Kennesaw State Selects Sandel’s Justice for the Second Year

Each year, the Department of First-Year Programs at Kennesaw State University selects a book that will be the common reader assigned in all First-Year Seminars. When they chose Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? for the 2012-2013 program, there were no plans to extend the selection over two years.

But the book was such a success that it’s been named the 2013-2014 common reader, as well.

Jim Davis, Assistant Professor of Theatre & Performance Studies and Chair of the Common Reader Selection Committee for the Department of First-Year Programs, writes, “the book worked so well with the class we decided to do it again . . . It’s served us really well.”

In the fall, first-year students will enroll in one of Kennesaw’s four First-Year Seminars: KSU 1101: Traditional Seminar, KSU 1111: Globally Focused Seminar, KSU 1121: Community Engagement Seminar, or KSU 1200: Leadership Development Seminar. Justice will be assigned reading in all of these classes.

Every new student takes a first-year seminar, either as an independent three-credit course or as part of a Learning Community, which is a group of “20-25 first-semester students who co-enroll in two or more courses that are linked together with a common theme.” These choices offer freedom and flexibility to a student body with diverse interests and goals, and all the seminars aim to develop students’ “life skills, strategies for academic success, campus and community connections, and foundations for global learning.”

For instance, Professor Davis’ seminar is part of a Learning Community for Theatre & Performance Studies majors. Last fall, he “used [Justice] as a starting point for a series of performances based on how the students were handling the election year.” Practicing “techniques of ethnography, theater-for-social-change and improvisational theater,” students produced performances pieces that reflected some of the specific issues and questions presented in the book as well as the reality of facing those issues and questions as young adults and new college students.

Re-Generation Initiative at Kennesaw State University from Kennesaw State on Vimeo.

In the past, KSU has also adopted Paul Loeb’s Soul of a Citizen and Ishmael Beah’s A Long Way Gone for the common reading program. Click here to see the other schools that have adopted these Popular Picks for common reading from Macmillan!

Justice • Farrar, Straus & Giroux Paperbacks • 320 pages

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Barry University’s 2013-2014 Common Reader is Don’t Shoot

Barry University has named David M. Kennedy’s Don’t Shoot: One Man, A Street Fellowship, and the End of Violence in Inner-City America as the Common Reader for the upcoming academic year. This summer, all incoming students will read the book as they prepare for their first semester at the university. Don’t Shoot will be assigned reading in many first-year courses this fall.

The Common Reader program gives new students one shared intellectual experience so they begin to connect with one another early on, no matter what their academic interests. Each year, the Common Reader is selected by the General Education Curriculum Committee—14 of faculty members who teach the core courses (writing, theology, philosophy, literature, fine arts, history, sociology, political science, math, and science).

The committee seeks out a compelling book that has broad appeal and is relevant or applicable to students or to their college experience. As many Americans try to understand the widespread violence in our country and its cultural, ethical, political, and economic causes and effects, Kennedy’s book will help Barry students “understand the personal and social commitments necessary to address social problems and to accept responsibility for developing communities based on an ethic of care and concern for others.”

In October, Don’t Shoot will be at the center of a one-day mini-conference, “Reclaiming Community from a Culture of Violence.” Author David M. Kennedy will give the keynote address. The day will also include panel presentations and discussions, guest speakers from local community-based agencies, film screenings, service opportunities.

In past years, Barry University has adopted This I Believe and This I Believe II, essay collections both edited by Jay Alison and Dan Gediman, and Paul Loeb’s Soul of a Citizen. Click here to see all the schools that have adopted these and other Popular Picks for first-year reading from Macmillan.

Don’t Shoot • Bloomsbury • 336 pages

Sandel’s Justice is the Common Reader at Kennesaw State University

Michael J. Sandel’s Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? is the 2012 Common Reader at Kennesaw State University. In the fall, first-year students will enroll in one of four of Kennesaw’s First-Year Seminars: KSU 1101: The traditional seminar, KSU 1111: The globally-focused seminar, KSU 1121: The community service seminar, or KSU 1200: The leadership development seminar. Click here for details about the four different courses

Every first-year must take a seminar, either as an independent three-credit course or as part of a themed combination of courses called a Learning Community, but the choices offer freedom and flexibility.This curriculum is designed to appeal to a student body with diverse interests and goals, but all the seminars aim to develop students’ “life skills, strategies for academic success, campus and community connections, and foundations for global learning,” and Justice will be assigned reading in every class.

By reading the same book and discussing it in class, as well as attending related events on campus throughout the academic year, students will have a variety of opportunities to achieve KSU’s objectives for the program. They will:

  • gain reinforcement of the first-year seminar learning outcomes by participating in this program
  • engage in reading
  • join their peers in a common academic experience
  • be able to demonstrate a knowledge of academic, political, social, and world issues
  • explore the development of their individual identities
  • develop multicultural awareness

The Common Reader is an initiative of the KSU Department of First-Year Programs, a team of educators and administrators that also coordinates the First-Year Seminar and Learning Community programs and provides year-round support for the first-year class. One of their unique offerings is IT 2101: Computers and Your World, a digital literacy course for students who want to practice using and explore computing technologies.

Previous Common Readers at KSU include Paul Loeb’s Soul of a Citizen and Ishmael Beah’s A Long Way Gone. Click here to see the other schools that have adopted these Popular Picks for common reading from Macmillan!

Justice • Farrar, Straus & Giroux Paperbacks • 320 pages

Soul of a Citizen is the 2010-2011 Common Reader at Barry University

Barry University has selected Paul Loeb’s Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in Challenging Times, recently revised and expanded, as the 2010-2011 Common Reader.

The book will be part of assignments in many first-year classes, including Fundamentals of Speech, First-Year Composition, The Meaning of History, Introduction to Sociology, and Biological Foundations.  The incoming students will read it over the summer and will jump right into related coursework in the fall.

Soul of a Citizen will also be a feature at Barry’s interdisciplinary mini-conference on “Soulful Citizenship: Pursuing Social Justice through Collaborative Partnerships,” to be held on October 26, 2010.  Geared toward undergraduate students, this all-day event will feature a keynote address by author Paul Loeb as well as panel presentations and discussions, guest speakers from local community-based agencies, film screenings, service opportunities, and more.

The goals of the “Soulful Citizenship” mini-conference are to encourage participants to:

—reflect on the salient social injustices that are facing local and global communities
—consider the moral, ethical, social, and political responsibilities of educated persons to struggle for social betterment
—formulate a shared vision of a society based on principles of human rights and social justice
—identify the social, personal, and ideological barriers to engaging in social change efforts
—recognize strategies (service, service-learning, community-based research, organizing, advocacy, community development, etc.) for collaborating with communities, building coalitions, and creating social change
—participate in opportunities for direct involvement in working on specific social justice issues in South Florida.

Instructors may incorporate certain conference sessions into their curricula with optional or required assignments.  The university will sponsor a poetry/writing competition, inviting entries based on the themes and principles in Soul of a Citizen.

This contest was also held in 2009, when the first-year class read This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women.  The winners were selected for their originality; ability to move the reader; and grammar and writing ability.  Read the two winning essays

Soul of a Citizen and This I Believe are both Popular Picks for First-Year Reading!  Click here to see a list of other colleges and universities that have used the books.

Soul of a Citizen • St. Martin’s Griffin • 400 pages