Follett Higher Education Group selected to manage bookstore
At its June 5 meeting, the board of directors of the University Corporation (UCorp) voted to award the SFSU Bookstore management contract for the next five years to Follett Higher Education Group (FHEG), a privately held family-owned company. The new management is expected to be effective July 1, 2012.
The Bookstore will be operated under the auspices of UCorp -- a nonprofit university affiliate organization responsible for providing a variety of campus services -- and Follett will be responsible for front and back office management processes.
"This selection allows us to expand our offerings to students; to continue the focus on the affordability and accessibility of course materials; and to invest in new technologies such as e-books and in new methods of delivery such as book rentals," said Agnes Wong-Nickerson, COO and CFO of UCorp. "Follett offers a unique flat fee program that delivers all materials needed -- through physical rentals and digital content -- for only $280 per semester."*
Follett will continue to offer the popular Gator Rewards and early adoption incentive programs, will make improvements to the physical store and will guarantee a return to SF State for operational needs. As part of Follett's mission of driving student success, it will contribute $10,000 to University scholarships.
"We view this as very positive for students, who will benefit from Follett's competitive buying power and commitment to innovation -- and a benefit to the University overall, which will realize much-needed regular financial return to support special programs," Wong-Nickerson said. "In addition, Follett has committed to offering continued employment at existing salaries to the Bookstore's current full-time staff, with an enhanced benefits package. This guarantees that understanding of the University’s mission and culture is maintained, and that customer service is a priority."
A Request for Proposal (RFP) was issued in February 2012 and responses were evaluated by a panel of nine consisting of four faculty members, an Academic Affairs representative, a Student Affairs representative, a student, the SF State procurement director and Agnes Wong-Nickerson.
The panel then met with the proposers, held a special meeting with Disability Programs and Resource Center to assess accessibility of the proposers’ offerings and held a presentation session open to the campus community for each proposer, where online feedback was solicited from the attendees. The panel completed quantitative evaluation forms based on criteria established in the RFP. The review panel also evaluated the proposers based on the six most important factors: affordability of learning materials for students; accessibility; campus culture; financial return; sustainability (financial/management/environmental) and technology.
*This program will be piloted with first-time freshman for the fall 2012 semester. [Updated 6-22-12]