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Common Reading Program Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement

Meet the Director

View a larger photo of Karen Weathermon. Welcome to the Common Reading Program for 2021-22! The book this year is Tales of Two Americas: Stories of Inequality in a Divided Nation, a 2017 anthology edited by John Freeman. It is comprised of nonfiction essays, short stories, and poetry by 36 authors, both well-known and emerging. The pieces address a broad range of issues across many regions of the U.S., including the Pacific Northwest.

The goal of the Common Reading Program—now in its 15th year at WSU—is to stimulate thinking and discussion between and among students and faculty. Topics from each year’s book are raised in classes and also form the basis for considerable programming beyond, including guest speaker presentations, film showings, participatory events, art showings, visiting writers, and much more. The Common Reading Program facilitates much of that programming.

Despite Zoom fatigue, total attendance at our 80 events exceeded 2,000 for the year, with events sponsored by 20 different units across the Pullman, Vancouver, Tri Cities, and Global campuses. Being able to share programming across the system in fact doubled the number of events we have typically used for Common Reading credit.

This academic year, we anticipate that programming will focus widely on issues of inequality beyond those covered in the book, including the many aspects of inequality that have been revealed and exacerbated during the past year of the pandemic. Do you have an idea for a talk or activity? We welcome your ideas!

—Karen Weathermon, Ph.D.
Director of First-Year Programs, Pullman Campus