About the Common Reading Experience at Bowling Green State University
How did the Common Reading Experience begin?
During spring semester 2001, the Director of First Year Experience hosted a round table discussion with faculty members from a variety of departments and members of the professional staff of student affairs. The purpose of the discussion was to identify ways to create experiences for incoming first year students that would build community, yet have an academic tone. One of the ideas that surfaced was a common read. It was initially envisioned as a way for students to get to know each other, regardless of their course of study or background. The book would be assigned for reading over summer and once students arrived, they would at least have the book as a common discussion point.
Who selects the books and how do people get involved?
The book is selected by committee. Representatives from the various first year programs,and from academic and student affairs serve on the committee. Student representatives serve when possible. Anyone is welcome to join the committee and may do so at any time by contacting Colleen Boff (372.7901). Members of the committee can expect to participate in an initial screening of book reviews and will be asked to read 1-2 titles. The committee typically meets monthly during spring semester.
What are the objectives of the Common Reading Experience?
The goals of the Common Reading Experience are to
encourage students to read beyond textbooks.
raise awareness and tolerance of intergenerational and cultural likenesses and differences.
promote academic discourse and critical thinking.
provide an introduction to the expectations of higher education.
create a sense of community among students, faculty and staff.
integrate an academic and social experience into the campus community.
What are the criteria used to select the common read each year?
The book selected for the 2011 Common Read, should
be about the human condition or human experience (whether the work is fiction or non-fiction)
be readable, engaging, and relevant to issues related to first year students.
be rich in content and themes that challenges students to think critically.
have literary quality.
appeal to males and females.
be written by or about someone who is willing to make a campus visit (if funding is available).
have potential for strong programming opportunities.
(Updated March, 2011)
Who should you contact if you have questions about the Common Reading Experience?
Colleen Boff, First Year Experience Librarian
Jerome Library, Department of Library Teaching and Learning