Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Rio Salado College Wins Innovation of the Year Award

The Rio Salado College Textbook Savings Program was named the recipient of the Maricopa Community Colleges Innovation of the Year Award for 2007-08 on Friday.

"The Maricopa Innovation of the Year award is designed to recognize employees and acknowledge innovative ideas that have had a positive impact on the education of students,” said Eric Leshinskie Interim District Director Academic Affairs, Support Programs and Services who organized the event.

The Textbook Savings Program was chosen from a field of 11, one from each of the ten Maricopa community colleges and the district office.

Development for the textbook program began more than eighteen months ago by Rio Salado College Vice President Todd Simmons and Vice President Emeritus/Executive Consultant- Online Learning Carol Scarafiotti.

“It is especially wonderful to have the Textbook Savings Program recognized as the Maricopa Innovation of the year because the beneficiary of this innovation is the Rio online student,” said Scarafiotti.

”Students purchasing these textbooks save an average of 51 percent over the previous textbook cost and receive a new textbook with the content customized just for the online course,” said Scarafiotti.

“Rio Salado’s innovation is a great example of what is possible when colleges think outside the box,” said Simmons.

In September 2006 Rio Salado College began looking at ways to address the issue of textbook affordability. In January 2008, the college launched the Textbook Savings Program.

“By adopting custom textbooks that contain only relevant information, purchasing those textbooks from a single publisher, and increasing the number of new books sold, the College was able to achieve an average savings of 51percent,” said Simmons.

Gone are the days of trying to purchase used textbooks or sell the used textbook back at the end of the course, only to find that the bookstore will not purchase it because a new edition has been released, said Simmons.

“Even better, the saving comes when students need it the most -- at the beginning of the course when they also have to pay for tuition,” said Simmons.

As the district winner, Rio Salado will receive the Paul Pair Award, which includes $2,000 for use in furthering the winning innovation. The award is named in memory and honor of Dr. Paul M. Pair, long-time member and former president of the Maricopa Colleges Foundation Board.