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WSU Undergraduate Education WSU Common Reading

Frequently Asked Questions


What is a Common Reading?

A common reading is a shared academic experience used to link the broader WSU community across disciplines. Because all incoming students read the Common Reading book, they are given the chance to discuss themes and issues from the book regardless of intended major or class schedules.

Do I have to read the book this summer?

No – the common reading book is not summer homework, but if you do read the book now you will get a jump start on fall semester course materials.

Will I have classes that use the book?

Yes – all incoming students are required to take UCORE classes, some of which require the use of the book. The HIST 105 (Roots of Contemporary Issues) course, for example, taken by all first-year students, will rely on the book heavily.

How is the book used in classes? Outside of classes?

Instructors often use the book to start discussions and relate course content to chapters and excerpts from the book. Assignments are typified by essays and projects that connect the common reading to the subject of the course.

Outside of classes, students are invited to attend lectures, discussions, and activities led by the Common Reading Program staff or individual colleges around the university.

When and where can I buy the book? How much does it cost?

Books can be purchased online, and copies are available on the Pullman campus in the Bookie.

How do you pick the common reading book?

Each year, members of the WSU community are invited to submit nominations for the following year’s common reading book. A committee of staff and faculty members then read through the nominations and select three top choices. For 2015-16 and 2016-17, nominated and selected books have presented a theme of “leadership and social justice.” The WSU Provost then selects from the three remaining books.