The University of Houston’s First Common Reading Book is Step Out on Nothing

The inaugural book selected for the University of Houston’s Provost Summer Read Program is Byron Pitts’ Step Out on Nothing: How Faith and Family Helped Me Conquer Life’s Challenges. The journalist’s memoir represents the first academic assignment for students in the class of 2018.

Each first year student will receive a copy at New Student Orientation sessions this summer, courtesy of the university. They’ll be asked to read the book and return to campus in August prepared to explore its themes with their peers in faculty-led seminar discussions.

Students are encouraged to reflect on their own experiences and how they relate to Step Out on Nothing. The Office of the Provost invites first years to pen essays about their own challenges and achievements, their own mentors, and their own leaps of faith or “steps out on nothing.” Fifteen writers who enter the essay contest will win a seat at lunch with Byron Pitts in September when he visits campus to give a keynote address.

“[The Provost Summer Read Program] provides a common experience for all first-year students in each of the 10 academic colleges with undergraduate majors . . . [The program] also sets the tone for the kind of critical thinking and intellectual rigor that will be expected from their college work at UH.”

Paula Myrick Short, Ph.D., Senior Vice Chancellor/Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

As they kick off their new student success initiative, the University of Houston has these goals in mind:

—To engender a sense of community among first year students through participation in a shared activity
—To provide first year students with an opportunity to engage with other first year students and faculty at an early stage in their academic career.
—To introduce first year students to the intellectual climate of the university
—To learn to appreciate the role that dialogue and reasoned exchange of ideas plays in student success
—To promote reading and writing as a way of developing analytical skills and the ability to think critically

An interdisciplinary committee of faculty selected Step Out on Nothing for the first Provost Summer Read. Going forward, the selection committee also will consider books recommended by members of the university community.

Step Out on Nothing • St. Martin’s Press • 304 pages

First Year Students at Adelphi University Read Thank You for Your Service

Adelphi University has chosen David Finkel’s Thank You for Your Service for their 2014 common reading program. The university will give a copy of the book to every incoming first year student.

Most students will receive the book in its eBook format; the school will distribute access codes with instructions for downloading the eBook to a digital reading device. Students who are not able to access the book digitally will receive physical copies. Have questions about assigning eBooks for common reading at your school? Ask us!

First year students will read the book over the summer and compose a short essay responding to this prompt:

Do we owe anything to the men and women who return from wars? If so, in what ways is society living up to its obligations and in what ways is it failing to do so?

The essay is the first written assignment for the First Year Seminar, part of a two-course, four-credit General Education Requirement designed to help new students “adjust to and succeed in college.” Additionally, students may submit their essays to be considered for the First-Year Academic Writing Award. The First Year Experience Committee will award a $250 gift certificate to Barnes and Noble to one writer of an outstanding essay.

Adelphi’s the common reading is part of a broader engagement program called the Collaboration Project, which is founded on and guided by these principles:

Inclusion: Emphasis on cross-constituency participation supporting the active involvement and leadership of marginalized and underrepresented groups
Education: Fostering understanding about historical, contemporary and future global and local contexts and issues
Engagement: Democratic and civic involvement, service and action
Reflection: Ongoing analysis of process, representations and outcomes
Celebration: Joyful and creative recognitions and expressions
Collaboration: Learning from and supporting each other’s experiences, efforts and concerns

The Collaboration Project comprises intellectual, social, and creative events, activities, and programs that are tied to one theme. The 2014-2015 theme is “The Changing Nature of War and Peace.” “Reading and discussion of [Thank You for Your Service] will be cornerstones of Adelphi’s year-long focus” on that theme. The events lineup features film screenings, musical and dramatic performances, civic projects, and lectures, including one given by David Finkel when he visits campus in October.

Click here to see the schools that have adopted David Finkel’s first book, The Good Soldiers, and other Popular Picks from Macmillan, including another book with a military theme, Rye Barcott’s It Happened On the Way to War.

Thank You for Your Service • Farrar, Straus & Giroux • 272 pages

Justice is Sacred Heart University’s 2014 Summer Reading Book

Sacred Heart University’s Class of 2018 will all read Michael J. Sandel’s Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? before beginning classes in the fall. Intended “to prepare [students] for the start of their college careers and for the academic realities of college life,” the Summer Reading is considered the first assignment of each student’s college education.

The book will be on syllabuses in First-Year Seminars in various disciplines including English, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Psychology, and Political Science, and in certain sections of FLO 125: The Art of Thinking, a class focused on the essentials of logic and critical thinking.

Beyond the classroom, students will take part in “a series of faculty-led discussions on Justice and its potential impact on [their] lives both as students and as citizens.” Michael Sandel will speak at Sacred Heart in September.

The university is also holding a Summer Reading Essay Contest. First-year students may participate by writing a response to the prompt:

As you enter college and after reflecting on your reading of Justice, what can you learn from this book that might be significant as you begin this new chapter in your life?  Our Common Core asks us to consider how we might live lives of meaning and purpose.  From reading the text and considering the issues and complexities Sandel presents, how might it offer us some guidance—or perhaps some warning—as we embark on our personal journeys toward lives of meaning and purpose?

Click here to see the other schools that have adopted Justice and other Popular Picks for common reading from Macmillan!

Justice • Farrar, Straus & Giroux Paperbacks • 320 pages

Meet Macmillan at #FYE14 in San Diego!

Macmillan Logo

Visit us in the Exhibit Hall at Booths 6 & 7!

Exhibit Hall Hours
Saturday, February 15
5:00pm – 7:45pm
Sunday, February 16
7:00am – 11:30am
1:30pm – 6:00pm
Monday, February 17
7:00am – 12:00pm

Join us for dinner with Michael J. Sandel!

Author of Justice and What Money Can’t Buy
Saturday, February 15 at 7:30pm
Click for more details

Join us for dinner with Robin Sloan!

Author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
Monday, February 17 at 7:00pm
Click for more details

Say hello!

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

Cleveland State University Picks Walkable City for the 2014 Common Reading Experience

Jeff Speck’s Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time, is the 2014 Common Reading Experience title at Cleveland State University.

The book will be required reading for all first-year students enrolled in ASC 101: Introduction to University Life. ASC 101 is an orientation course that emphasizes “the nature and the value of a college education in relationship to one’s intellectual development, degree attainment, career success, and quality of life.”

According to the CSU Office of Student Learning Assessment, some of the self-reported positive learning outcomes for students who take ASC 101 include: understanding college expectations, general education requirements, and the University structure and policies; awareness of the campus resources that are available and how to access them; increased awareness of academic majors and career interest; developing new strategies for studying and learning; setting goals and taking responsibility for them; and others.

Beyond the classroom, many events related to Walkable City will take place on and around the CSU campus throughout the 2014-2015 academic year. An author visit and Q&A; lectures and exhibits about architecture, urban planning and development, and public life; behind-the-scenes tours of university facilities that are not usually open to students; a Q&A with a current City Councilperson; walking tours in and around Downtown Cleveland; and more events are in the works.

Some of those tours will be guided by Cleveland Historical, a free mobile app developed by the University’s Center for Public History + Digital Humanities that combines still and moving images, audio, documents, and a collections of more than 500 local stories with live maps and the geolocation capabilities on a user’s mobile device to take them on an interactive, multidimensional tour of the region.

Each year, the CRE book is selected by a committee of university administrators, faculty from a variety of disciplines, campus life representatives, and students.

The goal of this common reading program is to create a shared learning experience that fosters student engagement, retention, and personal development beyond the classroom. In pursuing this initiative, CSU joins college campuses throughout the country that make this part of the freshman year experience. Although directed primarily at freshmen, we hope to engage the entire campus in this reading experience through promoting the book in other courses and sponsoring campus-wide activities to highlight the reading and its intersection with different disciplines and issues.

The Common Reading Experience, EngagedScholarship@CSU

Walkable City is a great choice for Cleveland State; their city is the 16th most walkable large city in the U.S., and the 4th most walkable city in Ohio according to Walk Score, a group that evaluates an area’s “walkability” by analyzing how accessible local destinations like grocery stores, theaters, parks, restaurants, and retail are on foot.

Cleveland State University
2121 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44115-2214

Very Walkable

Explore Downtown on Walk Score

Cleveland State’s previous CRE books include Colin Beavan’s No Impact ManClick here to see the other schools that have adopted these Popular Picks for common reading from Macmillan!

Walkable City • North Point Press • 320 pages

Join Macmillan & Robin Sloan for Dinner at the 2014 Conference on The First-Year Experience!

Attention attendees of the 2014 Conference on The First-Year Experience! Don’t forget to RSVP to our author dinner featuring Robin Sloan, author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore!

Monday, February 17th at 7pm
Manchester Grand Hyatt

Seaport Ballroom, Salon H
(Second Level – Map)

Wrap up your conference at an author dinner co-hosted by Macmillan, HarperCollins, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Simon & Schuster.

Robin Sloan is one of four authors who will speak that evening. He’ll also be signing free copies of his novel, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore.

2014 fye dinner ad monday jan 17

You may RSVP online or at Booth #6 in the exhibit hall!

Join Macmillan & Michael Sandel for Dinner at the 2014 Conference on The First-Year Experience!

Will you be at the Annual Conference on The First-Year Experience, coming up in February 2014?

On the first evening of the conference, Macmillan will join HarperCollins, Knopf, and Penguin to host a dinner featuring Michael J. Sandel, author of Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do and What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets.

2014 fye dinner ad saturday jan 15

To RSVP, please visit one of the participating publishers’ booths when the exhibit hall opens on Saturday (5:00pm-7:30pm)!