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The Michelson 20MM Foundation is always excited to support visionary leaders and their work benefiting students, particularly when the students impacted are in our backyard. With that in mind, we are happy to award a Michelson Spark Grant to Compton College. Dr. Keith Curry, the school’s president and CEO, recently set an ambitious goal of utilizing open educational resources (OER) in 85-100% of all courses and degree programs by fall 2035.

Compton College serves a large number of students who come from backgrounds that are traditionally underserved, including 61% Latinx and 23% African American students. Moreover, 61% of Compton’s students receive financial aid and many students struggle to meet their basic needs. The college has 59% of students experiencing food insecurity, 68% facing housing insecurity, and 18% experiencing homelessness. All of these percentages are greater than the state averages. Recognizing the struggle of so many students, Compton’s leadership team strived to lower the  cost of instructional materials. With community college students spending approximately $700 per year on textbooks, this commitment will truly impact the lives of students, particularly those most in need.

Establishing Benchmarks

Not only has the Compton College’s administrative leadership set the bold goal of an all-OER campus by 2035, but they have also collaborated with faculty to ensure their buy-in. In June, the Compton College Academic Senate passed a resolution identifying targeted benchmarks to reach the 2035 goal. They include:

  • 25% of course sections will be utilizing OER by 2023.
  • 50% of course sections will be utilizing OER by 2027.
  • 75% of course sections will be utilizing OER by 2031.
  • 85-100% of course sections will be utilizing OER by 2035.
Creating a Course of Action

Our Spark Grant will support building out an OER Adoption Action Plan and conducting professional development activities that will set the course for the work over the next 14 years. This plan will detail all aspects of creating an OER campus, including:

  • Training for faculty and staff
  • Creating an institutional research plan
  • Developing student surveys to collect their feedback on the project
  • Crafting of internal and external messaging to assist the project’s growth
  • Identifying infrastructure needs
  • Developing evaluation metrics for tracking project success
  • Establishing incentive programs for faculty to adapt, write, or implement OER in their courses

The above action plan will be developed by an OER workgroup of faculty, staff, and students by the end of this year. These workgroup members will then act as OER ambassadors for Compton College. They will receive initial training and provide the platform by which the school will recruit the rest of the faculty and staff for support of reaching the 2035 goal.

“The visionary goal of implementing an all-OER campus is a catalytic initiative that will make college more affordable for students who need these educational resources most,” said Dr. Gary K. Michelson, founder and co-chair of the Michelson 20MM Foundation. “Our foundation is proud to not only support Dr. Curry and Compton College’s efforts financially, but to act as a thought partner in their work to put students first.”

“The exorbitantly high cost of textbooks adds to the financial obligations of attending college,” says Dr. Keith Curry, president and CEO of Compton College. “These required costs particularly affect low-income, underrepresented minority groups. When students don’t have to worry about their financial situation, including textbook costs, they do better in their classes and become more engaged in their learning. It makes sense that textbook cost reductions can support equity goals. I am honored to partner with the Michelson 20MM Foundation to solve this problem.”

We look forward to sharing additional blogs spotlighting each of our new OER grantees and the inspiring work they are leading. 

Michelson 20MM was founded thanks to the generous support of renowned spinal surgeon and inventor Dr. Gary K. Michelson and his wife, Alya Michelson. The Michelson 20MM Foundation is dedicated to supporting and investing in leading organizations, technologies, and initiatives that seek to transform learning and improve access to educational opportunities that lead to a meaningful career. Learn more at www.20mm.org.