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Ambassadors Serve to Create Affordable Learning Solutions

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Twenty-two faculty members have been named Affordable Learning Solutions (AL$) ambassadors and will be learning how to use open educational resources (OER) — freely accessible, openly licensed books, documents and media used for teaching, learning and research — in the classrooms.

“AL$ is a California State University project that enables faculty to choose and provide affordable, quality educational content for their students,” explains Shelli Wynants, director of the Office of Online Education and Training, part of the new Faculty Support Services located on the second floor of the Pollak Library. “By reducing students’ material expenses, more students can acquire the course materials they need to succeed and benefit from their classes.”

All full and part-time faculty members are eligible to become AL$ ambassadors, with priority given to those teaching general education courses. The ambassadors will complete two professional development certificate programs involving OER exploration, choosing and creating accessible instructional materials, and employing Universal Design for Learning principles in their teaching and curriculum, said Wynants. They receive stipends for attending the certificate programs and for implementing OER/library resources in their courses.

“Our goal is to reduce instructional materials costs by at least 30 percent per course for students,” she noted, adding that ambassadors will also be a part of the OpenStax partnership to increase awareness and grow adoption of OER beyond the ambassador ranks.

This year’s ambassadors are:
Joel Abraham, associate professor of biological science
Lucia Alcala, assistant professor of psychology
Gwendolyn Alexis, lecturer in African American studies
Anthony Alvarez, assistant professor of sociology
Tara Barnhart, lecturer in secondary education
Therese Cooper, lecturer in human communication studies
Dydia DeLyser, assistant professor of geography
Tamatha Esguerra, lecturer in sociology
Sara Ghadami, lecturer in computer science
Natalie Graham, assistant professor of African American studies
Emily Hamecher, lecturer in geological sciences
Gina Harmston, lecturer in kinesiology
Erin Hollis, associate professor of English, comparative literature and linguistics
Jinghui Liu, professor of modern languages and literatures
April Medrano, lecturer in English, comparative literature and linguistics
Jamila Moore Pewu, assistant professor of history
Ana Nez, lecturer in Chicana and Chicano Studies
Urvi Patel, lecturer in gerontology
Banafshe Sharifian, lecturer in health science
Valerie Smolek, lecturer in marketing
Lisa Tran, professor of history
Jindong Wu, associate professor of geography