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UW Libraries Names Alternative Textbook Grant Recipients

August 22, 2022

University of Wyoming Libraries recently awarded alternative textbook grants to eight faculty members and two graduate students to implement open educational resources (OER) in their classes for the academic year.

The open textbooks resulting from the grants are projected to save UW students more than $49,000 per semester. Additionally, this grant award round will benefit teaching faculty and instructors at UW and Wyoming’s K-12 schools.

“This year, we’re introducing a new tool called Pressbooks to better support our faculty in writing publications,” says Chad Hutchens, head of Digital Collections at UW Libraries. “We will offer a workshop this upcoming grant round to help faculty members better evaluate copyright and have a better understanding of the intent of open educational resources.”

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 Arts and Sciences 

-- Scott Freng, a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology. Freng teaches “General Psychology.” He will adopt a preexisting open text for this high-enrollment course.

-- Zachary Taylor, an assistant lecturer in the School of Politics, Public Affairs and International Studies. Taylor teaches “American and Wyoming Government.” He will work with students in his course to create an Open Education Political Science Dictionary.

College of Education 

-- Ali Bicer, an assistant professor in the School of Teacher Education. Bicer teaches “Elementary Math/Science Education” and “Elementary Mathematics Education.” He will create an open education textbook tentatively titled “How to Foster Students’ Mathematical Creativity in the 5th Grade Common Core-Aligned Classrooms.”

College of Health Sciences  

-- Sandra Leotti, an assistant professor in the Division of Social Work. Leotti teaches “Human Behavior and the Social Environment.” She will adopt an existing OER book for her course, which is a required foundational course for all Master of Social Work students.

Cross-Disciplinary Team

-- A team of instructors from the Science Initiative’s Learning Actively Mentoring Program (LAMP) and the Ellbogen Center for Teaching and Learning (ECTL) was awarded a grant to develop open videos promoting collaboration across disciplines. The awardees are Rachel Watson, LAMP director and a senior lecturer in the Department of Chemistry; Janel Seeley, ECTL director; Christi Boggs, associate director of digital teaching and learning in the ECTL and a faculty member in the School of Culture, Gender and Social Justice; Thomas “T.K.” Stoudt, a temporary lecturer with the Veterans Services Center; and Andrew Siegel, a Master of Fine Arts candidate in the Creative Writing Program from Bethel, Maine.

The group will develop an open access documentary film about the value of collaborative communication practices at UW. The open education video will be a companion to additional open resources developed at UW related to collaborative communication for course instruction. The documentary will be used with LAMP, the ECTL and courses such as “Microbiology Capstone,” “Introduction to Social Work,” “Queer Theory,” “Topics in Environment and Natural Resources” and “Field Studies in Kinesiology.” 

Additionally, the resource will be used nationwide in a learning community Watson leads through an inclusive excellence grant funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Wyoming Science Communication Initiative

-- Michelle Mason, a graduate assistant in the College of Education from Clayton, Calif. She also works with the Wyoming Science Communication Initiative (WySCI). WySCI recently launched a free, global certification program in science communication, and Mason will develop open resources for the program.

UW Libraries will award another round of grants for the spring 2023 semester. Applicants will be required to attend the “Introduction to OER” workshop Tuesday, Sept. 20, before submitting grant applications. Proposals will be due Friday, Oct. 21.

For more information, visit; or call Hutchens at (307) 766-5560 or email   

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