Common Reading Program Implemented for Freshmen
Providence, R.I.--Providence College will launch a Freshman Common Reading Program (FCRP) this summer that will impact the entire Class of 2015 and new transfers.
All incoming students will be asked to read Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close before classes resume in the fall.
The book--a novel revolving around a precocious 9-year-old whose father died in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center--will be given to students at their Advising Day sessions beginning at the end of June. It will be mailed to students who can't attend.
When the students reconvene for the second part of New Student Orientation (NSO) in early September, they will discuss the text in group sessions with other new students and faculty members. Further online discussion and programming will be held throughout the fall semester.
The objectives of the FCRP include establishing an intellectually stimulating environment for new students and creating a heightened academic focus to NSO.
In addition, the program will provide opportunities for an enhanced Academic Convocation, which includes devising meaningful ways for the entire College community to participate in the program.
The concept of a common question or topic to be explored by incoming freshmen, transfer students, and perhaps the entire campus community was recommended by the original Core Curriculum Review Committee (CCRC) in 2007.
The idea was further developed by the College's One Campus/One Question Committee. The committee was charged with determining the feasibility of instituting a common reading program, exploring how the program could be linked to NSO and a revamped Academic Convocation, and looking for ways to incorporate how the issues and questions raised in the reading may be extended to lectures and courses.
Once the parameters were set and the One Campus/One Question Committee's proposal was approved by College President Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P. '80 and Dr. Hugh F. Lena, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, the committee forwarded its findings to PC's Implementation and Book Recommendation Committees.
The Implementation Committee, which consists of nine faculty and staff members and two students, is responsible for ensuring the rollout of the program and for its overall coordination--currently and in the future.
The Book Recommendation Committee--consisting of seven faculty and staff members and two students--is responsible for considering texts that expand student perspectives and that include multiple perspectives. The texts also must be able to be read and reviewed from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, relevant to contemporary issues, and must align with the College's mission.
The School of Professional Studies (SPS) launched a pilot common reading program for the Class of 2014 in the SPS last summer, and this served as a springboard for the FCRP. The project was supported through a mini-grant administered by the College's three-year, $250,000 grant from the Davis Educational Foundation, Fostering a Culture of Student Engagement.