Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

WT says goodbye to textbook purchases

On Aug. 24, West Texas A&M University announced that students will not be required to buy textbooks starting next year, according to a press release.

President of WT, Dr. Walter Wendler, said this plan aims to find ways to make higher education more affordable.

“Too many students are borrowing more money than they should, ” Wendler said. “But textbooks, even though it’s a small portion of what students have to pay for, it’s something that maybe our faculty working together can find ways to reduce the costs of textbooks.”

Wendler has talked about going textbook-free for about five years and wants to take this academic year to research and study to find alternatives to traditional textbooks while not impacting the quality of education.

“We’re going to spend a year looking at all this and seeing if we can find alternatives to traditional textbooks,” Wendler said. “I want the deans to be on board with the experiment, in other words, to help us facilitate the innovation and the ideas that are going to be needed to try to create alternatives to traditional textbooks.”

Wendler says all the college deans are on board with this decision; however, not all faculty are on board. Wendler argues that many classes, like computer science, don’t need a textbook for the course. Faculty Senate President David Craig sent a letter to Wendler saying this decision and deadline came as a surprise.

“We want to emphasize the importance of the quality of educational materials, such as textbooks,” Craig said in the letter. “The fall 2024 textbook deadline and mandate to pass all textbook costs to the colleges has taken the Senate by surprise.”

The letter said the Faculty Senate still has questions and concerns, but wants to work with Wendler and the administration.

Throughout the year, Wendler says the university will research to address concerns like redoing courses, professors who publish their own textbooks and ensuring professors have up-to-date information for the classes. Wendler also says tuition for students will not increase.

“The Board of Regents of the Texas A&M University System and Chancellor John Sharp have said for the next two years until 2025, no tuition increases and no academic fee increases,” Wendler said.

If the university cannot make courses textbook-free but can decrease the cost from $1,200 to $200, Wendler will consider that a victory for students. But if the plan doesn’t work, he also says, “I’m not afraid of failure.”

The university will start scheduling lunches so faculty members can come participate and get some assistance in looking at the available technologies. The first one is scheduled for Sept. 15 at the Marmaduke Internet Innovation Center.

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Blass Guerrero
Blass Guerrero, Former Senior Reporter, Former Video and Audio Editor
Hello, my name is Blass Guerrero, and I’m from Dumas, Texas. I am currently a senior as a broadcast journalism major. I like to work out, hang out with friends, and read everything about Apple and the tech world. My goal after college is to work at a major news organization like NBC News or CNN.

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