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WSU common reading becomes system-wide shared initiative for 2016-17

PULLMAN, Wash.—What connects two books, six campuses, dozens of faculty from diverse disciplines, and thousands of first-year students at all Washington State University campuses?

Answer: the institution’s common reading program, or programs, to be precise.

While student learning and engagement has benefited for more than a decade thanks to common readings, the upcoming academic year will see more collaboration and cohesion among efforts at multiple campuses.

“Common reading programs across the WSU system have long had many touchpoints with each other in terms of books and programming, but we are embarking on an initiative for 2016-17 that represents a very focused, shared initiative,” said Karen Weathermon, program co-director at the main campus and director of First-Year Programs.  “This is an evolutionary milestone that we believe will have even more impact on students and their education.” » More …

“The Downward Spiral of Addiction and the Journey Out” hosted by the WSU Common Reading Program April 18

Pullman, Wash. The Washington State University Common Reading Program hosts Noel Vest to discuss “The Downward Spiral of Addiction and the Journey Out: Prison, Academia, and Recovery” at 5 p.m. in CUE 203.  This lecture is free and open to the public.

An experimental psychology Ph.D. student and WSU Tri-Cities alumnus, Vest will detail his life experiences and the perspective they lend to this year’s conversation surrounding the year’s Common Reading book, “Just Mercy.” » More …

Desk Copies of Common Reading 2011-12 “Physics for Future Presidents” Available to WSU Faculty

PULLMAN, Wash.-Copies of the 2011-12 common reading book, “Physics for Future Presidents:  The Science behind the Headlines” by Richard A. Muller, are available to Washington State University faculty interested in using the book in their undergraduate courses for the coming year.

“Physics for Future Presidents” was chosen as the common reading book for freshmen by Provost and Executive Vice President Warwick M. Bayly in late March.  The 2010-11 book, “Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, not Bombs in Afghanistan and Pakistan” by Greg Mortenson, was widely used in first-year classes by faculty across campus.

The book covers five complex, contemporary issues: terrorism, energy, “nukes,” space, and global warming in a manner that is designed to be understandable for readers from all backgrounds.  Each set of chapters concludes with a “Presidential Summary” that explains the decisions the reader would need to make on the topic as the president of the United States.

In the text, Muller looks at history, misinformation, and hype while helping the reader balance those with a more logical scientific approach.  The physics professor’s book is based on his own renowned course at Berkeley for non-science majors.

Muller’s book is broadly applicable to fields across campus, including business, communications, education, the humanities, political science, and STEM disciplines.

To enhance the experience of students using the book in classes, the Common Reading Program hosts an evening lecture series, which starts during the week-of-welcome.  The events feature WSU faculty, students, and guests presenting topics inspired by the text.  For the 2010-11 program, 77% of attendees reported that the lectures helped further their understanding of the issues presented in the book.

Those interested in a desk copy should contact Karen Weathermon, co-director of the WSU Common Reading Program, at 509-335-5488 or by email at kweathermon@wsu.edu.

For more information on “Physics for Future Presidents” and on the Common Reading Program visit http://CommonReading.wsu.edu.


MEDIA CONTACT:  David Clarke, communications assistant, WSU University College, 509-335-8070, david.h.clarke@email.wsu.edu

SOURCE:  Karen Weathermon, co-director, WSU Common Reading Program, 509-335-5488, kweathermon@wsu.edu