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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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

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!