PULLMAN, Wash.—Have you read a good book lately that lends itself to a theme of “global stability, scarcity, and security” and would be suitable for freshman classes and programming at Washington State University?
“The next book will be the thirteenth in as many years,” said Susan Poch, co-director of the program with Karen Weathermon since 2007. “Thousands of WSU students have gone through the program since it began, and benefitted from classroom discussions and faculty- and guest-expert lectures based on topics raised in each book.
“The common reading helps first-year and other students experience new ideas and create new and academically focused networks with professors and other students. The program is carefully designed to stimulate critical thinking and strengthen forms of communication around a single book.”
Faculty and staff nominating books must provide a moderate amount of information. How does the book fit the theme, apply to a broad range of disciplines, and connect readers to, for example, existing university research, civic engagement areas, and global initiatives? How many pages does the book have, is it available in paperback, and is it a realistic read for freshmen? Additional questions are posed in the online form.
Because the common reading is a WSU-wide initiative, with every campus participating, selections will be made from a single list of nominations. From the books suggested for 2018-19, Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything was the book selected.
Weathermon explains that from titles nominated, each book is evaluated by members of an interdisciplinary, cross-campus selection committee. It narrows the list to a few titles, and produces a short list just a few months later. In Pullman, the university provost, as the top academic officer, makes the final selection.
Faculty plan how they will use the book in classes the next fall semester while the program, departments, residence halls, and organizations line up a series of events and presentations that often run throughout spring semester, as well.