Policy on Faculty-Authored Textbooks

Policy Memorandum No. 5a

Recommended by University Council
Approved by University Council: May 15, 1978
Approved by the President: May 15, 1978
Effective: Immediately

During the current academic year, three Commissions examined the University's policy with respect to the adoption of textbooks authored by Virginia Tech faculty and intended for purchase by students for use in our classes. The topic originated in the in the Commissin on Undergraduate Studies last fall and later was considered by the Commission on Graduate Studies and Research and the Commission on Faculty Affairs. All three Commissions advanced recommendations regarding the approval procedure for faculty-authored textbooks. A conference committee, including representatives from the three Commissions, was convened to resolve the differences among the three separate recommendations. In all, the three Commissions invested a total of seven meetings to discussion of the issue, and many individual faculty communicated views that were considered.

All three Commissions agreed, unanimously, that approval of facultyauthored textbooks requires careful monitoring at the departmental, college and University levels. The University Commissions (CUS and CGSR) look to the author of the text for a statement of justification and to his/her colleagues in the discipline for a statement of approval. Although some Commission members urged that royalties from local sales of faculty-authored texts accrue directly to the department's account in the VPI Educational Foundation, in order to curb or discourage potential abuses, it is believed that the approval procedure set forth in this policy renders that stipulation unnecessary. The approved policy follows:

University Policy on Faculty-Authored Textbooks


The authoring of a textbook may make a significant contribution to the instructional process and may also bring recognition to the author and to the institution. Many textbooks are handled by publishers which market them successfully across the country. Indeed, some textbooks are marketed abroad and a number may even be translated into different languages for use on the international market. Within the past few years, however, a national trend has developed whereby an increasing number of publishers have encouraged faculty to author specialized textbooks for a local market. While such faculty-authored textbooks may be of impressive quality and suitability for Virginia Tech classes, the practice does require careful monitoring.


It is the policy of the University that textbooks, manuals, workbooks or other class material authored by Virginia Tech faculty and intended for purchase by students for use in Virginia Tech classes may not be used unless first approved by the appropriate departmental, collegiate and university-level committees. This review should require the reapproval on a four-year cycle for all (new and existing) facultyauthored texts. During that review process, explicit consideration should be given both to the appropriateness of the text for the course in question and the extent to which the text is used in similar or identical courses at other specifically identified institutions.

Faculty-authored textbooks which have not gained approval at other institutions will be subject to very careful scrutiny. A one-year temporary approval may be granted to such textbooks pending adoption and/or use by other academic institutions. Normally, to secure final approval, the Commissions would expect to receive verification of adoptions and/or utilization elsewhere.


President's Policy Memorandum

URL: http://purl.vt.edu/vtdocs/policies/ppm05a