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Grants Help Cut Student Costs at Dalton State

 

In an effort to help keep college costs low for their students, several Dalton State faculty members have applied for and received grants that help eliminate the need for costly conventional textbooks in their classes. 

This year, Dalton State received more than $50,000 in Affordable Learning Georgia Textbook Transformation grants from the University System of Georgia. The funds will be used to create other means for students to obtain information needed for classes, such as open access resources or using OpenStax textbooks. 

“These grants are just one more example of how Dalton State is working to keep college affordable and accessible for our students,” said Dr. Margaret Venable, interim president. “I am pleased with the dedication of our faculty who clearly care enough to ensure that these affordable options for textbooks are available to them. 

“The Affordable Learning Georgia grants allow us to address some of the student costs of higher education without diminishing the quality of our academic programs,” she said.

The Department of Communication was awarded $30,000 to create open access resources for students taking Fundamentals of Speech.  It is estimated this will save each student $140 per year, or approximately $180,000 for all students each year. 

The public speaking course is required for every student at Dalton State, regardless of their course of study, said Dr. Kris Barton, chair of the Department of Communication,

who worked on the grant. 

“Dr. Barbara Tucker and I are working on a new textbook for the course that will be free for all students,” Barton said. “By creating our own text, we’re able to focus on issues and topics directly relevant to Dalton State students. For example, the chapter on research will specifically detail how to conduct research through Roberts Library and GALILEO. It is rare that a textbook provides that level of specificity for a group of students. So we’re really excited to see the benefits this book will have.” 

Tucker, who helped write the grant, is the interim assistant vice president for Academic Affairs.

A $15,800 grant was awarded to the learning support English course to create open access resources. This grant is expected to save each student $70 in textbook costs. 

“The Affordable Learning Georgia grants ensure that all students are prepared with the materials for class from the very first day, something that isn’t always possible with paid materials,” said Dr. Jenny Crisp, assistant professor of English, who worked on the grant. “Using high-quality open resources is important to the College because it helps our students to be successful.” 

A $10,800 grant was awarded to adopt an OpenStax College textbook for the Introduction to Sociology course. It is estimated that each student enrolled in the course will save $183 per semester. 

“We want our students to succeed,” said Dr. Natalie Johnson, assistant professor of criminal justice, who helped write the grant. “If students have access to free textbooks, they are one step closer to achieving success.” 

The faculty at Dalton State does not want a student to drop a class because he or she cannot afford a textbook, Johnson said.

“I am very proud of our faculty for embracing this initiative to help keep Dalton State College affordable for our students,” said Dr. Andy Meyer, interim vice president for Academic Affairs. “In addition to remaining affordable for our students, the availability of the free or very low cost materials also contributes to student success. Everyone has access to the course materials they need from day one and they don’t have to wait for a textbook to come in or even to make the decision on whether or not to buy a specific book for a class. We have also been very successful in getting our proposals funded; this is truly a testament to the quality of the faculty we have at DSC.”

Also working on the grants were Dr. Hassan El-Najjar, associate professor of sociology and anthropology; Dr. Lydia Postell, associate professor of English and reading; Melissa Whitesell, instructional librarian; Dr. Tami Tomasello, assistant professor of communication; Dr.

Clint Kinkead, assistant professor of communication; Jerry Drye, associate professor of communication; Sarah Min, lecturer in communication; and Nick Carty, associate professor of speech. 

This makes seven total grants Dalton State has received through this program since it began in the fall of 2014. Biology and education courses have also received funds. 

Faculty who worked on previous grants were Susan Burran, assistant professor of biology; Dr. David DesRochers, assistant professor in biology; Dr. Molly Zhou, assistant professor of education; David Brown, instructional technology librarian; Dr. Marina Smitherman, associate professor of biology; and Dr. Chuck Fink, assistant professor of biology.