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Selection & Planning

Selection Process

Nominations are accepted on a rolling basis. Email your suggestion to Shepherd or comment on our social media to recommend a book for consideration.  Nominations are taken year-round and can be submitted by anyone wishing to recommend a book by emailing author and title to ( _). Typically, around 50 suggestions are received, all of which are analyzed based on criteria of appeal, cost, length and availability. These books are procured with assistance from the Scarborough Library and read by members of the Common Reading Selection Committee over Winter Break. In January, the committee meets again to discuss and reanalyze the list, narrowing the number down to five semi-final selections. Throughout the month of February, an open vote is held via the Shepherd University homepage and Common Reading website; the book with the highest number of votes at the end of the voting period is selected as the next Common Reading. 

Current Selection Committee Members include:

Shepherd Members: Sylvia Shurbutt, Heidi Hanrahan, Brian Santana, Laura Robertson, LeAnn Johnson, Sally Brasher, Austin Slater, Rhonda Donaldson, Diana Brubaker, Eileen Espinosa, Beth Tevault, Josh Beck, Isabella Sager, Kristen Marino, Lee Ambrose, Sadie Shorr-Parks, Tara Carlisle, Todd Cimino-Johnson, Valerie Stevens, and Alexandra Alward.

Community Members: Carolyn Rodis, Nancy Stewart, Becky Phipps, Michelle Ricketts, Susan Kern, Jennifer Gerholdt, Mary Watters, Christine Dorsey, Kathy Buchanan, Jim Bauman, and Theresa Trainor.

Planning Process

In April, once the winning book is announced, copies of the book are purchased and given out to faculty and staff who are considering using the book in any course or student-centered programming. The Planning Committee meets to begin brainstorming ideas for next year’s programs. Members work together and work with campus and community partners to shape events and highlight the common reading throughout the year through a diverse offering of related activities.

Current Planning Committee Members include:

Shepherd Members: Amy DeWitt, Heidi Hanrahan, Brian Santana, LeAnn Johnson, Sadie Shorr-Parks, Valerie Stevens, Annie Lewin, Jacqui Cole, Ben Bankhurst, Julia Sandy, Jim Broomall, Lee Ambrose, John Steffen, Laura Clayton, Rachael Meads, Tauna Cole, Beth Tevault, Sara Reynolds, and Samantha Fridley.

Community Members: Don Pathoff, Jennifer Gerholdt, Kendra Goldsborough, Sheila Vertino, Christine Dorsey, and Paul Kradel.

Community Partners:  Speak Story Series, Shepherdstown Film Society, Four Seasons Bookstore