Class Matters at Bryn Mawr: The College’s Inaugural Common Reading Program

For its first-ever common reading program, Bryn Mawr College has chosen Class Matters, from the highly-acclaimed New York Times series of the same title. In July, the school sent a copy to every member of the Class of 2015, so they’ll be getting a jump-start on their first college reading assignments!

Class Matters was selected by Bryn Mawr’s Diversity Leadership Group, writes Michele A. Rasmussen, Dean of the Undergraduate College. The Diversity Leadership Group is “a committee of senior administrators and faculty [who] devise campus-wide diversity programming. Members of the committee were familiar with the book and thought it would be a particularly good choice for our students.”

The college purchased copies of Class Matters for the first-year class with a gift from Bryn Mawr’s Alumnae Association, which is also spreading the word about the book and encouraging its members to participate.

In fact, Bryn Mawr aims to involve as much of the college community as possible in this inaugural shared reading experience by “ask[ing] members of the campus community to suggest activities focused on the reading.” The college’s goal is to sustain an interdisciplinary conversation about socioeconomic class and its influences on individuals and society on campus throughout the 2011-2012 academic year.

That ongoing conversation and other related programming will evolve alongside the Diversity Leadership Group and Diversity Council’s year-long Class Dismissed? initiative. With a film series, collaborative community projects, on-campus speakers, and the common reading of Class Matters,  Class Dismissed? will serve as a platform for community engagement, awareness, and action related to the topic of socioeconomic class.

Class Matters • Times Books • 288 pages