Belmont University Students Will Read The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down This Fall

Belmont University has selected Anne Fadiman’s The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures for their 2014 First-Year Seminar common book program.

All first-year students will enroll in a First-Year Seminar, a core General Education course that encourages a lifetime of intellectual engagement:

What is Knowledge? Are there multiple ways of knowing and understanding the world around us? How do we apply knowledge gained in the classroom to the world around us?

Every seminar emphasizes practical skills for success as a student at Belmont and as a citizen beyond: critical thinking, engaged reading and listening, effective communication.

However, each seminar is organized around a different theme; some cover literature or film, some draw on scientific principles, some explore history or religion. First-year students may enroll in a seminar based in their intended field of study or explore a new area. Faculty from disciplines across the academic spectrum teach these seminars, and they will all incorporate The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down.

The book complements Belmont’s 2014-2015 academic theme: “Living in a Global Community.” The annual theme, Belmont Questions, is a campus-wide tradition “developed to create a sense of community and stimulating dialog among students, faculty and staff.” Since Fall 2008, when the university hosted the Town Hall Presidential Debate, members of the Belmont community have been invited to propose ideas for a new annual theme. The common book selection, as well as many other programs, events, and activities, reflect the chosen theme each year.

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down • Farrar, Straus and Giroux • 368 pages

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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!

Confessions of a Radical Industrialist is San Diego State University’s 2010 Common Experience Book

San Diego State University has selected Confessions of a Radical Industrialist: Profits, People, Purpose—Doing Business by Respecting the Earth for the shared reading component of its 2010 Common Experience program!

The Common Experience at SDSU is a year-long, campus-wide program that revolves around a theme; the theme this year, and for the next three years, is Social Justice and Environmental Integrity: A Call to Service.  Ray C. Anderson’s book about sustainable, responsible business will be central to programming based on that theme. Click here for more information about the book.

New students will be asked to read Confessions of a Radical Industrialist this summer, and will hear a brief presentation about it at convocation in the fall. Through the 2010-2011 academic year, those first-year students and continuing upperclassmen will discuss the book in first-year experience classes, selected writing classes, in residence hall discussions and in upper-level courses.

The conversations that begin in those courses will continue through thematically relevant activities and events for the whole campus community—”student journals, films, theater, creative writing, original music and dance performances, art exhibitions, panel discussions, renowned guest speakers, service learning experiences and more, all enrich the process and expand inclusiveness.”

Presented by an assorted group of campus offices, the Common Experience is a collaborative effort to:

—Cultivate a common intellectual conversation across the campus – with special attention to engaging all entering students
—Enhance student participation in the intellectual life of the campus by encouraging discussion of and critical thinking about a core text and common topic
—Foster a sense of community among San Diego State University students, faculty and staff, and the wider community

Previous Common Experience books at SDSU include Nickel and Dimed and The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down.  Both are Popular Picks for common reading from Macmillan!

Confessions of a Radical Industrialist • St. Martin’s Press • 320 pages

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Selects Picking Cotton for the 2010 Carolina Summer Reading Program

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has selected Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption as the common book for the 2010 Carolina Summer Reading Program!

The book was the unanimous choice of a nine-member selection committee of students, faculty and staff who reviewed books based on the following criteria:

—Intellectually stimulating—stretch students’ minds, cause students to think about things they might not have before
—Enjoyable, engaging, relatively short, easy to read, up-to-date
—Reading that will provoke interesting discussion
—Appropriate for developmental level of incoming students
—Addresses a theme/topic that is applicable to students themselves (i.e., societal issues)

Incoming students will read the book before their freshman orientation.  In the fall, discussion groups will meet in the new students’ dorms as part of the Residential Life orientation program.  Professors will also assign the book  in relevant first-year seminars.

The Carolina Summer Reading Program is designed to provide a common experience for incoming students, to enhance participation in the intellectual life of the campus through stimulating discussion and critical thinking around a current topic, and to encourage a sense of community between students, faculty and staff.

—Office of New Student & Carolina Parent Programs

Topical campus-wide events (film screenings, panel presentations, etc.) to be held during the fall semester are in the works.  One event the University plans to host is a presentation by authors and activists Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton, who are both natives of North Carolina.

View the Picking Cotton book trailer:

Click here and visit The Innocence Project to learn more about eyewitness misidentification, which plays a role in more than 75% of the wrongful convictions that are eventually overturned through DNA testing.

In previous summers, UNC at Chapel Hill has adopted Nickel and Dimed and The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, both Popular Picks for first-year reading programs.  Visit the Programs page to see lists of other schools that have used those books, and others from Macmillan!

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

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down is the 2009 First-Year Common Read at Mount Holyoke College

This year, all first-year students at Mount Holyoke College read Anne Fadiman’s The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures.

Mount Holyoke’s First-Year Common Read program, which began in 2000, is one component of the college’s orientation program.  Incoming students receive a copy of the book over the summer along with registration and other ‘welcome’ materials.  During orientation in the fall, students come together to discuss the book with their new classmates and student orientation leaders.

The shared reading experience provides a starting point for the first of the many intellectual engagements that will take place both inside and outside the classrooms in four years at Mount Holyoke.

This year, other events surrounding the common read selection included a faculty panel for discussion of the book’s cultural, ethical, and spiritual themes, and a reading and talk given by the author, both open to the whole campus community. Students and faculty contributed their thoughts on a blog dedicated to the common read.

In keeping with the oral tradition of the Hmong people, Mount Holyoke’s Language Resource Center and Library, Information, and Technology Services created Fish Soup, an oral history project that gives first-year students the opportunity to explore and preserve their college’s cultural history.  Students are invited to, with a few guidelines, interview a peer, tell a story of their own, and, if they wish, contribute a recording to the Fish Soup archive.

The Fish Soup project is a unique way for students to gain deeper understanding of their own experiences, hear about their classmates’ backgrounds, and practice using the resources and equipment available in the college library.  Click here to learn more about the project, continuing in 2010.

In previous years, Mount Holyoke has adopted Nickel and Dimed and Field Notes from a Catastrophe for the First-Year Common Read program.  Click here to see lists of other schools that have used these Popular Picks for first-year reading!