The Common Reader Experience
The Common Reader became a campus-wide initiative in Fall 2018, after successful beginnings as a pilot effort in the University Honors Program in Fall 2015. Other learning communities joined the effort in Fall 2016 and still more in Fall 2017. UNO is thrilled to be able to offer this opportunity now to all first-year students joining us each fall.
The text chosen for the campus-wide Fall 2019 Common Reader Experience is announced in Spring 2019. Over the summer, students will be invited to join the community at UNO by reading Tara Westover's Educated: A Memoir (2018).
First-year students then come together before Convocation to discuss a text chosen by a committee representative of students, faculty, and staff across the colleges.
Students are asked to read the book during the summer and think about possible discussion topics; possibilities for engagement include an exciting contest (details to follow summer 2019) and exploring book-related questions and issues available via Canvas, UNO's online learning platform. Co-chair of this program, Dr. Lucy Morrison, said, "students at UNO have many opportunities to follow their interests, and the common reader experience launches their academic career with a shared experience and opportunity."
The goals of the Common Reader Experience are to:
- Establish immediate expectations for engagement of students in an intellectual community;
- Provide opportunity for discourse regarding personal, University, community, and societal values;
- Foster a sense of community among the freshman class through shared academic experiences both inside and outside the classroom; and
- Promote interdisciplinary involvement in meaningful learning surrounding a single book.
As a result of active participation in the Common Reader Experience, students will be able to:
- Reflect on their personal experiences and relate them to the common book;
- Relate their personal values to those discussed in the book and articulated by the instructors
- Compare and contrast the academic expectations between the University and their high schools; and
- Articulate the importance of reading and discussion for academic success at the University.
Previous choices for our Common Reader Experience are detailed below:
2015: Daniel Brown's The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics (2013)
2016: Matt Richtel's A Deadly Wandering: A Mystery, A Landmark Investigation, and the Astonishing Science of Attention in the Digital Age (2014)
2017: Wes Moore's The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates (2010)
2018: Willa Cather's My Antonia (1918)
2019: Tara Westover's Educated: A Memoir (2018)