Student Body President and Vice President to present findings to Dean’s Council

Student Body President Hunter Barclay and Student Body Vice President Hannah Petracca will present information they gathered about educational affordability to Marshall University’s Dean’s Council next Tuesday.

During the presentation, Barclay said he and Petracca plan to tell the Dean’s Council the course sections within each dean’s college that would have the greatest cost savings for students if more affordable educational materials were used.

“We want to go to them [the Dean’s Council] and show them what the current cost is for some of their highest enrollment courses, and then, if they switch to an affordable alternative, how much cost savings for students on an annual or per semester basis,” Barclay said.

Petracca said she and Barclay are going into the presentation having completed research on the affordability of educational materials currently used at Marshall as well as the affordability of educational materials that could serve as alternatives for those materials.

Petracca said she and Barclay have looked at Marshall University courses with the highest number of enrollment and what textbooks they are currently using. If the course is not currently using what they consider to be an affordable option, she and Barclay did research to see what “affordable” options were out there and compared numbers.

Presenting to the Dean’s Council is only one step of a three-tier process, Barclay said. Following their presentation to the Dean’s Council, Barclay said he and Petracca plan to go to department chairs and to eventually reach out to professors who consistently teach a section of one of the courses they are targeting, to see if they would want to accept stipend money Barclay and Petracca are proposing in return for changing their course materials.

Petracca said it comes down to the decision of faculty members, who will be making the switch if they agree to change over their course materials to the affordable options and to receive the stipends Barclay and Petracca are proposing.

“Honestly, it comes down to their decision,” Petracca said. “Faculty members are 100 percent entitled to say ‘I don’t want the money, and I’m not making the switch.’ We don’t foresee that happening, but ultimately the whole reason for the money for the stipends is so we can pay them for their time, because we understand that switching over all of your course material does take a lot of time and research. I mean, obviously, we understand that, because we’ve been doing research ourselves, so we really just want to make sure that our faculty members are adequately paid for their time.”

Jesten Richardson can be contacted at [email protected].