Common Readings are prevalent at liberal arts colleges and universities and have been around for at least twenty years. The purpose of a Common Reading is “to provide a common academic experience for all first-year students and to strengthen the academic atmosphere of the institution from the first day the student arrives on campus.” *(Patterson, 2002, p. 8). There are other important related reasons, such as connecting students to their peers and instructors and creating a unifying force in which all incoming students share from the very start of their educational journey.
Our goals for the Shepherd University Common Reading Program are to:
- Provide a shared intellectual experience
- Create a sense of community
- Encourage reading
- Promote critical engagement of ideas
- Set academic expectations
- Create dialog between students, faculty, staff and the community
- Promote interaction between Shepherd University and the community
- Introduce students to community resources
*Patterson, L. (2002). New ideas in first-year reading programs from around the country. First-Year Experience Newsletter (FYE), 143, 8-9.