University committee reviews first year common read
TNE Editor
/ Categories: Feature, Campus

University committee reviews first year common read

Published 10/30/18

Bradley Dame

TNE Writer

In 2016, University Strategies classes implemented a common read program into their curriculum. A common read is a book university strategies students read and discuss throughout the semester.

Certain scholarship programs such as Honors and PLC have had common reads for several years, but the idea to have all students enrolled in university strategies participate in common read began in Academic Affairs.  Each year, a committee reviews the common read program and discusses what book should be used the following year and how they should implement it into the class curriculum and across campus.

“The common read makes it easier for a professor or peer instructor to facilitate discussion,” said Malachi Stroud, Antlers senior and peer instructor.  “Students can relate to each other through reading the book, whether that’s through mutual enjoyment or mutual resentment.”

The committee is made up of a variety of people around campus, including students such as Stroud.

“Each member of the committee either teaches a section of university strategies, is involved with welcome week or is a peer instructor,” said Dr. Kendra Haggard, committee chairperson and English professor.  “There is a committee member from each college as well as from advisement, the library and student activities.”

This pool of committee members provides representation of different aspects of the university to have their say in the decision making process.

The university strategies common read started in 2016 with “Fire in Beulah” a book set during the Oklahoma oil rush centered on the wife of an oil driller and her maid. The book centers around the boomtown craze and the 1921 race riot in Tulsa.  Rilla Askew is the author of the book and an Oklahoman.

The common read for 2018 and 2018 was “Callings” by Dave Isay.  Isay is the founder of StoryCorps, a non-profit organization that records and shares different stories about Americans from different backgrounds and beliefs. “Callings” is a collection of StoryCorps style stories.

“The goal of the committee is to select a common read that students can relate to and discuss,” said Dr. Haggard. “We want the common read to keep in line with the mission for NSU and with our learning outcomes for the course.”

The purpose of university strategies is for freshmen to learn about NSU and the different activities and services available and to get to know other students. The common read is meant to align with these goals and provide a way for students to connect with each other through discussion.

“One of the most important purposes of the book is to get first year students reading and discussing and learning from each other,” said Brian Searcy, academic adviser. “This can help students get to know one another and make connections. We should strive for a book that is accessible and engaging to most students, keeping in mind that many students may not enjoy reading. A good book that can facilitate discussion and deeper thought would be the goal.”

The committee has met a few times over the semester, and have formed a list of books they have narrowed down. They are meeting again in a couple of weeks and they hope to make their decision soon.

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