This module includes information about choosing readings and textbooks for your introductory courses.

Textbooks (or Not!)

Each instructor chooses her or his own individual course materials for their own sections. We do not have department-wide course adoptions.

Using a textbook is not required.

Many instructors adopt a standard college-level introductory textbook for their courses, either with or without an associated document reader. Although texts in our field are cheaper than science textbooks, cost is a real issue for some students. There are inexpensive or even free / online textbooks available, especially for US history (for example: The American Yawp).

Consider requesting a second copy of your textbook and placing it on course reserve at the Library’s circulation desk. This practice can also help students who have trouble getting the textbook at the beginning of a term, if the bookstore sells out or fails to order enough copies.

If you choose a textbook with an online portal or learning environment created by the publisher that you plan to assign, be aware that online access codes are not always sold with used or rented copies of the textbook, so give some thought to student access for those not buying new copies.

Please provide each book’s ISBN on your syllabus for the benefit of students who may be getting their books online rather than from the bookstore, to make sure students are getting the right volume / edition / version.

How to Submit Textbook Adoptions to the Worcester State Bookstore (current May 2018)

Other Readings

Film and Multimedia

The department has a collection of VHS and DVD films suitable for intro-level courses in the filing cabinet across from the copier. You are welcome to borrow or assign any of them. Please browse, or see our administrative assistant for an updated inventory. If you have suggestions of films, maps, or software for purchase, please talk to the department chair, as we do have a small budget for instructional items like these.

Library Services

100-level courses are ideal places to introduce Worcester State students to basic library services, databases and research resources.

Our department’s library liaison is the University Archivist, Ross Griffiths,, x8391. He is a very helpful resource and willing to develop library instruction tailored for any assignment or class, or to serve as a resource for your students.

The library maintains a History and Political Science LibGuide; please point your students towards it and use it as a starting portal for a class project or research inquiry. You might add a link to it, for example, within your Blackboard shell.

Tutoring and Academic Support Services

The department has a graduate assistant 15 hours a week who provides tutoring as part of his/her job responsibilities. S/he offers tutoring in intro classes, help on papers and studying for exams, and research advice/consultation. Please make your students, especially those who find themselves struggling in our courses, aware of available services. The grad assistant can work one-on-one with instructors to tailor tutoring to your class’s or your student’s needs.

The Academic Success Center and the Student Accessibility Services are two campus offices that also help students with study skills and general tutoring / academic skills. The Writing Center is also a helpful resource for our courses, and writing consultants are available to give an instructional session in your class, or assist with a peer review day.

Student Accessibility Services

On our campus learning disabilities and other academic accommodations are handled by the Office of Student Accessibility Services (SAS), located in Admin 133. Their contact email is 508-929-8733 and their email is

We may not be entitled to know a student’s diagnosis, but any student seeking accommodation should provide SAS documentation to all of her/his instructors. Please do not provide “special” accommodations for any student who has not provided SAS documentation.

We are required by law to accommodate a student’s documented disability, to respect student privacy (FERPA) and to ensure equity and a climate of inclusion in our classrooms. The university and the SAS office provides periodic training available to all faculty; see our administrative assistant or department chair for recent training materials.

Here is the May 2018 sample statement SAS recommends be included in all university syllabi.

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