discussions, donates it to the department, to the university, to some other text-exempt charity, etc.), this can also be disclosed here at the instructor’s discretion.]