The University of New Mexico has been selected as one of the recipients of the federal Open Textbook Grant for nearly $2.125 million, recognizing its commitment to advancing education through Open Educational Resources (OER). With this grant funding, UNM will create the New Mexico Open Educational Resources (NMOER) Consortium to help faculty across the state to adopt open-access materials.
This grant, one of only five awarded nationwide by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs, is set to transform the landscape of education in New Mexico.
The NMOER Consortium will allocate funding and resources to faculty at The University of New Mexico, Central New Mexico Community College (CNM), and Santa Fe Community College (SFCC). This program will build on state investments in equitable education, including the NM Opportunity Scholarship, the NM Lottery Scholarship, and State Bill 192.
“Open textbooks can dramatically lower costs for college students and remove unnecessary burdens for those pursuing higher education. Through my role on the Senate Appropriations Committee, I have been proud to secure funding to support the Department of Education’s Open Textbook Pilot Program. I am pleased to now welcome this major investment to help UNM provide more cost-effective course materials to more students,” said Senator Heinrich.
According to UNESCO, “Open Educational Resources (OER) are learning, teaching and research materials in any format and medium that reside in the public domain or are under copyright that have been released under an open license, that permits no-cost access, re-use, re-purpose, adaptation and redistribution by others.” Creating the NMOER-CPP will enable educators across the state to access OER materials aligned with the outcomes included in the New Mexico General Education Curriculum.
UNM University Libraries OER Librarian, Jennifer Jordan, is the principal investigator for the program, and Elisha Allen, UNM director of Online Strategies and Academic Technologies, will be a co-PI.
“This grant program will be pivotal for OER in New Mexico because using open curriculum takes more time and effort for faculty to adopt and adapt. This grant will support faculty and encourage multi-institutional adoption and collaboration of open curriculum,” said Jordan.
UNM’s Open Educational Resource (OER) initiative established in 2022 seeks to provide faculty members with the support they need to adopt low and no-cost textbook and class material solutions for their courses when it aligns with their instructional objectives and academic freedom.
"This grant program will be pivotal for OER in New Mexico because using open curriculum takes more time and effort for faculty to adopt and adapt. This grant will support faculty and encourage multi-institutional adoption and collaboration of open curriculum." - University Libraries OER Librarian Jennifer Jordan
During the grant cycle, The NMOER Consortium will work to collaborate with multiple units within the university, including the University of New Mexico Press, Center for Teaching and Learning, and the University Libraries. The federal grant will expand the initiative to create an OER center within New Mexico where faculty will be able to obtain help researching and creating open curriculum.
“Improving college affordability with OER is one of CULLS’ five strategic priorities. This is an important step forward to achieving it. I am so proud of the efforts of the OER Working Group, and special thank you to our co-chairs in securing this grant,” said Leo Lo, dean of UNM College of University Libraries and Learning Sciences.
Currently, within the grant's duration, five dedicated faculty members from UNM are actively engaged in the development and delivery of Open Educational Resources (OER) curriculum for their courses. These faculty members include Stephen Cabaniss, K. Joe Ho, Ezra Depperman, and Diana Habel-Rodriguez from the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and Mary Rice from the College of Education & Human Sciences. Their collaborative efforts aim to create, adopt, and openly share OER materials to benefit students during this grant cycle. The NMOER Consortium will work with CNM and SFCC to help develop stipend programs for faculty within their institutions.
A Workforce Advisory Board will help review the materials created for the program to ensure the materials appeal to the needs of workforce stakeholders in New Mexico. Members of the Workforce Advisory Board include Workforce Connections of Central New Mexico, University of New Mexico Hospital, The New Mexico Black Leadership Council, and The Bureau of Business and Economic Research at UNM. The overall goal of the program is to benefit New Mexico undergraduate students, so they can afford college, learn relevant workforce skills and outcomes, and obtain jobs within the state.
For more information about the NMOER Consortium and OER opportunities, visit oer.unm.edu and sign up for the OER listserv.