HCC receives Innovation of the Year Award for Zero Textbook Degree

Jun 11, 2019


Houston Community College (HCC) received the Innovation of the Year Award for its Zero Textbook Degree (Z-Degree). Chancellor Cesar Maldonado said the 2019 honor from the League for Innovation in the Community College is given annually to outstanding programs, policies and leadership within its member institutions.

“The Z-Degree program is managed by an entire group of hardworking and forward-thinking HCC faculty who are all deserving of the accolades currently bestowed on them,” said Dr. Maldonado, who announced the award during last Wednesday’s board meeting.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has said that college textbook prices have increased 88 percent since 2006, with a typical textbook possibly costing some HCC students more than their tuition.
The first Z-Degree program was launched at HCC in 2017. Since then, the program has grown from 28 to 98 sections and currently offers a Z-Degree core curriculum option at five campuses, including online. HCC’s goal is to offer it at the 10 largest campuses at HCC by 2021.
Though Zero Textbook and Open Educational Resources (OER) degree plans have been implemented at other colleges and universities in the US, most programs have emphasized the types of material used, while HCC has focused on the cost savings. Given all of its combined efforts, HCC estimates a cost savings of over $4.5 million, in total. That’s up to $1.5 million in savings for students each year.
As a result of these achievements and others, Drs. Stephen Levey, Nathan Smith, and Amy Tan were recently interviewed on the "Open Education Rising" blog, and HCC was awarded the "Recognition of Excellence" from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB).
“These honors demonstrate that HCC is an innovative leader among community colleges,” said Dr. Maldonado.  “They and our entire faculty, staff, and administrators are dedicated to building even greater student success at Houston Community College.”
Reni Abraham
Program Chair, Computer Programming

Alan Ainsworth
Program Chair, English

Bryant Evans
Program Chair, Geography/Anthropology

Cammy Shay
Program Chair, Government

Carlos Villacis
Program Chair, World Languages

Danielle Stagg
Program Chair, Speech/Comm./Sign Lng.

Emmanuel Ewane
Program Chair, Chemistry,

Gisela Ables
Program Chair, History

Helen Graham
Program Chair, Philosophy

Karen Saenz
Program Chair, Psychology

Katherine Abba
Program Chair, Education

Katherine Fields
Program Chair, Studio Art & Art History

Kumela Tafa
Program Chair, Natural Sciences

Marina Grau
Program Chair, Accounting

Nicole Boutte-Heiniluoma
Program Chair, Sociology

Raven Davenport
Program Chair, Business Management

Sophie Haci
Program Chair, Economics

Susan Fife
Program Chair, Mathematics,

Susan Hines
Program Chair, Music

Dr. Stephen Levey
AVC, Academic Affairs

Dr. Nathan Smith
PHL-OER Coord./Spec. Assignment

Dr. Amy Tan
Dean, English & Communication

Dr. Aaron Knight
Dean, Social & Behavioral Science

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