Committee to Review Campus Bookstore Options

A pile of textbooks at a bookshop. (iStock Photo)
Affordability, robust online capabilities, and community engagement have been key factors in the selection process. (iStock Photo)

SHARELINES

The University has appointed individuals representing its faculty, staff, students, and alumni to a committee that will review proposals from entities seeking to operate its bookstores on the Storrs campus and at other locations.

A competitive process was initiated in December to select a bookstore operator that would provide textbooks, academic course materials, branded or licensed apparel and items, trade books, and other items.

Proposals are due at the end of January, and the nine-member committee will begin its comprehensive review shortly after. The University hopes to recommend a preferred option to the Board of Trustees later this semester.

Scott Jordan, UConn’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, told the UConn community in a message last month that the goal for the process is to select a bookstore operator that best meets the needs of the University and all of its constituencies.

Submissions will be accepted from all qualified entities, including the current provider, the UConn Co-op.

“The most important factor that will be considered as we examine prospective operators is their ability to provide high-quality, efficient, and easy-to-use service to our students, faculty, staff, visitors, fans, alumni, and others regarding the ordering and buying of textbooks, trade books, and Husky gear – both in person and online,” Jordan said.

Jordan noted that the cost of all academic course materials is of concern to the University.

“Prospective operators will be asked to discuss strategies to reduce the cost of textbooks, provide options for our students to buy new and used textbooks, rent books, and maximize the value of used book buy-backs,” he said. “We are also interested in how those who respond will offer other course materials for our students at the lowest possible costs.”

The committee also will examine the proposals to ensure that the provider selected will sell trade books and other items, and holds events that engage the community such as book signings, book fairs, and author appearances.

The committee members who will review the proposals are:

  • Martha Bedard, vice provost for University Libraries
  • Alan Calandro, senior advisor and director of special projects, Office of the Executive Vice President for Administration
  • Eliza Conrad, student
  • Patti Fazio, assistant vice president for brand strategy
  • Michael George, alumni
  • Robert Hasenfratz, professor of English and chair of the English department
  • Michael Kirk, deputy chief of staff, President’s Office
  • Kyle Muncy, associate director of athletics for trademark licensing & branding
  • Sally Reis, vice provost for academic affairs, Letitia Neag Morgan Chair in Educational Psychology, & Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor