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Nominations sought for next KU Common Book

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

KU Common Book nominations are being acceptedLAWRENCE — The Office of First-Year Experience at the University of Kansas is seeking nominations for the KU Common Book for the 2019-2020 academic year.

The KU Common Book is an opportunity for shared intellectual experiences that invite analysis, foster critical thinking and reflect the type of reasoned discourse expected at a university.

Anyone with a KU email address can nominate a book for consideration by the KU Common Book committee. The nomination period ends Nov. 25.

“The KU Common Book continues to play an important role in helping students become part of a community dedicated to innovative learning,” said DeAngela Burns-Wallace, vice provost for undergraduate studies. “In particular, KU Common Book programming connects new students to individuals, spaces and programs that can contribute to their success at KU.”

Although the KU Common Book program focuses on providing an introductory experience for first-year and transfer students, anyone at the university can take part in the programming. Many faculty and staff will incorporate aspects of the book in their classes and programs.

“The Communication Studies’ basic course is honored to participate in KU’s Common Book program,” said Meggie Mapes, basic course director in the Department of Communication Studies. “In our public speaking classes, we train students to become civically engaged community members, and KU Common Book provides a unique opportunity for students to participate in sustained campus dialogues on topics and content that are culturally timely and relevant.”

The selection committee — which includes students, faculty and staff — will look for nominations that address the program’s goals of building community among faculty, students and staff; creating a shared academic experience for first-year students; and encouraging intellectual engagement through reading and discussion. Nominated books should also meet these criteria:

  • Intellectually stimulating and promotes conversation
  • Lends itself to a variety of programming opportunities
  • Potential for classroom use within various departments and disciplines
  • Available as a paperback or e-book.

Nominators are expected to be familiar with the work and do a little homework before submitting their suggestion. They will be asked to provide a brief synopsis and also explain how the selection would be a good fit for first-year students at KU.

There have been seven KU Common Books to date, and they include award-winning and critically acclaimed books such as “The Worst Hard Time” by Timothy Egan, “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and “Citizen: An American Lyric” by Claudia Rankine. The Office of First-Year Experience plans a variety of events and programming based on themes presented in the book. In many cases, the office has been able to bring the author to Lawrence for a campuswide presentation and discussion. 

Activities related to the KU Common Book take place throughout the academic year. Four additional events related to themes presented in the 2018-2019 selection — “Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work” by Edwidge Danticat — are scheduled between November and February.