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MAT: Movement for Affordable Textbooks

Textbook-related resources for faculty, students and administrators.

Getting Involved with MAT

MAT is looking for new members! If you are interested in working with other members of the Vassar community to find solutions to the high cost of course materials, contact one of the committee chairs to express your interest.

Accomplishment to date include:

  • The creation of this MAT website to share information to students, demystify financial awards regarding textbooks, and highlight options for Vassar students to access and obtain textbooks.
  • MAT surveyed students in Spring 2021 and again in Spring 2023 to better understand the impact on Vassar students.
    • One finding was a reliance by some students on the Libraries Reserve departments to gain access to textbook readings.  As a result of the survey, MAT encouraged the Libraries to continue the Textbook Lending Program in which faculty request that textbooks be purchased for the Library collection and placed on Library Reserve.

Awareness has been raised through:

  • Presentations and discussions with students and faculty: Library Committee, Chair and Directors meeting, EPI summer student institution presentations by co-chairs Christopher Raymond and Sarah Canino, July 2021 and July 2022.
  • A Talking About Teaching session was held in January 2022.
  • The MAT syllabi statement, endorsed by the Dean of the Faculty, sent out to Vassar faculty members to share with the students in their classes.
  • A link to the MAT website in the Vassar App. 

For the academic year 2023/24 MAT members decided to focus on 4 projects:

  • Users: data-gathering subgroup: which will look at crafting an annual student survey to collect data on textbook usage at Vassar College 
  • Textbooks at Vassar: data-gathering subgroup: which will look at the cost of textbooks assigned at Vassar College by subject
  • OER subgroup:  which will look at online educational resources and ways to support Vassar faculty in the creation of online textbooks
  • Sources of textbook funding subgroup: which will explore viable funding sources for helping Vassar students purchase their textbooks.

2024/25 Members

Catherine Tan

Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology; MAT Co-Chair

Elizabeth Salmon

Social Science Librarian, Vassar College Libraries, MAT Co-Chair

Pambanisha Whaley

Head Users Services, Vassar College Libraries, MAT Co-Chair

Sarah Canino Music Librarian, Vassar College Libraries

Mary Ellen Czesak

Advisor to the Class of 2025; Senior Lecturer and Laboratory Coordinator, Biology Department

Lioba Gerhardi

Dean of First-Year Students and Advisor to the Class of 2027; Visiting Assistant Professor, German Studies Department

Kirandeep Gill

Assistant Store Director, Vassar College Store
Ken Foster Office of Sustainability, Director of Sustainability 

Simon Hoellerbauer

Postdoctoral Fellow in Data Science and Society

Bianca Keesler

House Advisor for Cushing & Noyes Houses; Assistant Director of Community Expectations

Sarah Pearlman Professor and Chair, Department of Economics

Michelle Quock

Director, Transitions Program

Emma Ritter

Senior Assistant Director of Student Financial Services

Becca Rodriguez EP student intern

Tianyu Xiong

EP student intern