Instructional Materials Selection Policy
Approved October 2007
In the spirit of facilitating excellence in teaching, the process of choosing instructional materials for a course is an opportunity for reflection and growth for the faculty involved. It is also an opportunity for sharing ideas and best practices, both to learn from and support our colleagues.
In order to respect and encourage diversity, exploration, and development in teaching styles and techniques, regular faculty should be able to make their own choices as much as possible with regard to the text or materials they adopt for use in their courses. All instructors are expected to choose instructional materials that support the content of the course. (In particular, per the Faculty Handbook, every section of a course must adhere to the Syllabus of Record.) There are, however, other considerations that must also be taken into account in the text selection process. These include workload expectations, consistency, and cost (both monetary and opportunity cost) to the department and to students.
The issue of workload is essentially one of respecting the value of our colleagues' time. The University has no service expectation for its Adjunct, Affiliate, and Visiting faculty. Therefore, it is not reasonable to require these faculty to participate in the instructional materials selection process, although it is reasonable to encourage their input into the selection process, while simultaneously not placing uncompensated burdens upon them. Similarly, regular faculty should not be compelled to participate in committee meetings whose purpose is to choose instructional materials that they will never use. On the other hand, a large department of very good teachers contains a vast store of accumulated experience, and we all should be able to make use of this resource. In particular, a faculty member who is teaching a course for the first time should not have to reinvent the course, but should be able to draw on the experience of colleagues.
It is also the case that a certain degree of uniformity is desirable in some courses, particularly those with large numbers of sections, those which coordinate closely with other courses (such as Calculus I and II), and those that are substantially taught by instructors other than regular faculty. In such cases, a committee may be necessary to decide on the choice of instructional materials.
In order to respect and encourage diversity and growth in teaching while maintaining consistency as appropriate and minimizing workload, the Department of Mathematics policy on selection of instructional materials is as follows:
- Instructional materials for MTH 097, MTH 110, MTH 122, MTH 123, and MTH 125 will be selected by the Foundations Committee in consultation with whomever of those currently teaching or scheduled to teach these courses in the next year wish to have input.
- Instructional materials for MTH 201, MTH 202, MTH 210, and MTH 225 will be chosen by a committee chaired by the course coordinator, if any, or a regular faculty member, appointed by the assistant chairs, who is scheduled to teach the course in the upcoming year. The remaining members of the committee will consist of all interested faculty among the regular faculty who are scheduled to teach the course during the next year or who taught the course during the last academic year in which it was taught. The committee will solicit input from all non-regular faculty who are scheduled to teach the course and all interested regular faculty.
- For courses other than those listed above, the instructional materials for each section of a course will be selected by the instructor of that section. If this is not possible (for example, if the course is unstaffed at the time that the selection must be made), then the Unit Head will either choose the materials or delegate the choice to an appropriate faculty member.
- The staff in the mathematics office will maintain and post to the L: drive a list of all textbooks used for each course in the past three years.