About the Common Reading

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.

The learning outcomes for BGSU's Common Reading Experience:

  1. Develop a sense of inquiry around the constructs of innovation and creativity
  2. Promote academic discourse and critical thinking
  3. Provide a foundation for the expectations of higher education
  4. Create a sense of community among students, faculty, and staff
  5. Integrate an academic and social experience into the campus community
  6. Identify the manner in which life events play a role, but not an unchangeable direction, in the choices we make related to our own sense of self
  7. Recognize that our actions and a focus on self-development play key roles in determining the outcomes of the choices we make for ourselves
  8. Define how the concepts of persistence, resilience, and grit play out in our lives and reactions to events

The criteria used to select the Common Reading at BGSU:

  • Be about the human condition or human experience (whether the work is fiction or non-fiction)
  • Relevant to issues related to first-year students
  • Rich in content and themes that challenge students to think critically
  • Readable, well-written, and engaging
  • Contemporary
  • Appeals to a wide readership
  • Written by or about someone who is willing to make a campus visit
  • Have potential for strong programming opportunities

Whom should you contact if you have questions about the Common Reading Experience?

Donna Nelson-Beene

Director of BG Perspective/Provost Office Associate
202 Hayes Hall