Virginia Commonwealth University

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is VCU’s Common Book Program?

VCU’s Common Book Program supports and stimulates the academic and intellectual culture of VCU through a common reading experience. When incoming students attend orientation, they are given their own copies of the book and asked to read it before they return to campus in August. During Welcome Week, these students exchange ideas on the book through small-group discussions led by a faculty member, university administrator, or upper-level student. Following Welcome Week, the program broadens to involve the entire University community in conversations, events, and other learning opportunities for the entire academic year.

How was this year’s book selected?

A short list of four finalists was prepared from nominations submitted by the General Education Task Force. The Common Book selection committee discussed those four books and recommended two to the Provost, who made the final selection.

Why did you choose the book that you did?

This year. the Common Book Program is expanding its reach to include the entire University in a dialogue around a book aligned with our Quality Enhancement Plan, Learning That Matters: Building A Culture Of Generalizable Education.

Am I required to read this book?

New students are expected to read the book prior to their return to campus in the fall. Copies of the book will be distributed to all new students attending Orientation.

I understand that the books are being distributed at Orientation, but what if I don’t attend Orientation?

All new students are expected to attend Orientation and read the book prior to their arrival on campus. If you are unable to attend Orientation, you should purchase the book and be prepared to discuss it upon your arrival on campus.

Will I be tested on the book?

You will not be tested on the book or your knowledge of its contents. However, new students will be expected to participate in a book discussion during Welcome Week. In addition, a number of first-year classes will be using this book as a point of discussion during the academic year. Finally, the Common Book will be a hub for conversations, events, and other learning opportunities across the entire university community throughout the year.