Karen Weathermon, director of the Common Reading program at WSU.Karen Weathermon, director of the Common Reading program at WSU.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 Common Reading Program announces that nominations for the 2020-21 book are open through Fri., Nov. 15, and can be accessed on the nomination page of the Common Reading website.

“The next book will be the fourteenth in as many years,” said Karen Weathermon, director of the program. “Thousands of WSU students have benefitted from 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 selected single book.”

The Common Reading Program is part of the Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement (DAESA). DAESA is in the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President.

Nomination Requirements

Faculty and staff nominating books must provide a moderate amount of information. How does the book fit the two-year 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 book nomination submission form.

“I invite anyone considering a nomination to take a very broad approach to the theme of global stability, scarcity, and security,” said Weathermon. “The current book, Refuge: Rethinking Refugee Policy in a Changing World, was selected from several nominations. It is about the international refugee crisis, but other nominations centered on, for example, global climate change and the environment. All topics are welcome.”

Selection Process

Because the common reading is a WSU-wide initiative, with every campus participating, selections will be made from a single list of nominations. 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 run throughout spring semester, as well.

For more on the program, and to nominate a book, please explore the Common Reading program website. For anyone who might be unable to access the online form, the questions are listed on the nominations webpage there; answers can be submitted by email to commonreading@wsu.edu, said Weathermon.


Additional Media Contacts:

  • Karen Weathermon, Director the Common Reading Program, Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement, 509-335-5488, kweathermon@wsu.edu