Affordable Education Champion: Dr. Beth E. Bukoski

In celebration of Open Education Week 2021, the Senate of College Councils and UT Libraries partnered to solicit nominations from students across campus to recognize instructors who increased access and equity by selecting free or low cost course materials for their classes. We’ll be recognizing a few of those nominees this week as Affordable Education Champions!

Affordable Education Champions are instructors who assign free or low cost resources — like textbooks, websites, films, and more — for their courses. Sometimes they author their own materials, and sometimes they’re able to reuse free or low cost work created by others. We share gratitude and appreciation for their commitment to fostering access to high quality education at the lowest possible cost barrier for their students. 

Today, we congratulate and thank Dr. Beth E. Bukoski, who was nominated by her students in ELP 392Q (Advanced Qualitative Research Design and Analysis) in the Educational Leadership and Policy Department. 

Dr. Bukoski is an Associate Professor of Practice and Co-Program Coordinator of the Program in Higher Education Leadership in the College of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership and Policy at The University of Texas at Austin. She is a faculty affiliate with the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies. She teaches utilizing liberatory pedagogies with an explicit focus on diversity, inclusion, social justice issues. Her research focuses on issues of social justice, equity, and diversity, particularly the persistence and success of underrepresented students, the experiences of underrepresented faculty, and leadership/administration across the P-20 pipeline. Her work centers on issues related to identity intersectionality and performativity — particularly constructs of gender, sexuality, and race; she uses qualitative methodologies such as case study, narrative and discourse analysis, and phenomenology and tends to use critical theories to guide her work.

Dr. Bukoski also currently serves as Vice-Chair for the Council for the Advancement of the Higher Education Programs (ASHE).

When asked what motivated her to select free resources as required course materials, Dr. Bukoski told us: “Neither of my courses ([ELP] 392Q and 395K) have a textbook this semester. I generally try to avoid having a textbook unless I can foresee students wanting to keep the text as a part of their library, or they will read all/most of it, or I cannot find enough other supplemental materials or materials available through the library to replace the text. For 392Q – Adv. Qualitative Methods, the library has extensive SAGE research materials and access to multiple top journals on the subject. For 395K – Community Colleges, the library has access to multiple journals on the topic and has been responsive to requests for specific chapters I need scanned. In addition, the only texts I could have used for 395K were prohibitively expensive.”

She notices that students appreciate the effort and intention that comes with selecting resources free to students, too. “Usually when I have been able to avoid text fees, students comment on the affordability and thank me for not having required texts. I think the increased access increases the likelihood of students engaging with the materials…. I have noticed I no longer have students coming to class unprepared because they could not afford the text or get their hands on a copy for free.”

We heard the same thing from Dr. Bukoski’s students. They can access course materials easily and benefit from engaging in the course through collaborative software. 

“She provided us articles to read that were accessible via UT libraries. We use various programs online in class like Google docs and Mural which are free and don’t require an account either. [I] can pay my bills with more ease and less stress. School is expensive and not having to pay for books and class materials is a huge relief because it helps reduce burden on students financially.” — Graduate Student, Educational Leadership and Policy

Join us in thanking Dr. Bukoski for her contribution to making UT an inclusive and equitable environment where students can succeed without high course materials costs!

If you know of an instructor who is dedicated to making their courses as affordable as possible by selecting free or low cost course materials, let us know by contacting Ashley Morrison, Tocker Open Education Librarian ( 

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