The University of Louisville Office of First Year Initiatives has announced that the next book in common will be ‘This I Believe.’ The book is a collection of short, personal essays written by both the famous and the everyday citizen. Each of the essays reflects the writer’s core values and beliefs that guide their daily lives. The book is also part of an international project that aims to engage in people in writing, sharing, and discussing their own personal belief statements.
According to thisibelieve.org, the program’s executive producer Dan Gediman states, “The goal is not to persuade Americans to agree on the same beliefs. Rather, the hope is to encourage people to begin the much more difficult task of developing respect for beliefs different from their own.” It is clear that this goal will work to advance U of L’s own commitment to diversity on campus.
The Office of First Year Initiatives has stated that “Book-In-Common is one of the pillar programs through which FYI engages and supports our new students, even as we extend the conversation to include our larger campus and local communities.” Previous Book In Common events have engaged U of L students in a variety of ways such as out-of-class group discussions, community service projects, essay contests, film screenings, and faculty lectures and panels.
The goals for these books in common events are to foster higher retention rates and better prepare students for their college experience. The book-in-common goals are summarized by the acronym CAPS. C is for civic, engaging students in the university community. A is for academic, exercising student’s critical thinking skills. P is for personal, helping student’s to learn more about themselves and others as they explore diverse views. And S is for social, allowing students to connect to their peers and university faculty through the book in common experience.
University of Louisville Ideas to Action (i2a) director Patty Payette states, “Book-in-common provides a springboard for connecting communities across our diverse campus. Students, faculty, and staff can participate in a shared conversation around a common text that can guide us to consider deeply and think critically about the world around us.”
The book in common aims to combine the i2a framework with the university’s Paul-Elder critical thinking model and utilize both in students’ in and out of class experiences. It also supports community engagements initiatives, as well as engagement in both teaching and learning. It also demonstrates participation in President Ramsey’s Vision for Diversity and unit-specific diversity plans.
The book in common is selected from a range of criteria each year. These criterion include the books relatedness to students, its readability, its promotion of critical thinking, its integration across disciplines, its ability to fit a program, the level of community engagement promoted by the text, the quality of the text, and feasibility of the program. Past Book in Common events, such as ‘The Other Wes Moore’ by author Wes Moore, have also hosted the author of the book for an on-campus discussion.
Photo courtesy of atlantic.org