Course materials formats and models are changing rapidly, and this means the store role is changing as well. With each passing term, stores tell us how they’re more deeply connected to all stakeholders on campus as they focus on student access, affordability, and outcomes through models like Inclusive Access. While many stores are off and running with the IA model, many more are just getting started. For those new to the model, a great way to navigate the changing landscape is to start small with a well-designed Inclusive Access pilot. This will set your store up for success, no matter the challenges you may face.
We asked a few stores to share their best advice for implementing an Inclusive Access pilot. Here are their top four nuggets of wisdom:
- Build relationships with colleagues across campus, from instructors and campus IT to the business office.
For the team at the Kennesaw State Campus Store, meeting one-on-one with key teams across campus—from the LMS team to the business office—led to cross-functional support and understanding for the store’s goals with Inclusive Access. Now, Kennesaw’s Day One program has flourished and faculty are eager to get their courses involved.
- Gather stakeholders early and include them often.
Meeting once with key teams isn’t enough to guarantee success; it’s important to make sure key stakeholders feel like they are part of the process. Kurt Kaiser from the Colorado State University Campus Store recommends this practice. In a recent blog, he noted that when stakeholders are included, the program’s success feels like a victory for them, too. This cross-functional support creates a virtuous cycle that will give your program the momentum it needs to grow.
- Establish a communication channel with publisher representatives to ensure pub reps, instructors, your store, and your IA management partner are all on the same page.
The teams at both Kennesaw State and Colorado State suggest working with publisher representatives to introduce instructors to the model and make them feel more comfortable. Publishers have a vested interest in the success of your program and are happy to help.
- Take advantage of vendor tools to make the most of your Inclusive Access pilot.
Recently, we shared the story of Baldwin Wallace’s IA pilot success. For George Schiller and his team at the Baldwin Wallace store, the Verba team helped design a pilot that got the store up and running on the Verba tools quickly in a time of transition. At Baldwin Wallace, the communication tools and dashboard within Verba Connect™ were key to getting the program off the ground and helping it scale.
What doesn’t work? We’ve seen a bit of that, too. The biggest challenge we hear from stores is how difficult it is to run programs without a robust toolset that makes it easy to manage student charges, communications, and publisher invoicing. Trying to run a program of any size without the proper tools quickly turns into a jumble of spreadsheets, individual emails, and confused customers. We’ve also seen programs struggle when the store and the bursar are not on the same page when it comes to charging student accounts. The good news is that we help stores navigate these hurdles all the time. If you’re looking for advice on how to get started with your pilot, please reach out to us. Chances are, we’ve worked with dozens of stores facing the same struggles.