SUNY Potsdam Professor Susan Stebbins Releases Open Access Textbook on New Open SUNY Platform


The State University of New York recently announced that the system's first two Open SUNY Textbooks have hit the virtual bookshelves, and are now available to students—for free. Because the books are "open," they can be also accessed by anyone, worldwide.

"Open SUNY Textbooks will cut costs for our students while enhancing the quality of the textbooks used in some of SUNY's most popular electives and majors, while also allowing our faculty to reach a world-wide audience with their expert work," said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. "This program is an exciting first-look into what Open SUNY will accomplish."

SUNY Potsdam Professor of Anthropology Dr. Susan Stebbins is one of the first two faculty members in the system to publish a book through the Open SUNY platform. Her textbook, "Native Peoples of North America," is an introduction to the Native peoples of what are now the United States and Canada, focusing on presenting both historical and contemporary information from anthropological categories such as language, kinship, economic and political organization, religion and spirituality, and art.

"Dr. Stebbins is ahead of the curve on the kind of project that will support Open SUNY, help students by providing a more affordable higher education, and promote a better, more sustainable information environment for libraries, students, faculty and researchers, regardless of campus affiliation," said SUNY Potsdam Director of Libraries Jenica P. Rogers.

"Native Peoples of North America" presents prehistoric, historic and contemporary information for anthropology students. Each chapter begins with an example from the oral tradition that reflects the theme of the section. The text includes suggested readings, videos and classroom activities.

Open SUNY Textbooks will be a critical component of Open SUNY, which will expand access to online courses offered within the 64-campus system, improving completion rates among students while also offering fully online degree opportunities. Open SUNY, which will be launched in early 2014, has the potential to be the world's largest, most comprehensive distance-learning environment.

The other book released this month was "Literature, the Humanities and Humanity," written by SUNY Fredonia Distinguished Teaching Professor Ted Steinberg.

Funded by the SUNY Innovative Instruction Technology Grant program, Open SUNY Textbooks is designed to encourage faculty to publish e-textbooks in partnership with their campus library. Participants in the program also include peer reviewers, student assessors, instructional designers, and consultation from the publisher, SUNY Press.

About the author:

Dr. Susan Stebbins has been a member of the SUNY Potsdam Department of Anthropology in 1992, where she has taught about cultural anthropology, religion, magic and witchcraft, and many classes focusing on Native Americans, including one about Indian images and women in Native America. Her research stretches from the historical, looking at the traditional roles of Iroquois women, to the contemporary, including a study about a political protest at the Massena-Cornwall International Bridge, and Native American education. She is also currently the Special Assistant to the President for Diversity at SUNY Potsdam.

To download Dr. Stebbins' book and find out more about Open SUNY, visit

For more information about SUNY Potsdam, visit

Founded in 1816, and located on the outskirts of the beautiful Adirondack Park, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America's first 50 colleges. SUNY Potsdam currently enrolls approximately 4,350 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its handcrafted education, challenging liberal arts and sciences core, excellence in teacher training and leadership in the performing and visual arts. Empowered by a culture of creativity, the campus community recently launched Take the Lead: The Campaign for Potsdam, which aims to raise $27 million by the College's bicentennial in 2016.