How to Achieve Equitable Access in Campus Bookstore Operations

How to Achieve Equitable Access in Campus Bookstore Operations

Many campus bookstores and institutions are eager to implement an inclusive or equitable access model. Inclusive access and equitable access models are similar: both allow students to obtain affordable course materials on day one of class. When it comes to campus store implementation, there’s one notable difference. Inclusive access programs are applied incrementally, course by course, whereas equitable access programs are applied throughout the entire institution.

Equitable access, the campus-based digital model, requires strategic management of learning management systems and digital course materials. The push for equitable access is based on a very real challenge: some students cannot afford to purchase required materials. When the cost of course materials is unpredictable, it erects a barrier to student learning and deepens the divide of inequality.

Leaders in campus store operations all agree that inclusive and equitable access is important, but very few know where to begin.

Every bookstore is unique, which means you must evaluate your current footprint and processes and decide what success looks like on your campus. With a thoughtful plan, it is possible to give every student the same opportunity to learn.

Start by tackling these four key components.

1. Define Your Goals

A first priority is to define your goals and recognize how those align with other stakeholders, such as the dean, faculty, students, IT department, and more. Equitable access benefits people at all levels and in various departments. It is closely related to inclusivity, cost and affordability, financial aid, and making life easier for faculty and students. Ensuring early alignment and coordination will give you an immense advantage as you implement new systems and manage change.

The way you frame and communicate your goals will be key to securing stakeholder buy-in and mapping your journey toward equitable access of course materials.


2. Identify Essential Resources

Having some guiding principles and goals is essential, but you do have to bring this practice down to earth and consider two things:

What are your biggest barriers? 

What do you need to make it happen? 

Your existing infrastructure will drive timelines, adoption, and more. You will also have specific needs that impact implementation. These include everything from finances to technology to operational culture.

Sorting through all of these considerations is foundational to creating a winning plan.


3. Create a Plan

Your plan to achieve equitable access on your campus should include action steps set against timelines. Identify all of the main players: those that need to make decisions, and/or have strategic oversight all the way down to the “doers” or partners who will get the job done. 

No plan is complete without clear benchmarks and ways to reliably measure progress. The good news is that if you enlist the help of a partner like Willo, you get assistance from architecture to completion. 

Learn more here about how Willo works with any access model, simplifying the process and supporting your efforts for equitable access.


4. Communicate the Right Message to Your Stakeholders

Solidifying stakeholder buy-in and shared efforts is key before you can launch processes to achieve equitable access in your campus bookstore operations. 

Think about the following:

Who has influence? 

Who has objections? 

Consider every individual this will impact: leaders, administrators, your team, users, etc.

The truth is, it isn’t hard to rally stakeholders around the shared goal of achieving equitable access. Leaders in education already know that change is coming and the future is digital. 

Campus bookstores can either react to the future, or create it. Those that create it will own the wins of a digital future.


Wins of a Digital Future

When campus bookstores achieve equitable access, everyone wins:

  • Students get affordable, equitable access to course materials
  • Digital experiences are simple and secure
  • IT has all the tools it needs to support streamlined operations
  • Data privacy is safeguarded
  • Revenue growth is ensured

This is the way forward, and at Willo, we’ve created an unrivaled solution to achieve equitable access. 

Envision what is possible: read how GSU implemented their campus solution with the help of Willo. 

Schedule a free demo today.