Course Materials

No. 4-16     Rev. 5-1-18       Date 4-20-77       (Replaces 4-16a and 3-54a)




A. PPM 3-36, Conflict of Interest

B. PPM 9-5, Faculty Responsibilities to Students

C. Utah Code Ann. § 67-16-4

D. R465, Course Materials Affordability

E. PPM 2-2, Authorization to Accept Gifts

F. 20 U.S.C. § 1015b, Higher Education Opportunity Act


A. Conflict of interest - a situation where an individual has competing interests or loyalties in a matter that has the potential to undermine the impartiality of the individual in carrying out the individual’s professional responsibilities.

B. Course materials - all manner of study material for which the student must pay that are associated with a given class, whether generated electronically or printed conventionally. Examples include e-books or digital books, PDFs, printed textbooks, printed lab manuals, course packs, etc. Course materials may be required or optional. Course materials are considered “required” if they are necessary for a student to obtain in order to participate fully in a course offering.


A. Copyright

PPM 5-41, “Copyright Policy: Ownership” shall define and govern the faculty’s intellectual property rights over their course materials; however, in cases of conflicts of interest, this policy supersedes any otherwise applicable language in PPM 5-41 regarding management of such conflicts or faculty retention of financial benefits.

B. Selection of Required Course Materials

  1. Full-time faculty may select their own course materials, subject only to the criteria outlined herein and such reasonable considerations as quality, cost, availability, and the need for coordination with other faculty or courses. Full-time faculty should assign course materials that best meet the instructional goals of their courses. Part-time faculty shall assign their course materials according to the guidelines of their respective departments. Faculty individually, as well as departments collectively, have the responsibility to select reputable course materials. Required course material selection will be cleared with the department chair or appropriate supervisor, who will facilitate compliance with this policy.
  2. Required course materials must be reasonably necessary to facilitate the learning outcomes of the course.
  3. Faculty shall endeavor to teach from the same required course materials for as long as may be pedagogically appropriate or defensible, ideally for at least 1 to 2 years.
  4. Departments shall consider use of the same required course materials for multiple sections of the same course.
  5. Faculty shall give preference to inexpensive course materials and methods of distribution, whether generated and distributed electronically or printed and sold conventionally. Examples include used editions, paperback editions, rentals, open educational resources, etc. New editions should be used only where there is sufficient added value to achieving the course learning outcomes to justify requiring the new edition, or when the acquisition of older materials becomes logistically impractical. Total cost of required course materials for each course and availability of course materials shall be considered.

C. Ordering, Selling, Distribution, and Publication

  1. In order to provide students the ability to make course material selections in a cost effective way and to comply with the Higher Education Opportunity Act (“HEOA”), faculty shall make timely submissions of their course material requests to the University bookstore for subsequent release to the public). A schedule of dates when submissions are due to the University bookstore shall be published by the University bookstore. The University bookstore shall post a list of required and optional course materials and the cost of each item in a timely manner and in a conspicuous place, in compliance with the HEOA and Board of Regents Policy. The University shall note in the course schedule the place where students can access the course material information, including the ISBN and retail price.
  2. The University bookstore shall be the sole agency for selling course materials to students on the campus. University academic departments, faculty, instructors, staff and employees are prohibited from selling any course materials directly to students for purposes of any class, laboratory, project, or other activities sponsored in the name of the University. Any items which the faculty considers desirable for his/her students to purchase should be handled through the University bookstore for the convenience of the students and to satisfy auditing policies and procedures. Any faculty member may write or prepare a manual or syllabus for use by students, but he/she does so upon his/her own responsibility and without committed remuneration from the University. Departments may not produce manuals or syllabi with department funds and expect reimbursement from the University bookstore.
  3. The University bookstore shall sell course materials produced by faculty with the same impartiality with which the store markets the rest of its merchandise. Neither individual store employees, nor individual members of (1) the administration, of (2) the faculty, or of (3) the staff shall make unauthorized sales of the faculty owned course materials.
  4. Where faculty submit course materials for publication and/or distribution by the University bookstore, faculty shall sign a declaration that the faculty member has complied with all copyright laws, grants, or patents pertaining to such materials and hold the University free from any responsibility for damages, costs, expenses, etc. which may arise from any breach of this declaration.
  5. When approaching publishers with their course materials, or being approached by such publishers, faculty shall negotiate solely as private entities who in no way represent the University. Faculty members may in no way obligate the University in any contract with a publisher, including obligating the University or faculty member to use the course materials in University classes.

D. Resolving Conflicts of Interest

The University encourages faculty and departments to produce course materials for the student market and recognizes the value of faculty authored materials. However, faculty are subject to the Utah Public Officers’ and Employees’ Ethics Act, State Board of Regents Policy R465, and PPM 9-5, Faculty Responsibilities to Students.

  1. When in a position to decide or influence the selection of course materials where the selection would result in financial benefit, personal gain, or special privilege for themselves, faculty members who are in such a position must utilize one of the options given below to disclose and resolve the conflict of interest. In particular, it is recognized that the following are circumstances which require disclosure and resolution as described herein:

a. When an author chooses course materials for the author’s own course;

b. When a selected course material is authored by an individual associated with the same department as the course

c. Other circumstances may arise that constitute a conflict of interest regarding selection of course material and that warrant further review of course material selection. Faculty must consult with the responsible dean and the provost to determine whether there is a conflict of interest and how it should be resolved.

2. Additional Requirements:

a. An author need only subject a selected course material to one of the options presented in this section once per edition for each separate course designation where the course material is used. Previously approved course materials would undergo re-evaluation if the author elects to change options or a new version of the course materials is published.

b. Faculty that select course materials that are owned by the University, in whole or in part, must utilize the following procedures. The portion of a course material owned by the University will be subject to OPTION 1 as stated below. The remaining portion of a course material (if any) owned by the author will be subject to the author’s selection of one of the two options stated below.

c. Faculty members must include a statement on the syllabus of the course in which conflicted course materials (III.D.1.a-c) are being offered acknowledging that the course materials were authored by a faculty member and have been approved for use in accordance with PPM 4-16.

  1. OPTION 1. The author shall donate the financial benefits they would otherwise receive to a charitable organization designated as exempt under IRS Code 501(c)(3).

a. Authors who elect OPTION 1 are obligated to demonstrate the pedagogical value of the selected course material. The department chair for the course designation and course number concerned, or college dean when the department chair is an author, will conduct an abbreviated review and forward the recommendation to the Provost.


b. If the author chooses to donate the funds to the University, the donation shall follow PPM 2-2, be distributed in a manner that will not directly benefit the faculty member or otherwise adversely affect the University’s tax-exempt status, and may have a gift agreement established by the donor.

c. As part of the review process design, the Provost will designate a system for collaborating with the course material author to determine and report sales volumes, calculate divestment values, and facilitate donation of the divested funds.

d. Where the University, including academic colleges, departments and programs, stands to benefit financially from the sale of course materials to students, the funds should directly benefit students. Course materials with University ownership shall be subject to an abbreviated review by the department chair, or college dean, associated with the course designation.

  1. OPTION 2. The author shall submit the course materials to a review committee with an application for the author to retain the financial benefits. The provost shall designate and oversee a process for the review and approval of course materials conducted by the College for the course concerned, including a process for handling appeals.

a. College-level course material review committees will consist of members of the College Curriculum committee associated with the course designation. The dean of each college shall ensure committee members are free from real or apparent conflicts of interest.

b. Review outcomes shall be determined by majority decision of the reviewing committee with at least five (5) members voting. The dean or provost is authorized to temporarily assign additional members to the reviewing committee in the absence of five voting members.

c. Review decisions shall be based on the course materials’ quality, focus, scope, cost, type of publication (self-published, peer-reviewed, national, international), and other pertinent information.

d. The review process outcomes should generally be approval or denial as defined below, or could include other outcomes as developed by the provost and approved by Faculty Senate.

i. “Approval of course materials without stipulation” generally means the pedagogical value of the course materials is appropriate considering the factors listed in this policy (sections III.B., and III.D.4.c).

ii. “Denial of course materials” generally means the pedagogical value of the course materials is not appropriate for that course considering the factors listed in this policy (sections III.B., and III.D.4.c). Different materials must be selected, or the conflict of interest removed by divesture (OPTION 1).

e. An author who has selected OPTION 2, at any time during or after the review process may elect to change to OPTION 1. Authors should note that this does not obviate a review of the course materials for pedagogical appropriateness.