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Textbook Compliance Taskforce

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why has the university adopted a policy on textbook affordability?

The university has adopted this policy in keeping with State and Federal law and in view of its commitment to support textbook affordability measures for our students and their families.

2. What do I have to do as a faculty member to help the university comply with these laws?

To be in compliance, faculty members are advised to take into consideration a number of factors (such as price, available formats and difference in content between current and previous editions) when deciding what textbooks or course materials to require.

3. According to university policy, I must consider a number of factors (such as price, available formats and the difference in content between current and previous editions) when deciding what textbooks or course materials to require. What weight must I give to such factors?

While the University encourages faculty to consider affordability, you remain free to select the textbooks and course materials that you feel are appropriate for the course. You are not expected to assign any particular weight to any one or all of these factors.

4. Can my choice of textbooks or other course materials subject me to liability under the law in an action by students, parents or the government?

The short answer is no; the Maryland law does not provide for any sanctions or recourse against individual faculty members related to their choice of textbooks. The law does not impede faculty from selecting textbooks and course materials the faculty member believes are appropriate for the course. Rather, the purpose of the law is to ensure that universities and faculty appropriately consider affordability in the textbook selection process. It is the University's expectation that faculty will complete the acknowledgment process and consider affordability in making textbook selections.

5. Why am I being asked to fill out an acknowledgement form?

The acknowledgement was developed by the university as a way to demonstrate our commitment to comply with both the State and Federal law, and in keeping with the University Policy on Textbook Affordability.

6. How often must I complete the acknowledgement form?

The frequency of this acknowledgement will be determined by the Dean of your school, and will be linked to academic terms when you will be teaching a course or courses.

7. As a faculty member, how may I get current information regarding textbook pricing, ISBN, publication dates?

Faculty are encouraged to contact their divisional textbook liaison for specific information. Note that each JHU school/program uses one of three bookstore contractors, Barnes & Noble, Matthews, and MBS Direct, to provide textbooks. Each bookstore contractor is knowledgeable about the Maryland textbook law, and the federal Higher Education Opportunity Act textbook requirements. Bookstore personnel can provide information regarding pricing, ISBN numbers, publication dates, etc.

8. Whom do I contact if I have questions about the policy, the acknowledgement form or anything else related to this issue?

If you have any questions or concerns contact the College Textbook Legislation Compliance Task Force liaison for your school.