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Four Faculty Members Recognized with 2023 SCoer Awards

Congratulations to the four USC faculty members who are recipients of this year’s University Libraries SCoer awards: Michael Grant, College of Education, Jin Liu, College of Education, Hengtao Tang, College of Education and Kasie Whitener, Darla Moore School of Business.

Given annually by University Libraries, the SCoer awards recognize faculty who use Open Educational Resources (OER) in their classrooms to save their students money. 
 To participate in the program, winning faculty members each attend a one-hour workshop hosted by University Libraries to help them identify or create OER materials for their courses. They commit to switching from the use of a traditional textbook to an OER or library-based resource in one of their classes and are recognized with a certificate and a $500 award. 

Award recipients are selected by USC Student Government representatives and University Libraries staff. 

The selection committee looks closely at three determining factors, says Amie Freeman, Scholarly Communication Librarian. “Those include a strong desire to learn the process of finding and using online educational resources, the potential for long-term financial savings for students, and the availability of OER materials on the subject taught. This year’s winners have shown great enthusiasm for using OER in their courses, and we congratulate them.” 

Student body president Emmie Thompson says the award recipients’ commitment to keeping costs down for their students is deeply appreciated: "We are very thankful for these professors who are going beyond what is expected to ensure students have access to resources they need to succeed. Textbooks can be such a costly expense to students, so this program is huge help in easing that burden for students and promoting equity across campus." 

Student Government Deputy Secretary of Academics Maddie Moore adds that the honorees’ commitment to supporting students can be very impactful: "Thank you to the professors of this award for their dedication to allowing their students to succeed. This award shows the importance of low-cost resources and allowing students to flourish in the classroom." 
Meet this year’s winners: 

Michael Grant 

Associate Professor, Department of Leadership, Learning Design and Inquiry 
College of Education 
 “Our program is the home to the curriculum for the design and development of distance learning and online courses. Our courses should reflect the variety of current technologies and resources available to our students, as well as our students’ students. We must model OER and open pedagogy for our students. I am also interested in providing a more diverse body of knowledge and content with authors who may be outside of mainstream academic publishing or using other venues to share their works.” 

Jin Liu 

Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Educational and Developmental Science 
College of Education 
 “I have always kept cost in mind since I started to teach at USC. As a graduate student, I had to save money at the beginning of each semester to purchase textbooks. The average salary for teachers can make the cost of a $100 textbook burdensome for them. I look forward to learning more about how to create a personalized OER that fits the needs of my course with all sorts of open educational resources, and I anticipate that putting this OER resource to use will improve awareness of OER resources among the multiple instructors who are teaching the course.” 

Hengtao Tang 

Associate Professor, Department of Leadership, Learning Design and Inquiry  
College of Education 
 “OER has been a central focus of my research endeavors, and I have conducted multiple research projects promoting the adoption of OER in K-12 and higher education. Participating in SCoer presents a valuable opportunity for me to translate my research findings into actionable teaching practices. I am deeply passionate about open education and firmly believe in its principles of openness, inclusiveness, and accessibility. Embracing the use of OER not only offers the potential to reduce students’ educational expenses without compromising their learning outcomes but also allows me to tailor personalized instruction to cater to the unique needs of each student.” 

Kasie Whitener 

Lecturer, Department of Management 
Darla Moore School of Business 
“I would like to reduce the cost to students; we don’t use the entire book, and students who purchased the book for prior courses have sometimes not kept it and then have to buy it again. I’m also interested in finding a wider variety of textbooks on entrepreneurship and on adjacent topics germane to the class.” 

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