What is the Freshman Common Reader?
The Freshman Common Reader is a book selected each year for incoming students. The book, along with support materials, is given free to students each summer during their orientation session. The book and related fall programs are part of the Freshman Connections program.
Why did Ball State begin this program for its new students?
The goal of Freshman Connections is to integrate new members of Ball State University into our learning community as quickly as possible. Learning is about ideas and how ideas are discussed. New students with shared ideas on the first day of classes are able to participate immediately in discussing ideas and forming viewpoints based on their reading, writing, and discussions.
Why is the visit by the author essential for this program?
Having the author of the Freshman Common Reader visit campus for both a large public lecture and small group discussions with new students helps to enforce the principle that ideas take life when they are discussed among readers. Often this is the first time new students have had the chance to meet with and directly question a book's author about the ideas they have read.
What are the Common Reader discussion groups?
On the Sunday before fall classes begin, new students are officially welcomed to campus at the Freshman Convocation, a traditional opening of the year featuring a procession of faculty and administrators in academic regalia, and welcoming addresses by the university president, student leaders, and guest speakers. After convocation, 100 community leaders, administrators, staff, faculty, and graduate students volunteer to discuss the Freshman Common Reader with small groups of 20-25 new students. These volunteers make clear their dedication to learning, as well as their determination to assist these new students with integrating into our academic community.
How else is the book used during the students' first year?
All students will complete the Common Writing Experience through the Ball State University InQsit online testing system. Many faculty members of University Core Curriculum (UCC) classes (and some non-UCC classes) take advantage of the fact that students come to class having read the book and integrate it into their own classes (the decision to do so lies solely in the hands of the faculty). A series of panels and lectures related to the book are also planned for each fall semester to highlight ideas related to the book itself. Students are sometimes required to attend these programs (which are open to the entire university community), though those decisions are again made solely by faculty members.
What books have been selected in the past?
Since its beginning in 1998, the following books have been selected as Common Readers:
What criteria are used to select a book as a Freshman Common Reader?
What selection process is used to determine each year's book?
Who served on the 2014 selection committee?
For 2014, the selection committee included the following members:
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