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PALNI awards grants to fund eight open textbooks

Textbook Creation Grant graphic with PALSave logo and a picture of an ebook being pulled from a bookshelf. A light green box on the bottom reads: Eight new projects funded!The Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI) has awarded PALSave Textbook Creation Grants to fund eight open textbooks from faculty authors at its supported institutions. The grants will allow these educators to develop open textbooks that are freely available online, making them part of a statewide effort to reduce the cost of course materials for college students. Financed with support from Lilly Endowment Inc., authors will receive up to $6,500 per project.

The grants—awarded as part of the PALSave: PALNI Affordable Learning program—are given in overlapping two-year cohorts. Titles and authors most recently selected include:

  • “Public Speaking and Democratic Participation: Speech, Deliberation, and Analysis in the Civic Realm, 2nd ed.” by Jennifer Abbott, Professor of Rhetoric at Wabash College, and co-authors Todd McDorman, Dean at Wabash College, and David Timmerman, Provost and Chief Academic Officer, Professor of Rhetoric at Carthage College
  • “Curriculum Development for Christian Ministry,” by Karen Jones, Professor of Christian Thought and Practice at Huntington University
  • “The Exciting Dynamics of State and Local Government,” by Laura Merrifield Wilson, Associate Professor of History and Political Science, and co-author Greg Schufeldt, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Indianapolis
  • “Leveraging Data Visualization to Communicate Effectively,” by Jennie Mitchell, Professor Emerita at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, and co-author Trent Deckard, storytelling expert and lecturer at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business
  • “An Introduction to Legal Philosophy,” by Peter Murphy, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Indianapolis
  • “Cultures and Civilizations of the Hispanic Countries,” by Angela Pacheco-Gonzalez, Assistant Professor of Spanish at Taylor University
  • “Concepts of Evidence-Based Practice and Nursing Research Methods,” by Cibele Webb, Associate Professor and co-authors Nicole Mentag and Lori Pajakowski, Assistant Professors, Department of Nursing Science, at Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame
  • “Comparative Vertebrate and Human Anatomy: Ecology, Evolution, and Function,” by Vanessa Young, Assistant Professor of Biology at Saint Mary’s College, and co-authors Bill Ryerson, Associate Professor, Biological Sciences, at Saint Anselm College, and Lisa Whitenack, Associate Professor, Biology, at Allegheny College

“PALNI is excited to award these grants, as they recognize the unwavering commitment of faculty authors from our supported institutions toward enhancing the affordability and accessibility of education for students,” says Amanda Hurford, PALNI’s Scholarly Communications Director and PALSave project lead. “The authors’ dedication to making textbook affordability a reality makes a big impact—not just in Indiana, but across the globe—and we look forward to supporting them in the process.”

Grant recipients are already working to produce the open textbooks, which are set to be published in 2025. 

Grant Recipient Statements

Jennifer Abbott, Wabash University
(Co-authors: Todd McDorman and David Timmerman)

I’m so grateful to PALNI for enabling us to revise our public speaking textbook as an open educational resource. We believe the book’s emphasis on democratic participation through ethical and productive speech is more relevant than ever. The grant will help us update, improve, and shorten the first edition. PALNI’s investment will also help students save money and access the information they need to thrive in their public speaking classes.”

Karen Jones, Huntington University

“I am honored to receive this opportunity from PALNI. It is a gift to receive support for writing a textbook that will synthesize the presentations, resources, lectures, and assignments I have crafted throughout my teaching career. I am most encouraged by the opportunity this will provide for students across the globe with little to no access to academic resources. Providing a digital textbook free of charge is something I could not do without the support of the PALSave Textbook Creation Grant.”

Laura Merrifield Wilson, University of Indianapolis
(Co-author: Greg Schufeldt)

“This grant will enable us to develop an engaging new text focused on the dynamics of state and local government. Because the text will be free, it will be more easily accessible for students and also a great resource for instructors or even practitioners looking to better understand the government around them. We are grateful for the funding and excited to develop this new contribution to the political science curriculum.”

Jennie Mitchell, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
(Co-author: Trent Deckard)

“Storytelling with data is not an inherent skill and students can easily become lost in a plethora of visualization choices. In some cases, students become enamored with technology and lose sight of good design principles, leading to the likelihood that the audience will become disconnected from the story. This textbook will teach a variety of decision-making tools, including ways to visualize data to minimize complexity and maximize audience understanding. Both Trent and I are thrilled at this opportunity.”

Peter Murphy, University of Indianapolis

“I believe that OER textbooks are the future. And it is a good future—as much as possible, people should not have to pay to learn. My goal is to produce a fully interactive text that uses lots of examples and links to a wide variety of online sources. The end result should deeply engage anyone who is interested in understanding the foundations of law, and ways of morally evaluating specific laws.

Angela Pacheco-Gonzalez, Taylor University

“I am excited to curate innovative and interdisciplinary content for my book and to make it available to students of Spanish for free. This is a book project I have been working on for years and this is the perfect opportunity to share it with all. Students will be able to acquire cultural learning about the Hispanic world through texts, videos, etc. and to improve their Spanish as well. The textbook will contain fundamental content for any student majoring or minoring in Spanish. I am thankful for PALNI’s initiative to provide an outlet for professors to write their own books and make them fully accessible.”

Cibele Webb, Nicole Mentag and Lori Pajakowski, Saint Mary’s College

“Nursing research and evidence-based practice are part of the curriculum in both undergraduate and graduate levels of study and for any area of nursing practice. Considering its wide potential for adoption, we teamed up to co-author a book on nursing research methods and concepts for evidence-based practice after noticing a need for an open-resource textbook on this subject matter. We are excited to produce an accessible text that intentionally helps learners understand the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the research process and provides tools for translating research to nursing practice to improve healthcare outcomes.”

Vanessa Young, Saint Mary’s College
(Co-authors: Bill Ryerson and Lisa Whitenack)

“We are honored to have received a 2023 PALSave Textbook Creation Grant, and are excited to contribute to the development of new open source educational materials. Current resources for teaching comparative anatomy are limited in the human element—both in terms of including human anatomy and in representation of the humans that practice in the broader field of comparative anatomy. Our book will draw on recent work and faculty expertise to provide an updated, diverse, inclusive, and affordable textbook for comparative vertebrate and human anatomy faculty and students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. We are hopeful that this book, with its  greater emphasis on the people who have and currently work in the field, more comprehensive female anatomy content, and LGBTQ+ inclusive approach will provide direct access to original science and make the fields of comparative and human anatomy more accessible to students from a wide range of backgrounds.” 

About PALSave Textbook Creation Grants

At the start of the program in 2019, PALSave’s initial goal was to publish five or more textbooks by late 2023. PALNI received added funding from Lilly Endowment in 2022 to support PALSave, which has allowed the program to award 10 additional textbook creation grants. Projects were selected for funding based on proposal quality, clearly defined goals, need within the current open access body of work, and adoption potential within PALNI schools and beyond.

PALNI coordinates peer review, copyediting, layout, and hosting services to assist grant recipients in their textbook creation. Each textbook is also supported by a local project manager to monitor progress and answer questions throughout development. The open textbooks are published on the PALNI Press-supported Pressbooks platform alongside other faculty-contributed works, and will ultimately be submitted to the Open Textbook Library and OER repositories. 

Several PALSave-funded titles are currently in production, with the program’s first open textbook, “The Bible and Music,” by Dr. James McGrath, Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Butler University, published in January 2023.


About Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family — J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli — through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana. More information can be found at

About the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana

The Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI) is a non-profit organization that supports collaboration for library and information services for 24 colleges, universities and seminaries throughout the state. From its inception in 1992, the PALNI collaboration has been a key avenue for its supported institutions to contain costs while providing more effective library services. More recently, PALNI has adopted a model of deep collaboration that pools resources and people as a tool to expand services while keeping costs down. PALNI’s board of directors, composed of all 24 library deans and directors from the supported organizations, convened a Future Framing Task Force in 2019 to address ongoing demographic challenges in higher education. The board has escalated this work in the wake of COVID-19, as the consortium seeks to manage the increased need for online support while reducing costs. Simultaneously, PALNI is expanding collaboration within its institutions and with external library partners to address challenges and build cost-effective services. Visit the PALNI website for more information.

PALNI Supported Institutions

Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary | Anderson University | Bethel University | Butler University | Concordia Theological Seminary | Christian Theological Seminary | DePauw University | Earlham College | Franklin College | Goshen College | Grace College | Hanover College | Huntington University | Manchester University | Marian University | Oakland City University | University of Saint Francis | Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College | Saint Mary’s College | Saint Meinrad’s Seminary and School of Theology | Taylor University | Trine University | University of Indianapolis | Wabash College