The Common Reading Program, where the incoming class is assigned a shared book, is not a program specific to Colorado College; “The purpose of the Common Reading Program at Colorado College is to create a common intellectual experience for incoming undergraduate students, to introduce them to our core values as an academic community, and to teach them how to engage as as members of our community of scholars,” CC advertises on its website.
The program makes sure to rotate between the academic disciplines of natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and interdisciplinary studies, and it also must suit several criteria. The rubric for choosing a book asks if it is appropriate, if it engages the discipline in a meaningful way, if it values and raises commentary on diversity, equity, and inclusion, if the themes can be used and applied versatilely through courses and contexts, and finally if an enterprising capstone speaker could address the topic. Book selections can be proposed by anyone in the CC community and are voted on by the First Year Experience (FYE) subcommittee of the Curriculum Executive Committee. The committee is made up of elected representatives, usually three faculty members and one or two students every year.
For 2018-2019, the book selection will come from the interdisciplinary studies field. The committee is in the early stages of choosing a book. This past year, the book was “Citizen: An American Lyric” by Claudia Rankine, published in 2014. It came from the humanities field, and the poet Claudia Rankine came as the speaker. The book recounts racial aggressions—from minor slips of the tongue to intentional offensives still occurring in the 21st century.