Question: What is the status of the bookstore for the Winterim and Spring semesters?
Answer: On October 20th, Vice President Joe Muscarella sent an email to the campus updating us on the status of bookstore operations, and particularly of the Follett Access program, the failure of which, at this point, needs no further elaboration. According to VP Muscarella’s email, Follet has assigned us new bookstore and regional managers who, starting in November, will be overseeing all of our campus store’s operations. These new managers will be meeting with faculty and student leaders to hear from us directly, not only about where things went wrong, but also what needs to be done to make sure our campus receives the level of service we expect and deserve.
For the immediate future, the college has decided that this means returning to the traditional bookstore model for the Winterim and Spring semesters. “The Bookstore,” VP Muscarella wrote, “will be open for faculty and students to use as…in the past, and the ordering and purchasing of textbooks and supplies from that source will be completely voluntary.” We, along with the rest of the elected faculty leadership, began raising concerns about the opt-out nature of Follet Access over the summer. Once the problems with the program’s implementation became clear, however, the focus of everyone’s concern shifted to the impact of those problems on our students. We heard and shared stories, and many others heard and shared stories, of students and faculty struggling to figure out how to make the semester work when textbooks and access codes were not available; and it is to our members’ great credit, along with members of the AFA, that they were able to find workarounds in almost every case. The Board of Trustees has weighed in on this situation as well. There was a spirited discussion during committee meetings last week, which you can watch here, starting at around 36:46.
The bottom line, as VP Izquierdo said in his bookstore update to the Board of Trustees (see the video we linked to above), is that “Follet is on notice that they have to fix [the problems we experienced this semester],” which is why they’ve been given an opportunity, at least through the end of this academic year, to improve their management, customer service, and performance. On behalf of our students and our members, we are glad that the college administration has taken such a strong stance, and we look forward to joining the discussion about how best to ensure that the college bookstore serves student and faculty needs efficiently and effectively.
“Asked & Answered” is a regular blog feature in which we answer members’ questions. If you have a question that you would like us to answer in a future Asked & Answered post, please send it to the NCCFT Office. We welcome and encourage frank and open discussion in the “Comments” section. (Please read our comments policy to learn more.) However, if your comment is or contains a question to which you would like a direct response from the Executive Committee, please send that question to the NCCFT Office for potential inclusion in a future Asked & Answered post. (We cannot guarantee that all questions will become such posts, but we will respond to all questions that the office receives.)