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Open Educational Resources (OER) initiatives, organized efforts to facilitate the adoption of OER, are increasing in popularity throughout the United States as a means of encouraging faculty to teach with these materials. Faculty participate in these initiatives despite other demands on their time and the lack of recognition for OER usage in the tenure and promotion process. To better understand this phenomenon, the authors conducted in-depth interviews with full-time faculty at senior colleges of the City University of New York (CUNY) and thematically analyzed the transcripts. Faculty were interviewed across colleges, teaching disciplines, and tenure status, yet their experiences with OER were remarkably similar. A central theme in the interviews was the strong desire to eliminate the cost burden to students of traditionally published textbooks. Faculty expressed that the support from librarians and the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) was essential to teaching with OER. The financial incentive of a stipend was not valuable to faculty in terms of monetary value, however, it did signal institutional investment, which was considered critical. Faculty identified student engagement and access to learning resources as the driving factor in teaching with OER. Faculty enjoyed teaching with these materials despite lacking strong departmental support and despite feeling disconnected from OER as a community. Faculty felt that the benefits of OER to their students made it worth the extra time and additional workload, even given the lack of real recognition or compensation for these efforts by their institutions. Institutions looking to encourage OER adoption can learn from this study that course releases and revised tenure-and-promotion guidelines may be more beneficial than stipends in convincing faculty to embark on an OER journey.

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