Policy Portal

University Policy

Textbook Selection Policy

Policy Number: 3349-3-200
Effective Date: 04/01/2020
Responsible Department:Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs

A. Purpose

To establish a University-wide policy and procedure regarding academic course textbook selection. The University desires to reduce student costs and increase the accessibility of a NEOMED education. Textbook selection procedures are designed to promote best practices and respond to state and federal textbook affordability initiatives and legislation.

B. Scope

This policy applies to all Colleges for all Courses at NEOMED.

C. Definitions

  1. “Textbook” refers to a text, electronic or print, that a Faculty member instructs students to purchase for use as a central learning resource for a Course.
  2. “Course” for the purpose of this policy, refers to all “Course Types” listed in the University’s published course catalog.
  3. “Course Director” refers to a faculty member who is responsible for textbook selection for their respective course.
  4. “E-book” or “Electronic Textbook” refers to an online, electronic version of a print Textbook that is made available for student use on the NEOMED Library website. E-books may include open-access resources and materials paid for by annual Student Fees.
  5. “Publisher” refers to a publishing company of a college Textbook or Supplemental Materials involved in retail sale with the NEOMED Bookstore.
  6. “Recommended Textbook” refers to Textbooks that students are not required to purchase upon registering but are recommended as supplements for understanding Course learning outcomes. Students cannot use federal financial aid to pay for Recommended Textbooks.
  7. “Required Textbook” refers to Textbooks that students are required to purchase upon registering for a Course for which they may request federal financial aid.
  8. “Student Fees” refers to fees incorporated into the NEOMED students’ Cost of Attendance to cover specific student resources, including certain Library educational resources.
  9. “Supplemental Materials” refers to additional educational materials meant to accompany a Course Textbook that may include print materials, electronically distributed materials, website access, or necessary equipment to apply Textbook lessons (e.g. stethoscope). Supplemental Materials must be designated as “required” or “recommended” for federal financial aid allocation.

D. Textbook Selection Principles

NEOMED respects the academic freedom of Faculty to select any and all Textbooks that they deem most appropriate for the academic success of their students and to meet Course learning outcomes. Course Directors are strongly encouraged to carefully consider the following principles during Textbook selection:

  1. Educational Purpose & Utilization. All Textbooks should promote appropriate pedagogical practices and contain the most relevant and up-to-date content for student success in their respective fields of study.
    1. Required Textbooks
      1. A significant portion of Required Textbooks should be heavily utilized as a learning resource throughout the Course.
      2. If a Required Textbook contains Supplemental Materials, Faculty should be aware of the bundled and unbundled pricing. If all or some of the Supplemental Materials are deemed unnecessary for Course instruction, Faculty should either:
        1. Exclude the Supplemental Material from the reported Required Textbooks list; or
        2. Contact the NEOMED Bookstore or the Publisher to acquire only certain available Supplemental Materials at an unbundled price.
    2. Recommended Textbooks:Because Recommended Textbooks are not covered by federal financial aid, Faculty are strongly encouraged to only add Recommended Textbooks if they offer a significant benefit to student understanding of Course learning outcomes and effectively supplement the Required Textbooks of the Course.
  2. Affordability
    1. If multiple Textbooks are comparable in quality but range in price, Course Directors are strongly encouraged to choose the Textbook that is more affordable to students.
    2. Publishers are required to report any substantial content revisions from the most current edition to the previous edition of all Textbooks. If the previous edition can support academic success in the Course and the revisions to the most current edition are not significant, Course Directors are strongly encouraged to advise their students that previous editions may be available in the NEOMED Bookstore at a reduced price.
    3. Format. Course Directors are strongly encouraged to consider selecting E-books when available and appropriate. Electronic textbooks are often cheaper for students and may be available through the NEOMED Library at no additional cost.
  3. Preferential Consideration of NEOMED Library Resources
    1. Course Directors should contact the Library to explore the digital and hardcopy resources already available when developing or modifying a Course. Some Library materials are purchased with Student Fees, so these materials should be prioritized for use in new courses, if applicable. If a new resource is necessary, it may require review and approval by the University (i.e., Library acquisition of the resource, central vs. local management, budget request, incorporation into the Student Fee structure, etc.).
    2. Course Directors should utilize the NEOMED Library reference librarian and the NEOMED Library collection when engaged in new Course development or Course modification.
    3. Course Directors should utilize open-access, educational resources written by contributing faculty authors from universities across the United States such as OpenStax and Open Textbook Library.
    4. NEOMED Library Purchase Recommendation Form
      1. This form may be utilized to recommend the purchase of Textbooks or other library materials. The form must be completed a year before the material is required. All purchasing recommendations are reviewed by the Educational Resource Advisory Committee.
  4. Selection Transparency.Course Directors are strongly encouraged to discuss the reasoning for selecting Course Textbooks with their students. Textbooks are a significant expense, so students should fully understand the decisions behind the selection of their Course materials.

E. Textbook Selection & Reporting Procedure

The following procedure must be followed by the Faculty of all Colleges:

  1. Selection
    1. Textbooks are selected by Course Directors.
    2. Course Directors are responsible for meeting any deadlines of the authorities in their College for Textbook selection, syllabus approval, and Textbook list reporting.
    3. Additional approval may be required from the College Dean before selecting a Textbook by a Faculty author.
  2. Approval
    1. Course syllabi and their corresponding Textbook selections must be approved by the appointed authority in each College:
      1. College of Medicine syllabi and textbook selections are approved by the Curriculum Management and Assessment Committee.
      2. College of Pharmacy syllabi and textbook selections are approved by the Curriculum Committee.
      3. College of Graduate Studies syllabi and textbook selections are approved by the Graduate Faculty Council.
    2. During the approval process of a new Course, the respective approving body is highly encouraged to consider ways in which the Textbooks for the Course can be made more affordable for students.
  3. Reporting
    1. All Colleges must compile and report a complete list of Courses and their corresponding Required Textbooks for the following academic year to the Office of Financial Aid, the NEOMED Library, and the NEOMED Bookstore by March 1. The following information must be included for each Course within the College:
      1. Course name
      2. Required Textbooks
        1. Title
        2. Author
        3. Edition number
        4. International Standard Book Number (ISBN)
        5. Format (e.g. E-book, library resource, print)
      3. Supplemental Materials that should be made available to students for purchase at the NEOMED Bookstore.
    2. Elective Courses should be included in the Textbook list reported by Colleges for the following academic year.
    3. Course Directors with Textbook lists that are expected to incur zero cost to students or include solely Electronic Textbooks are still expected to report their Textbook list.
    4. For any unreported Courses, it will be assumed that the Textbook list will remain the same for the following academic year as it is in the current academic year.
  4. Publishing
    1. To ensure compliance with federal financial aid requirements, a complete list of Textbooks by Course with all required information, in addition to retail price, must be published for student access before March 15 on the NEOMED website.
      1. Retail price will be determined and reported by the NEOMED Bookstore to the Office of Financial Aid based on Publisher and distributor pricing for the purpose of calculating student Cost of Attendance.
    2. Any information unable to be published for student access should be labeled as “To Be Determined” until the Course Director reports the necessary information for the Course to the Office of Financial Aid and the NEOMED Bookstore.


Lisa Noland
Administrative Specialist
Phone: 330.325.6354
Email: lnoland@neomed.edu

Office of General Counsel

Northeast Ohio Medical University