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Faculty Chose Open Textbooks, Saved Students over $700,000

Students saving money — and thanking their professors for helping them do so. Instructors feeling more freedom in teaching not to the book but to the subject. Sound interesting? This is just a sample of the feedback received during a semester-long project gathering data on open textbook adoptions at UT. Here’s what we did:

  • Throughout the semester, instructors who adopted an open textbook were invited to report their open textbook adoptions so they could be added to the tally. Did you know that two graduate courses have adopted open textbooks? Find out who has adopted an open textbook, or request that your name be added to the list.

  • OIT’s Community of Practice featured a Geography instructor talking about the decision and experience of moving to an open textbook in Geography 101. Watch the recording.

  • At the same presentation, a librarian from the University Libraries Scholars’ Collaborative described the differences between open textbooks and inclusive access, which are both aimed at addressing textbook affordability. Check out the comparison chart.

  • And the University Libraries teamed up with the Student Government Association to measure estimated student savings and gather student feedback on free and openly licensed educational materials. You may have seen the large signs set up in Hodges Library this semester, or learned about them through a Tweet.

We now know there has been significant growth in open textbook (OT) adoptions on campus. In 2016-17, University Libraries knew of OT adoptions saving students approximately $300,000. After a workshop held at Hodges Library in April 2017, adoptions increased significantly. OT adoptions in 2017-18 now save students approximately $700,800.

On December 5th, SGA and University Libraries celebrated and thanked more than two dozen instructors for their commitment to open education.* An e-thank you note will be sent to instructors from students who signed it, with gratitude for the faculty, lecturers, and graduate assistants who contributed to students saving nearly three quarters of a million dollars.

Earlier this year, the Office of the Provost, Student Government Association, Teaching and Learning Center, and University Libraries announced an ambitious goal of reaching $1 Million in student savings from faculty adoptions of open textbooks. Though we did not make this goal, reaching 70% and doubling the number of UT’s open textbook adoptions are definitely reasons to celebrate.

Interested in learning more? Peruse the Open Ed Portal: Adopted and not on the list? Let us know:
* Courses/Sections Adopting Open Textbooks:

    BIOL 150: Dr. Guffey
    COSC 311: Dr. Berry & Dr. Day
    EDPY 577: Dr. Rocconi
    EF 15: Dr. Bennett & All Instructors
    EF 230: Dr. Schleter & All Instructors
    GEOG 101: Dr. Forresta, Dr. Sharma & All Instructors
    PHIL 235: Marlin Sommers
    PHYS 221/222: Dr. Cooper, Dr. Ross-Sheehy & All Instructors
    PSYC 110/117: Dr. Breinig, Dr. Guidry & All Instructors
    PSYC 360: Dr. Larsen
    VMD 888: Dr. Fry & All Instructors

Now showing: Australian comedy “The Rage in Placid Lake” Dec. 6

Join us at Hodges Library for free screenings of independent and foreign films. Feature films will be screened at 7 p.m. in the Lindsay Young Auditorium on the first Wednesday of each month, throughout the fall and spring semesters.

Wednesday, Dec. 6,
at 7 p.m.

The Rage in Placid Lake

To the horror of his New Age parents, a quirky, bohemian teenager takes a job at an insurance agency and tries to embrace conformity. A comedy from Australian director Tony McNamara.

For more information, contact librarian Michael Deike at

Term Paper Due? Join Our “Writing Blitz” Nov. 30

Writing papers got you down? Not sure how or where to start your research? Join us for a “Writing Blitz” in Hodges Library on Thursday, November 30, from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., in Room 213.

Work surrounded by others with the same goal in mind: FINISH THOSE PAPERS!

From pencils to laptops to citation guides — resources will be readily available to help you tackle those papers. Free-roaming librarians will be on hand to assist with reference questions. Refreshments and take-a-break activities will also be available to keep you energized and motivated.

Count This Penny Partners with UT Libraries, Will Perform Nov. 16

Boundless: Artists in the Archives is a newly launched program from the University of Tennessee Libraries. To highlight the unique materials available in UT’s Special Collections and Betsey B. Creekmore Archives, the Libraries will periodically commission a work of art or music inspired by an item or collection in the archives.

The Libraries’ first partners in the Boundless project are Knoxville musicians Amanda and Allen Rigell, who perform under the name Count This Penny. The singer-songwiter duo have composed and recorded a song inspired by materials in the Wilma Dykeman and James R. Stokely Jr. Papers.

The public is invited to a reception and performance by Count This Penny to celebrate the inauguration of Boundless: Artists in the Archives. The free performance will take place on Thursday, November 16, at 5:30 p.m., in the Special Collections Reading Room, 121 John C. Hodges Library.

A mini documentary and a vinyl recording of the new song will be available at a later date.

All the materials created as part of the Boundless series will be preserved in Special Collections, and the song will be made freely available for non-commercial use under the terms of a Creative Commons license.

Count This Penny has been featured on WDVX’s Blue Plate Special and American Public Media’s A Prairie Home Companion and has shared the stage with many performers, including opening for Melissa Etheridge at the Tennessee Theatre in 2016.

Husband and wife James Stokely and Wilma Dykeman, whose archives inspired the new song, collaborated on several books about civil rights and the south, including their award-winning Neither Black Nor White (1957). Dykeman was also a noted novelist, historian, and journalist. She taught creative writing at UT for more than twenty years. Dykeman’s best-known books include the novel The Tall Woman (1962) and The French Broad (1955), part of the Rivers of America Series.

Hear a preview of Count This Penny’s song:

Parking for the “Rocky Top” Exhibit Opening

We look forward to seeing you at the “Rocky Top” Exhibit Opening at Hodges Library this Friday evening.

Parking will be available in Staff Lot 12 in front of Hodges Library. However, the Homecoming Parade will block some routes!

To access Staff Parking Lot 12 in front of Hodges Library: 
Turn right (south) onto Volunteer Boulevard West from the west end of Cumberland Avenue. Drive 0.25 mile. Turn left (east) onto Andy Holt Avenue. Drive 0.2 mile. Turn left (north) onto Frances Street. Frances becomes Melrose Avenue at sharp right bend. At stop sign, bear left onto continuation of Melrose Avenue in front of Hess Hall. Watch out for Little Vol Walk participants! Staff Lot 12 is on the left.

Click here for a downloadable PDF of this parking map.

parking map

Open Access: Libraries Help Faculty Start New E-Journals

Dr. Thomas Dailey in the Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries is editor of the National Quail Symposium Proceedings (NQSP) and has had a role with the publication since 1993. He and his fellow editors noticed that the proceedings, published as books, were not getting high citation counts.

Dailey asked the University Libraries how to increase the visibility of this valuable research on nonmigratory birds. In consultation with Scholars’ Collaborative librarian Rachel Caldwell, NQSP is now an online serial, similar to an e-journal, hosted by the Libraries. With digitized backfiles and a new issue about to be published, it is also an open access publication, making it findable — and citable — by researchers and policymakers everywhere.

NQSP papers are gaining worldwide readership in the three months since they were made available online. From the eastern United States to France to South Korea, several papers have already been downloaded over 30 times. Research shows a positive correlation between downloads and future citations (see, for example, Brody, Harnad & Carr, 2006).

The University Libraries currently hosts 13 peer-reviewed journals, edited or founded by UT researchers. See the online NQSP.

For more information, contact Rachel Caldwell, Scholarly Communication Librarian at the UT Libraries ( or 865-974-6107).

The Harvard Scholar Whose Grammar Book Built the Library

John C. Hodges


Back in the 1920s a college professor devised a system for marking essays to help his students identify their grammatical mistakes. Seventy-six years after he first published his scheme in a handbook for English instructors, his text is still an academic and commercial success. The John C. Hodges Library is named in his honor.

John Cunyus Hodges was born March 15, 1892, in tiny Cotton Valley in northwestern Louisiana, between Shreveport and the Arkansas state line. It was a rural but comfortable childhood. At the age of nineteen, Hodges graduated with a BA from Meridian College in Mississippi, and he got his master’s in English from Tulane a year later.

In 1913 Hodges became an instructor at Northwestern University, where he met Alwin Thaler, a Shakespeare scholar from Brooklyn. The genteel southerner and the German immigrant from New York became lifelong friends. At a summer program at the University of Wisconsin, Hodges met Lillian Nelson. They married in 1914.

Thaler and Hodges started at Harvard in 1916. Hodges earned his PhD in 1918 and got a job at Ohio Wesleyan, just north of Columbus, where he taught for three years. Thaler ended up at the University of California at Berkeley.

In 1921 Hodges was recruited to the Tennessee English department by James Douglas Bruce, a noted Celticist and Arthurian scholar, who later helped steer Hodges into his chief scholarly concern, the life and work of the Restoration playwright William Congreve. On his arrival, Hodges took over the direction and coordination of “a moribund program of Freshman English,” according to Kenneth Curry’s history of the department, English at Tennessee. Within a year, Hodges developed the beginnings of a systematic approach to teaching freshman English. Curry writes that Hodges had students keep their papers and revisions in folders, which they would discuss in regular conferences with their instructors. The folders were then archived by the department. “Over time, Hodges analyzed and tabulated the contents of these folders,” Curry explains. With so many stacks of papers and so many sets of corrections, Hodges was able to systematically determine which errors his students were most likely to make.

In 1923 Hodges persuaded his colleagues to lure Thaler away from Berkeley. John and Lillian met Alwin and Harriett at the train station and hosted them at their house at 1908 White Avenue while Alwin looked for a house to rent. For the next four decades, Hodges and Thaler were “the Harvard guys,” as English Professor Bain Stewart put it — respected scholars and teachers who brought gravitas to the department.

“All Matters Needed by Freshmen”

Starting in 1922, Hodges published his own “Manual of Instruction for Freshman English,” which he expanded each year. By 1937, the manual was twenty-nine pages long and included a map of the library and instructions on how to write papers.

Hodges became assistant head of the department in 1937 and acting head between 1938 and ’41, when he formally succeeded Burke.

Sometime in the late 1930s, a Harcourt Brace traveling textbook salesman named Sidney Stanley visited UT. He met Hodges, and after he heard about Hodges’s system of correcting papers, he passed on the lead to the Harcourt Brace editorial department. Intrigued, the publishing company offered Hodges a contract. What Hodges called his handbook of “all matters needed by freshmen” was published in 1941. (“Harbrace” is a conflation of Harcourt Brace.)

“The rest is history,” says Michael Rosenberg, a publisher at Wadsworth/Cengage Learning, which owns the rights to the now-defunct Harcourt Brace’s college textbooks. “The company was hoping to make only a small dent in the freshman handbook market with the unknown author from Tennessee. However, the clever organizational plan, the compact, trim size, and the book’s ability to explain difficult issues of language cogently and concisely created a demand that catapulted the handbook to best-seller status quickly.”

Hodges had two stated objectives when he composed his textbook. The first read: “To make correction of written work as clear and easy as possible for the student.” The second was: “To make marking of student papers as easy as possible for the instructor.” The latter point—making teachers’ lives easier — has been the secret to its continuing success.

Each broad, numbered section was subdivided in an alphanumeric scheme that aided citation. Hodges’s unique numbering of each rule enabled teachers coming upon a sentence such as “While riding a bus, the tornado ripped through town” to simply write in the margin “25f(4),” sending students to the rule “Avoid dangling elliptical phrases or clauses” and its explanation.

The first edition of Harbrace came out at the beginning of World War II. After it was published, Hodges embarked on a program of identifying best practices among English teachers across the state and spreading their gospel. “By collecting the scores of freshmen entering the colleges in the state of Tennessee,” wrote Kenneth Curry in English at Tennessee, “it was possible to identify the high schools with superior programs in English as well as the superior teachers of high school English. Dr. Hodges himself visited many schools and began a program that was to be expanded after the war.”

So, too, did Hodges expand the UT English department, which had six staff members at the end of World War II. “Hodges was a catalyst for the amazing transformation of a small, sleepy department into a lively, expanding department,” wrote Curry. “Where others in the University had been pessimistic and defeatist, Dr. Hodges was positive and hopeful and confident that, given the opportunity, the department would justify his faith.”

A second edition of Harbrace appeared in 1946. A third followed five years later, and a fourth edition five years after that.

An Expert on the Bawdy Bard

In his own academic research, Hodges was a leading authority on the seventeenth-century English playwright William Congreve, who hit it big with five high-brow, sexual comedies of manners written between 1693 and 1700. This was during the roaring Restoration Period, when the rakish Charles II had replaced the stick-in-the-mud Puritans, reinstated the Anglican Church, reopened the theatres, and allowed women (including his own mistress, Nell Gwyn) to perform on stage.

Congreve’s plays included memorable lines such as, “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, nor hell a fury like a woman scorned,” “Music has charms to sooth a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak,” and “Say what you will, ’tis better to be left than never to have been loved.”

The dawn of the 1700s brought a conservative reaction to the Roaring 1690s. A wave of button-down mores swept England, Congreve’s bawdy style fell out of fashion, and Congreve turned thereafter to politics of the Whig party.

Over the years, Hodges amassed one of the world’s largest collections of Congreve’s plays, which are now housed in UT’s Special Collections. In the late ’40s, Lillian accompanied Hodges to England and Ireland to help him collect material for his book The Life of Congreve.

In the late spring of 1951, Lillian grew ill. Still, she accompanied Hodges on a trip to the Huntington Library in Pasadena, California, to gather material for the book The Library of William Congreve. Unfortunately, Lillian’s condition worsened. She entered a Pasadena hospital and died a month later.

They had one son, Nelson.

Hodges met Cornelia Smartt Hendley when she served as executrix of the estate of Hodges’s former colleague John B. Emperor, who had set up a fund for the English department in his will, much as Hodges did later on. “My sister had an uncanny ability to handle details and amounts,” says John Smartt, Hodges’s brother-in-law. “She had a good business head on her.”

Cornelia and John married in 1952 and spent six months together in Europe doing Congreve research. One of their key findings resolved confusion about the authorship of the play that begins with the line, “Music has charms to soothe a savage breast.” Some manuscripts of the day attributed the play to the Duke of Leeds in Yorkshire, England, but Hodges located Congreve’s private library catalog and verified that the lines were, in fact, his. In all, Hodges’s search for duplicates of books owned by Congreve was a four-year project that took him to libraries in five countries.

John and Cornelia lived for fifteen years at 8 Hillvale Circle in Sequoyah Hills, where she threw elegant English department parties and displayed her lively wit. “She was whip-smart and hilariously funny, while always the genteel southern lady,” says Ginna Mashburn, a faculty spouse and instructor.

A Gift that Keeps on Giving

In its various editions, co-authors and collaborators worked with Hodges on Harbrace, but the format stayed the same. One of the biggest changes came in the 1962 fifth edition, when Hodges’s name was added to the title, just as he retired from teaching in the English department. In July of 1967, Hodges died at seventy-five following a heart attack. His will left half his Harbrace royalties to the UT Libraries and the English department. Now in its eighteenth edition, Harbrace — the most successful college textbook on record — is a gift to UT that keeps on giving.

When the John C. Hodges Library was dedicated two years later, Cornelia helped put in place a cornerstone that to this day contains a 1969 UT yearbook, a ’69-’70 catalog, library development annual reports for 1966 to ’68, and Hodges’s three books — the sixth edition of Harbrace, The Life of Congreve, and The Library of Congreve.

“He was an imposing presence,” said David Burns of Knoxville, who took freshman English under Hodges in 1950 and still has his inscribed copy of the 1946 edition of Harbrace. “He wore tweed jackets most of the time, as you’d expect, and he was a grammarian through and through. I think of him when I read even magazines that have good writers and see one grammatical error after another. He was simply one of the finest gentlemen I ever knew.”

Brooks Clark
Project Manager, Alumni Communications
University of Tennessee Creative Communications

Now showing: “Apprentice,” a death-row drama, Nov. 1

Join us at Hodges Library for free screenings of independent and foreign films. Feature films will be screened at 7 p.m. in the Lindsay Young Auditorium on the first Wednesday of each month, throughout the fall and spring semesters.

Wednesday, Nov. 1,
at 7 p.m.


The integrity and ethics of a young Malay correctional officer are challenged when he becomes the executioner’s apprentice. Set in Singapore. Language: Malay.

For more information, contact librarian Michael Deike at

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