About the program


Students discussing Common Book in a circle

Purpose

The KU Common Book program is a campus-wide initiative to engage students, faculty, and staff across the university. A new book is selected each year that fosters critical thinking, and generates opportunities for shared experiences and conversation about topics and issues of significance in today’s world. The program has three goals:

  • Build community among students, faculty, and staff
  • Encourage intellectual engagement through reading, discussion, curriculum, and events
  • Create a shared conversation about topics and issues of significance in today’s world

The program is coordinated by the KU Libraries, the Hall Center for the Humanities, and the Division of Academic Success.

Program History

The KU Common Book program began in the fall of 2012. From 2012 to 2019, the program was focused on first-year student engagement and administered by the Office of First-Year Experience.  The program went on hiatus in 2020 and returned in the fall of 2021 with an expanded purpose to engage all levels of students at KU. This expanded engagement included an expanded program coordination that includes the KU Libraries, the Hall Center for the Humanities, and the Division of Academic Success. The program’s success depends on many collaborative partners across campus.

The KU Common Book steering committee is charged with oversight of the program including the nomination and selection processes, and communicating information about the program to the campus community. The steering committee is responsible for designing and implementing a coherent, integrated program that fosters awareness of and engagement with the book. The steering committee will also oversee the preparation and dissemination of materials for educators to integrate into their courses.

2022-23 steering committee members:

Jill Becker, Co-Chair (Libraries)
Richard Godbeer, Co-Chair (Hall Center for the Humanities and Department of History)
Chelsea Lantz-Cashman (Academic Programs and Experiential Learning)
Amy Leyerzapf (CTE Fellow and Institute for Leadership Studies)
Fernanda Lopez (Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging)
Kate Meyer (Spencer Museum of Art)
Jennifer Ng (Faculty Development)
Mary Jo Reiff (Department of English)
Emily Ryan (The Commons)
TBD
TBD