There are many opportunities and challenges surfacing in our industry today, and developing collaborative solutions that benefit both the universities and their students is a top priority. How do we come to these solutions? By having open and honest dialogues with the industry’s key players and stakeholders.

That’s why ICBA has teamed with the Association of American Publishers (AAP) to develop Campus Conversations, campus-based dialogues about student success and new models for distributing course materials. Campus Conversations, hosted by local college stores, bring together students, faculty, administrators, and publishers to have frank discussions about how each stakeholder can contribute to better learning outcomes and increased student retention.

The first two pilot programs were held at the University of Tennessee on October 12 and North Carolina State University on October 20. Much of the discussions on both campuses focused on digital content, adaptive learning technology, and all-inclusive models that ensure first-day access and lower prices to students. David Anderson, Executive Director of the Higher Education Division of AAP, commented after the first Campus Conversation, in Knoxville, that “the conversation helped publishers in the room recognize that faculty respect and want to work with their campus stores. I think the discussion improved relationships between all parties.”



ICBA Joins the Conversation

Images from the October 20th Campus Conversation at North Carolina State University

In Raleigh, students appreciated the opportunity to talk directly to decision-makers. They made it very clear that how professors use course materials determines their value, and making them less expensive and easier to use is critical. Publishers in the room provided important information about digital products and took advantage of the mixed audience to probe for a better understanding of faculty and student opinions. Anthony Sanders, Associate Director of Wolfpack Outfitters, said, “I was really gratified by how positively our store was viewed by faculty and students, and several participants thanked me for the invitation.”

ICBA will continue to work with the AAP on Campus Conversations. Our two pilot programs demonstrated in a productive and practical way that college stores are positioned perfectly to bring together faculty, students, and publishers to further their shared interest in student success. Ernie Knowles, a veteran Professor of Oceanography at NCSU, summed it up when he observed that “partnership is key – we need to continue this conversation.”