Local Library Leader Works to Improve Student Experience

Local Library Leader Works to Improve Student Experience

ABOVE PHOTO: Vince Mussehl, CVTC director of Library Services, is appointed to the national Open Educational Resources SPARC Committee to represent two-year colleges.

When Vince Mussehl was a student at Chippewa Valley Technical College 15 years ago, he struggled to pay for textbooks.

“I remember applying for an Amazon credit card just so I could save $50 off my first book purchase,” he said. “Of course, the $50 was no real savings after I finished paying off the interest.”

One of his accounting textbooks was more than $200. He used it for a semester and couldn’t sell it back. Now, as the director of library services at CVTC, he uses it for calf stretches in his office.

His experience as a student and now his help in leading the open educational resources (OER) effort at his alma mater make him an ideal candidate for the national OER advocacy organization, SPARC. Mussehl was appointed to the SPARC steering committee, recently.

As a leader of OER at CVTC, Mussehl said when a student has a class that uses OER they don’t have to choose between textbooks and basic needs because they have free access on day one.

“Working directly with students daily, really opened my eyes as to how many students were struggling to get their textbooks,” Mussehl said. “We had literally thousands of requests for students to check out their textbooks for a variety of reasons. But, for the most part, it was simply students not being able to afford them, and having to choose between food, gas, or rent – textbooks weren’t at the top of their list.”

As a member of the SPARC steering committee, he is able to advocate for change at the national level for two-year colleges, alongside institutions such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Columbia University and the University of Chicago.

“Two-year colleges are well poised to successfully use OER,” he said.

“It’s my job to help communicate this value.”

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