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UW Libraries Names Open Textbook Grant Recipients

February 25, 2019

University of Wyoming Libraries recently awarded open textbook grants to eight faculty members and one graduate assistant to implement open educational resources (OER) in their classes.

The open textbooks resulting from the grants are projected to save UW students more than $25,000 each semester.

“The innovation and creativity of UW instructors in this round of grants were amazing,” says Cass Kvenild, assistant dean of UW Libraries. “Faculty from multiple colleges will create new open textbooks and course materials to better meet student needs while saving thousands of dollars in the process.”

Grants are awarded to instructors who adopt, adapt or create new open textbooks or other materials for their courses. Grant awards range from $1,500 to $3,000.

The grant recipients are:

College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

-- Karen Vaughan, an assistant professor in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management. She teaches “Introduction to Soil Science.” Her grant will support the creation of a free, open and accessible lab manual. The development of the manual will allow students the ability to view videos, diagrams and other materials before and after they complete the lab module.

College of Arts and Sciences

-- Christi Boggs, an instructional designer and associate lecturer in the Office of Distance Education Support and the School of Culture, Gender and Social Justice. Boggs teaches “Queer Theory” and discovered that there are no textbooks or OER available for the course. She will work with her students to create OER that will involve narrative and multimedia resources.

-- Michael Brotherton, a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. He teaches “General Astronomy II.” He will develop additional content and exercises to complement currently accessible astronomy textbooks. He will make the newly developed problems and labs free and accessible.

-- Irene Checa-Garcia, an associate professor in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages. She teaches “Spanish for Heritage Speakers.” Her grant will support the creation of pedagogical online materials for heritage speakers of Spanish around the state. Students will be able to access each module online until they master it.

-- Elliott Hulley, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry. He teaches “Inorganic Chemistry Lab.” The inorganic division of the chemistry department has been actively working toward modernization in teaching techniques. Hulley’s grant will support a redesign of the lab manual -- eliminating a printed version and making it accessible online.

-- Geo Nikolov, a graduate assistant in the Department of Classical and Modern Languages. Nikolov teaches “Second Year Spanish I.” He will use materials already found in Creative Commons. Additionally, he will develop a guide to use technology to create story maps and audio production by using UW Libraries resources such as Studio Coe.

-- Gabel Taggart, an assistant professor in the School of Politics, Public Affairs and International Studies. He teaches “Public Personnel Management.” No OER exists for this course, but there are OER textbooks in similar subject areas. He and his graduate students will use existing OER textbooks and recent journal articles to design their own OER specific to his course.

-- Benjamin Wilkowski, an associate professor in the Department of Psychology. He teaches “Research Methods,” and he will use current open access textbooks for adoption into his course.

Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources

-- Steve Smutko, a professor in the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources. He teaches “Approaches to Environment and Natural Resources Problem Solving” and has been developing course materials over the past six years. The grant project will involve developing case studies and curriculum that incorporates collaborative problem-solving and role play simulations.

UW Libraries will award another round of grants for the 2019-2020 academic year. Proposals for that award period are due March 15. The grant award committee will prioritize proposals for high-enrollment classes and those that include UW and community college partnerships.

For more information, visit

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