Jacksonville State University Reads This I Believe

For its second annual Summer Reading Program, Jacksonville State University has selected This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women.  All incoming freshman students will pick up a copy of the book at the campus bookstore when they attend Gamecock Orientation sessions in June and July and read it before they return in the fall.

When the semester begins, students will discuss and complete assignments related to the book in English 100 and English 101 as well as in their Freshman Orientation seminars, which provide “supportive guidance in study skills, problem-solving, decision-making, and college adjustment.”

To see a list of other schools that have adopted This I Believe or the second volume of essays, This I Believe II, as well as other Popular Picks from Macmillan, click here.

This I Believe • Holt Paperbacks • 320 pages

Macmillan’s Common Reading March Madness Picks!

Colleges and universities of all sizes in all regions are gearing up for the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament and Macmillan wants in on the bracketology!

Click for a closer look:

Macmillan is not affiliated with the NCAA, ESPN, or HP. Bracket Source: ESPN

Since I’m all about selecting winning books for common reading, I based my bracket picks on the schools that have adopted Macmillan titles for their programs. When neither school had—at least, not this season!—I went with the lower seed (those picks are noted in black). When Macmillan adopters went head to head, I used seed positions to make my predictions, as well.

I proposed the common reading bracket with tongue in cheek, but my little experiment has been fun and informative. Here we have a whole new perspective on the trends and the diversity in common reading selections at schools across the country.

As you can see, the competitors are very well read!

In the East, Ohio State is the favorite with Elie Wiesel’s Night, Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed, and Colin Beavan’s No Impact Man. First Four victor Clemson has previously adopted Ron Rash’s novel One Foot in Eden, and they’ll be reading his Saints at the River this fall. Common reader MVP No Impact Man is the Fall 2011 book at the University of Kentucky. Nickel and Dimed has been the common reading title at both UNC, Chapel Hill and Syracuse University. The UNC Tarheels have also read Picking Cotton and The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, while Syracuse has adopted A Long Way Gone. The University of Washington represents with Elizabeth Kolbert’s Field Notes from a Catastrophe.

Ishmael Beah’s A Long Way Gone dominates in the West, where the universities of Texas and Tennessee have both selected the book. Hampton University first-year students have been reading Daniel Black’s They Tell Me of a Home just this year and Temple’s have read Elie Wiesel’s Night. Number two seed San Diego State University has adopted Ray C. Anderson’s Business Lessons from a Radical Industrialist.

Next, we go to the Southwest, where Boston University has favorites Nickel and Dimed and A Long Way Gone on its roster. The University of Illinois has also adopted Nickel and Dimed and the University of Akron has chosen A Long Way Gone. Class Matters has been read campus-wide at the University of Richmond, while Saint Peter’s has adopted Night. Florida State students submitted their own “This I Believe” essays when the university picked This I Believe—how many of the Seminoles wrote about basketball?

Finally, in the Southeast, University of Pittsburgh students have read Anne Fadiman’s The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. Utah State has adopted Ishmael Beah’s A Long Way Gone and Wofford College freshmen have read Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game and Ron Rash’s One Foot in Eden. Students in the University of Wisconsin system, from Parkside to Marathon County, have read everything from This I Believe II to Deep Economy; I hope they’re all united behind the Badgers from Madison! But can sixth-seed Saint John’s take Katharine Weber’s Triangle all the way to the championship?

The Big Dance begins tomorrow—what book are you rooting for?

P.S. For more unconventional bracketology for academics, check out The Chronicle of Higher Education‘s Tweed Madness!

Henderson State University Picks A Long Way Gone for the 2011 Common Book Program

Henderson State University has adopted Ishmael Beah’s A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier for their 2011 Common Book Program!  Freshman students will each receive a copy when they visit campus for Heart Start, a two-day orientation program held throughout the summer.

In the fall, the book will be required reading in the First Year Experience transition course, the Henderson Seminar. The seminar’s objectives are to:

—Introduce students to the Henderson experience and to the liberal arts
—Develop among first year students a community of learners
—Inform new students of the many opportunities available at HSU
—Improve academic skills and strategies
—Promote meaningful discussions of campus and personal issues

Beyond the classroom, HSU is planning a series of all-campus events related to A Long Way Gone and the issues raised in the book.  The highlight will be Ishmael Beah‘s campus visit in September. All Henderson students, especially freshmen, will be encouraged to attend the author’s lecture, “A Long Way Gone: A Story of Redemption and Hope.”

Each year, the Common Book is selected by a panel of Henderson faculty and administrators from all areas of the university. The committee seeks titles that are readable, relevant, and engaging for students and have interdisciplinary applications in the curriculum.

A Long Way Gone at Henderson State University, Fall 2011

A Long Way Gone is one of Macmillan’s most Popular Picks for common reading programs!   Henderson State University is one of more than fifty colleges and universities to adopt the book, to date.

A Long Way Gone • Sarah Crichton Books • 240 pages