|Professor Walter Gleason of the Mathematics
and Computer Science Department very well may hold the honor of being the most published
faculty member on the Bridgewater campus. Upon entering his office it becomes immediately
obvious that Professor Gleason is a very busy author. Displayed proudly next to his desk
are the fruits of his academic labor. To date Professor Gleason has written thirteen
mathematics textbooks, and he proudly points to three others that are in various stages of
completion. The titles on display range from Statistics: A First Course, Algebra: A
Problem Solving Approach, and a popular four book series, Is Your Math Ready for Physics?
Chemistry? Biology? Calculus?
But while Professor Gleason takes great professional satisfaction in his textbook authorship (along with his two marathons and countless half marathons), he shifts quickly to point out that his greatest accomplishment is in the development of college texts that he personally publishes and markets to students at Bridgewater. After writing nine books for mainstream publishers, Professor Gleason became disenchanted with the cost of textbooks to the students. Moreover, when so-called ancillary material, study manuals and test banks, were added into the textbook package, the final cost to the student often approached three figures. After seeing students struggle financially to purchase these math textbook packages, Professor Gleason decided to take matters into his own hands.
What Professor Gleason has done in the last few years is become a textbook entrepreneur. He has written four texts under his own copyright and secured the services of a local printer to mass produce copies of the texts. Bridgewater State students taking math courses such as Statistics and Calculus now use Professor Gleasons texts. Also many of Professor Gleasons colleagues in the Mathematics Department have agreed to use his texts in their classes, thereby expanding his readership and the savings to the students. The result is that, according to Professor Gleasons estimate, Bridgewater students have saved over $ 50,000 in book purchase costs. With the ever-expanding use of Professor Gleasons texts, he estimates that by next year another savings of $50,000 will be achieved by the Bridgewater students. The savings to Bridgewater students brings a smile to Professor Gleason, who has coined an appropriate tag line for his mini-publishing empire The highest academic quality at the lowest cost to the student.
Building and maintaining this entrepreneurial enterprise is quite demanding. Professor Gleason teaches a normal instructional load, which besides statistics and calculus include courses such as probability and abstract algebra. After a day at the college, on weekends and during the summer, Professor Gleason becomes author/ art director/publisher/ marketer and of course spokesman for low cost textbook costs. There is a passion in his eye as he shows his pleasure in offering Bridgewater students reasonably priced textbooks.
What makes him even happier is that the Gleason Mathematics Series has been praised by students for its helpful approaches to understanding what can be a difficult course of study. Students are naturally impressed with the cost savings, but they also enjoy the clear and concise method of presentation in his texts. What the Gleason Mathematics Series proves is that this textbook author has proven to be both a master entrepreneur and a master teacher.
Professor Gleason is another example of a faculty member at Bridgewater who takes
special interest in students. In his case there is not only an obvious concern for their
financial welfare, but also their academic welfare. With his textbook publishing,
Professor Gleason is definitely on a mission to make mathematics affordable and
understandable. He has certainly succeeded on both counts.