THIS I BELIEVE II is Tennessee Tech University’s 2016 #CommonReading Book!

Tennessee Technological University has selected This I Believe II as their 2016 Common Read Book!

All incoming first-year students are required to read This I Believe II this fall, and other university and community members are also invited to participate. Each first-year student will receive a copy of the book in their University Connections course in the fall.

In addition to participating in classroom discussions about This I Believe II‘s themes, students will also have the opportunity to meet Dan Gediman when he visits Tennessee Tech in the fall. Gediman will give a keynote speech discussing his role in the preparation and selection of essays for This I Believe and This I Believe II, and he will host a mini-workshop to assist students in developing their own “This I Believe” essay. Following the workshop and the completion of their “This I Believe” essays, students will be invited to submit their essays for inclusion in Tennessee Tech’s own “This I Believe” collection. The essay collection will be published after the fall semester.

Sister Helen Prejean, who contributed an essay to This I Believe IIis also expected to be on campus in the fall as part of Tennessee Tech’s Center Stage lecture series. Additional events are still being planned and more information is to come.

This I Believe II was selected for Tennessee Tech’s Common Book program primarily because of its diverse array of narratives, perspectives, and experiences. “We feel This I Believe II allows readers to experience a variety of events, cultures, and different beliefs through relatively short essays,” explained Allen Mullis, Common Book committee chair and director of Orientation and Student Success. “Unlike previous Common Book selections, students can open up any page and begin reading essays from people of all walks of life.”

This is the fifth year of Tennessee Tech’s Common Book program. Each year, a book is selected by a committee of faculty and staff, who read a selection of books that have been submitted through an online form. All university community members are able to submit book suggestions. The primary goal of this program is to create a shared reading experience for all incoming first-year students, faculty, and many university community members. The Common Book program also seeks to:

  • Challenge students to broaden their personal perspectives through participation in a university and community-wide conversation.
  • Introduce students to contemporary global issues.
  • Develop intellectual engagement inside and outside of the classroom.
  • Create a foundation for students to explore values and ethics.
  • Provide an introduction to the educational experience at Tennessee Tech.

Click here to see other schools that have adopted This I Believe IIand its predecessor, This I Believe. Visit our Popular Picks page for more common reading options from Macmillan!

This I Believe II • Picador • 288 pages

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Why Not Read Now? Southern Connecticut State University Reads This I Believe

“Why not read now?” asks Southern Connecticut State University, which most recently selected This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women, for its common book program, Southern Reads.

Last summer, when new SCSU students attended Orientation, they each received a copy of the book from the university’s Hilton C. Buley library. The library provided the books for all first-year students, as it has every summer since the program’s inception in 2010.

Students began reading right away with a short overnight assignment while they stayed on campus for New Student Orientation. On the second day of NSO, they got a preview of the college seminar experience in “mock classroom” session, where they completed reading comprehension self-assessments and discussed the book with peers and faculty.

Why Not Read Now? is designed to inspire Southern freshmen, faculty, staff, and students to open their minds by opening a common book over the summer and getting prepared to come back in the fall ready to think about it, write about it, talk about it, and listen to what others have to say about it.

About Why Not Read Now? Southern Reads

After NSO, students took This I Believe home to finish reading and continue to “reflect on the fundamental values that guide their lives,” before returning to campus to begin classes in September.

For most first-year students, those classes included Inquiry, part of SCSU’s Liberal Education curriculum. Part learning community, part college transition workshop, part composition course, Inquiry brings students together in groups of about 20—an instant network of peers. Faculty from a variety of academic departments teach two complementary seminars: Critical Thinking and INQ 101: Introduction to Intellectual and Creative Inquiry.

scsu student this i believe tee copy

Students created custom “I believe…” statement t-shirts! (via SCSU FYE on Facebook)

Critical Thinking “helps prepare students to identify problems and to think effectively about their solutions . . . These skills are necessary for active learning and independent thinking; they are also essential for academic success and good decision-making in students’ personal, professional and public lives.”

In INQ 101, students focus “on essentials like reading, writing, thinking, research and inquiry skills, and frameworks for building an academic habit of mind—in other words, thinking like a college student.” Here, they’ll have opportunities to think, speak, and write about This I Believe and about their own beliefs and values.

Beyond the classroom, SCSU recognized and celebrated beliefs and values with a campus visit and book discussions by This I Believe co-editor Dan Gediman, a lecture series featuring campus leaders from the student body and the SCSU faculty, and an art exhibition in honor of the university’s new President.

Several university offices sponsored a This I Believe essay contest and accepted entries in four categories: first-year students, returning students graduate students, and faculty and staff. Meanwhile, the university held open Creative Writing Workshops for anyone working on an essay for the contest. In December, the winners read their essays for a standing room only audience on campus!

Click here to read about some of the other schools that have adopted This I Believe or This I Believe II for common reading programs!

This I Believe • Picador • 320 pages

This I Believe is the Summer Reading Book at Seton Hall University

Seton Hall University has selected This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women for the 2012 Summer Reading Program! First-year students will pick up copies of the book at the campus bookstore when they attend summer orientation sessions in June.

When they return to campus in the fall, new freshmen will use the book in two introductory courses: Engl 1201: Core English I and Core 1001: University Life. Core English I is First Year Writing course that emphasizes “the writing and reading processes of expository and persuasive rhetoric/argument,” including research, pre-writing, revising, and grammar, mechanics, and vocabulary. As part of the course requirements, Core English students take advantage of academic resources on campus, including one-on-one sessions with peer tutors and the university’s Writing Center.

University Life is a Freshman Studies seminar that “aims to provide students with academic and personal success; integrate computer technology into academic instruction; familiarize students with University resources and opportunities; improve reading, writing, and analytical skills and support the University mission of “forming students to be servant leaders in a global society.” Components of the course include classroom discussions and activities, creating an online writing portfolio, attendance at multi-cultural and interdisciplinary events on campus, community service, and participation in a university club or organization.

Click here to read about some of the other schools that have adopted This I Believe or This I Believe II for common reading programs!

This I Believe • Holt Paperbacks • 320 pages

For the Second Year, Virginia Tech Selects This I Believe II for the Common Book Project

For the second year in a row, Virginia Tech’s Common Book Project selection is This I Believe II: More Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women. Every first-year student will receive a free copy of the book featuring the university’s signature VT on the cover and a letter Vice President and Dean of Undergraduate Education inside.

The collection of essays “resonated strongly with members of the student body as well as faculty.” Among the seventy-five essayists are musicians Yo-Yo Ma and Béla Fleck, Nobel Prize Winner Elie Wiesel, the founder of the online community Craigslist.org, an anthropology student at the University of Chicago, a diner waitress, and an Iraq War veteran.

Editors Dan Gediman and Jay Allison collaborated to revive Edward R. Murrow’s 1950s radio program, This I Believe, and then brought selected essays from the airwaves to press in This I Believe II and its preceding volume, This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women. The collections both include pieces from the original 1950s series as well as contemporary submissions. The books also contain questions for discussion and a guide to writing one’s own This I Believe statement.

VTech's HokieBird Reads THIS I BELIEVE II

VTech’s HokieBird Reads This I Believe II

Many Virginia Tech Hokies did write personal belief essays; some students opted to express their beliefs in audio or video presentations. Students believe in diversity, puppies, dancing, trust and respect in relationships, helping others, literacy, and much, much more. This I Believe projects of all kinds were published through Blogs@VT, the university’s own network of blogs by members of the VT community.

The goal is for all students—from engineering to English majors—to discuss and learn from the same book, creating a common thread in the undergraduate experience.

Office of First Year Experiences, Virginia Tech

Read more about VTech’s annual Common Book Project here.

This I Believe II and its preceding volume, This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women, have been adopted for common reading programs at more than 50 schools! Click here to see other colleges and universities that have adopted these Popular Picks from Macmillan.

This I Believe II • Picador • 288 pages

Roberts Wesleyan College Reads This I Believe

This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women is Robert Wesleyan College’s choice for the 2011 campus-wide reading program, Roberts Reads. The book will be assigned reading in all sections of the First-Year Seminar and the Senior Seminar; these two required courses serve as bookends to each student’s academic experience.

Though the program is geared toward first-year and senior students, the whole college is encouraged to participate. Faculty will assign This I Believe in Communication, Education, English, and Liberal Arts courses as well. The Roberts Reads program aims to “challenge students to learn about diverse disciplines . . . to develop essential skills, such as writing, critical thinking; and communication; and to discover countless connections among varied academic disciplines, learning experiences, and faith perspectives.”

The 2010 Roberts Reads title was Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption; Jennifer Thompson-Cannino spoke about advocacy for judicial reform on campus last November. Dan Gediman, public radio veteran and co-editor of two collections of “This I Believe” essays, will visit Roberts Wesleyan to speak this fall.

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

Bucknell University’s Class of 2015 Reads This I Believe

New Bison heading to Bucknell University as members of the Class of 2015 are all reading This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women this summer!  The university sent copies of the book to first-year students this summer; students will discuss the book in small groups during Orientation in August.

Those discussions will be lead by Foundation Seminar faculty from all areas of the university.  Foundation Seminars are small, writing-intensive courses that focus on a wide variety of topics, mirroring the themes of Bucknell’s seven Residential Colleges: Arts, Environment, Global, Humanities, Languages & Cultures, Social Justice, and Society & Technology.

Whatever the topics, [Foundation Seminars] are designed to cultivate the attitudes, skills, and knowledge necessary for students to benefit maximally from a Bucknell University education and to negotiate the complexities of the modern world. The seminars stress active, independent and engaged learning, and development of skills students need in order to engage in intellectual endeavors at Bucknell and beyond.

Bucknell University Course Catalog: Foundation Seminar

Every first-year student enrolls in a Foundation Seminar; the discussion of This I Believe during orientation will be the first opportunity for them to meet with their classmates and instructor.  Emily Burnett, Class of 2015, shares her perspective on the Foundation Seminar at Bucknell’s student blog, A Year in the Life

The book will also be central to SLIF 99: Transition to College, a required student life workshop lead by a faculty member and a Peer Instructor.

Beyond the classroom, Bucknell invites all faculty, staff and students to submit an essay or a video about their own beliefs for a collective university archive online. Ten entries by members of the class of 2015 will be awarded $50 gift cards to the Bucknell University Bookstore.

Provost Mick Smyer isn’t eligible for that prize, but he did write an essay and recorded a video about his lifelong belief in the kindness of strangers:

This I Believe and This I Believe II, both collections of essays based on the NPR program of the same name, are two of Macmillan’s most Popular Picks for common reading.  Click here to see the other schools that have used the books.

This I Believe • Holt Paperbacks • 320 pages

Update: “This I Believe” Essay Contest Winners Create Video Essays

Bucknell has named the winners of the “This I Believe” essay contest! The top essays are published here: What Do You Believe? Winning Entries

In keeping with the multimedia traditions of the “This I Believe” radio program, several first-years recorded video essays. Hear the students read their essays here: Videos: This I Believe

New Hokies Read This I Believe II for the Virginia Tech Common Book Project

This I Believe II: More Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women is the 2011-2012 Common Book Project selection at Virginia Tech!  All first-year students will receive a copy of the book from the university.  These customized books feature the VT logo on the cover and a letter from the Vice President and Dean of Undergraduate Education bound in the front matter.

The annual Common Book Project is one of the first opportunities for new Hokies to engage in VT’s intellectual community.  Its primary objectives are to provide new students with a reading experience in common with their peers and to “provoke conversation among students and their professors.”

The Office of First Year Experiences and the Office of Residential Life collaborate to plan and implement the project. The FYE office has invited Dan Gediman to speak on campus this fall.  Faculty teaching first-year seminars, as well as upper level courses, are encouraged to assign the book in class.  In fact, VT’s Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research offers Common Book Grants of up to $2,000 to faculty who wish to enhance their instruction of the title in the classroom and beyond.

The Common Book Program also extends into residential life on campus.  Resident Advisors will plan and lead activities related to or inspired by This I Believe II to foster connections among new students and establish the dorms as communities for learning and discussion—extensions of VT classrooms.

This I Believe II and its preceding volume, This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women, have been adopted for common reading programs at more than 25 schools. The books were among the most popular common reading picks for the 2010-2011 academic year according to a report by the National Association of Scholars!  Click here to see other colleges and universities that have adopted these Popular Picks from Macmillan.

This I Believe II • Picador • 288 pages

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

This I Believe II is the 2010 Ranger Read at UW, Parkside

This I Believe II: More Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women is the Ranger Read at the University of Wisconsin, Parkside this fall.  First-year students, the newest class of UW, Parkside Rangers, received copies of the book when they visited campus for pre-orientation sessions in April, May, June, July, and August, leading up to the Ranger Welcome orientation just before classes started this month.

On the first day of Ranger Welcome, the new freshman class formed small groups and faculty and instructional academic staff facilitated discussions about the book’s content and its context, the students’ beliefs, their expectations and perspectives about success at UW, Parkside, and the university’s central values: academic excellence, community engagement, diversity, and inclusiveness.

Each student was asked to consider these topics in advance as he or she read the book over the summer, and then prepare a written or artistic response on a single letter-sized sheet of paper.  These responses provided a starting point for group discussion; in addition, students were invited to contribute their pages to a Class of 2014 exhibit called “This We Believe.”

“This I believe: I believe we, the faculty, academic staff, classified staff, students, administration, alumni, Foundation and Advisory board members, community leaders, and friends will begin this academic year focused on the spirit of success, the spirit of inspiring students to exceed beyond their potential, the spirit to engage in transformative and lifelong learning; I believe we will fully embrace ‘Learning’ in all that you do . . . I believe we will rise to the challenges and embrace opportunities for all to be successful at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.  This I believe!”

Debbie Ford, Chancellor, University of Wisconsin, Parkside, 2010 Convocation Address

The Ranger Read program was introduced in 2006 to jump-start the transition to the demands of the college-level learning environment, where successful students question, understand, and develop their own opinions about a text and where the shared reading experience helps develop relationships among faculty and peers.

Both volumes of “This I Believe” essays compiled by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman, host and curator and executive producer of the NPR program of the same name, are Popular Picks for common reading programs.  Click here to see other colleges and universities that have adopted This I Believe, This I Believe II, and other titles from Macmillan.

This I Believe II • Holt Paperbacks • 288 pages

This I Believe is the 2010 Common Reading Book at Tufts University

Tufts University has selected This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women, based on the NPR series of the same name and edited by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman, for the 2010 Common Reading Program.

This July, the university is sending a copy of the book to each incoming first-year and transfer student.  When they arrive on campus in the fall, they will engage in conversation with fellow students, Orientation Leaders, and faculty advisers.

In the “spirit of openness and free thought” embodied in Edward R. Murrow’s This I Believe project, Tufts is also holding an essay contest.  All first-year students are invited to submit their own This I Believe reflection essay; two winners selected by a faculty committee will receive an honor at the Class of 2014 Matriculation ceremony.

Students, faculty, and staff nominated more than 65 titles for this year’s program; This I Believe was selected for its potential to engage students and to build community through discussion, its reflection of Tufts’ core value of active citizenship, and because it lends itself to a variety of disciplinary perspectives, among other criteria.

“Personal beliefs are at the root of active citizenship . . . Our hope is that as our newest Jumbos reflect on their own beliefs and realize the disparity between the world as it is and the world as they believe it should be, they will also realize the potential they have to make an impact and to make lasting change.”

Rob Hollister, Dean, Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, Tufts University

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