Picking Cotton is the First Annual ‘Eagle Read’ at North Carolina Central University

North Carolina Central University’s 2010-2011 Eagle Reading Experience selection is Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton’s book, Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption.

This is the inaugural year for the Eagle Reading Experience, which is an initiative of NCCU’s Office of Orientation and First-Year Experience.  The program is geared primarily toward first-year students living in residence halls, though transfer students, off-campus residents, and other members of the university community are invited to participate.

Related campus events have included a series of small group discussions, an oratorical contest, and an essay contest. The authors will speak on campus in January 2011.

Sit in on one of the small group discussions about Picking Cotton: NCCU Eagle Reading Experience Discussion on YouTube

The goals of the Eagle Reading Experience are:

  • To provide a common experience for first-year learners who live in the residence halls and to ease the transition into the academic community of NCCU
  • To build an intellectual community among first-year learners, returning students, faculty and staff
  • To help students make connections between classroom and out-of-classroom experiences
  • To engage students in discussions surrounding current societal issues

The common reading program is just one aspect of the extensive and enthusiastic efforts by the Office of Orientation and First-Year Experience to welcome new students and facilitate their transition to the university.  Some of their initiatives include:

  • The NCCU First-Year Blog, co-written by freshman and transfer students who share their own first-year experiences at NCCU
  • The Reel Eagles First-Year Film Showcase, featuring short films made by first-year students about being first-year students
  • The Outstanding First-Year Advocate Award, which recognizes how important, and appreciated, it is to contribute to the collective first-year experience by honoring annually “a faculty or staff member or administrator who has gone above and beyond to ensure student success for undergraduate first-year students and transfers”
  • An active presence on Facebook and Twitter, where they can connect with students in real time and in the students’ own element

Brian Merritt, Associate Director of The Office of Orientation and First-Year Experience, talks about how the group uses social media to achieve its mission to “reach out to prospective and admitted students and ease their transition to the university” in this video: Reaching Prospective Students with Social Media

For more information about Picking Cotton and authors, speakers, and activists Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton, click here and visit The Innocence Project.

Picking Cotton • St. Martin’s Griffin • 320 pages