A private, non-profit institution in Flint, Mich., Kettering University stands out for its uniqueness. Founded in 1919, Kettering is a co-op college, meaning all 2,000 students are essentially in a work-study program full-time. “At any time, only about half of our student population is on campus,” said Director of Auxiliary Services Nadine Thor.
This means that each incoming class is split in half, divided into an A section and a B section. For a couple months, A section is in class while B section works in the field of their choosing. Then, the two sections swap places, with B section coming back to campus as A section heads out into the workforce. This pattern continues until graduation.
This constant coming-and-going of students creates some particularly interesting challenges when it comes to course material distribution, as one might expect. Up until two years ago, Kettering had a brick-and-mortar bookstore through a lessor, but as students began to eschew this traditional model for the convenience of online purchasing, the university switched to an online model to remain competitive.
Earlier this year, Kettering made another change, partnering with MBS Direct. Because of their unique situation, the university was looking for a provider who would give their students a number of ways to get the course materials they needed.
“Our drive was we wanted someone who could help us compete with [online retailers]. We wanted as many options as possible, and MBS Direct was able to give us that,” Thor said. “They had a marketplace, used books, eBooks and a good buyback program.”
Marketplace was a particularly attractive aspect of the partnership for Thor and other administrators at Kettering, as the multiple price options allowed students to search for and find the best deal for themselves. Order accuracy was also a big component.
Ensuring accuracy and efficiency
“We wanted to make sure students always got the correct edition, and now we know that will happen because we’re making our adoptions with [MBS Direct],” Thor said. The university has already had a chance to work in Course Director to make adoptions for the fall term, and thus far the response to those experiences has been overwhelmingly positive.
With this new distribution method in place, Thor feels that Kettering is ready for its first major test in July when classes begin and a new wave of freshman begin their college experience. In an increasingly online world, Kettering students will have a significantly wider selection of course materials available right at their fingertips.
“Our students are tech-savvy,” Thor said. “They’re the ones who wanted to go and get their textbooks online. We had to keep up with the trend.”