About Common Reading

We foster community by creating connections among students, professors, residence hall staff, and others through the shared reading of a thought-provoking book.

A single book is chosen by the university to be read by all first-year students. This “common reading” is then used in their courses and in special programs outside of classes. Students’ professors, residence hall staff, librarians, and other members of the university community contribute ideas and actions that bring topics raised in the book to life. And because many WSU faculty members are leading researchers in their fields, they share information from their work with students that ties to the book typically at guest expert lectures, which occur outside of regular class times.

Through these uniquely shared experiences, the common reading introduces first-year students to the:

  • Value of research.
  • Power of ideas.
  • Various but interconnected ways in which disciplines across our academic institution approach similar problems.

How We Select the Next Common Reading Book at WSU

The Common Reading Selection Committee typically accepts many nominations from the WSU community in fall semester, and then its members carefully review each nominated book. The Provost and Executive Vice President typically makes the final selection, and the title of the next Common Reading book is announced early in spring semester.

Covers of recent Common Reading books.

We Do Much More than Read Books

The WSU Common Reading Program creates a common academic ground and dialogue for all participants—new students, faculty, staff, and the community centered around them. Programming around topics raised by the common reading book helps students realize the scope and innovative quality of the world-class research underway at Washington State University.

More covers of recent common reading books.