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A steering committee began meeting in October 2011 to develop, plan, and implement the KU Common Book. Over the course of the fall semester, the committee created a process for the KU community to nominate books for the inaugural selection. Faculty, staff, and students were invited to nominate books between Dec. 13, 2011, and Jan. 31, 2012.

During the nomination period, 125 titles were submitted from more than 140 individuals; over 45 percent of the nominations came from students. The steering committee narrowed the titles to a group of finalists based on the book selection criteria and scored the nominations on a rubric to promote consistency across reviewers.

The selection committee read, discussed, and ranked the finalists, using the following criterion to select the first two KU Common Books:

Book Selection Criteria

  • Intellectually stimulating and promotes conversation
  • Lends itself to a variety of programming opportunities
  • Potential for classroom use within various departments and disciplines
  • Available as a paperback/e-book

The following committees made significant contributions to the development of the KU Common Book program:

Steering Committee Members

Sarah Crawford-Parker, Provost’s Office (co-chair)
Jennifer Church-Duran, KU Libraries (co-chair)
Maryemma Graham, English (co-chair)
Megan Baker, Orientation
Heather Eastlund, Provost’s Office
Jeff Hall, Communication Studies
Daniel Harmsen, KU Student
Pat Hawley, Psychology
Carol Holstead, Journalism
Kristine Latta, College Office of Graduate Affairs
Deborah Smith, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Terese Thonus, Writing Center
Kristen Watson, KU Student
Bryan Young, Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering

Selection Committee

Cody Charles, Multicultural Affairs
Heather Eastlund, Provost’s Office
Howard Graham, Athletics
Kelsey Murrell, KU Student
Mary Jo Reiff, English
Deborah Smith, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Kristen Watson, KU Student

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