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About the Community Read Program

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About the Community Read Program

The SCU Community Read program provides an opportunity for campus-wide participation in activities that create a common intellectual experience in curricular and co-curricular activities.

These programs are a critically important component of the first-year experience and are most frequently designed to provide new students an introduction to the intellectual expectations of college in formal and informal gatherings. While the Community Read is often part of a First-Year experience, we also encourage faculty to consider discussing/assigning the book in classes that are not aimed at first-year students as well.

Selection Criteria & Process

Priorities in selecting the community read book include relevance for our community, timeliness of topic/theme, and local connection; availability in a variety of forms (ebook, audiobook, paperback); offering a wide range of curricular and interdisciplinary connections; and affording the potential for a range of events and programs.

General parameters for book selection include:

  • Both nonfiction and fiction books are considered.
  • The book must include themes that are prominent in society (e.g. social justice, restorative justice, mental health, antiracism, assault, etc.) and especially relevant for our community and our students.
  • To avoid conflicts of interest, the book cannot be authored by SCU employees or affiliates.
  • Ideally, the book is by a living author and published in the last 2-3 years.
  • The book should be something incoming students likely did not read at the middle school or high school levels.

The Community Read selection committee solicited recommendations from stakeholder groups including faculty, staff, and students. From these recommendations, we selected six books that fit themes related to SCU's mission, student interest/concerns, and of relevance to current society. We then surveyed the same stakeholder group to rank the finalists.

Community Read Goals & Outcomes

Goals of the Community Read Program

  1. Foster student, faculty and staff identification and involvement as contributing members of an intellectual community.
  2. Encourage respectful dialogue and discussion on timely issues.
  3. Engage diverse perspectives and critical thinking skills.
  4. Deepen understanding of ethics, equity, and social justice issues.
  5. Build community across campus.

Community Read Program Outcomes

As a result of participation in the Community Read program events, students, staff, and faculty will:

  1. Perceive themselves as members of an intellectual community of SCU (1)
  2. Demonstrate curiosity about ideas and others’ lived experiences (1)
  3. Express interest in deepening their understanding of issues related to the Community Read book (1)
  4. Participate in conversations about the themes of the book (2)
  5. Deepen their understanding of how to engage in respectful dialogue (2)
  6. Foster empathy with others, including members of the SCU community (2,3)
  7. Recognize the value of being part of a diverse campus community (3)
  8. Draw connections between themes in the book and Santa Clara University values and priorities; global or local events; and one’s own life. (2, 3, 4)
  9. Identify issues of ethics, equity, and social justice inherent in the book, and suggest alternative courses of action (4)
  10. Experience a sense of belonging within the SCU community (5)
  11. Experience connections among faculty, staff, and students (5)
  12. Develop interest in further engagement with the SCU community (5)

Committee Members

Michelle Bezanson
Nicole Branch
Dennis Gordan
Katie Heintz
Maria Judnick
Suzie Kim
Denise Krane
Georgina Santiago
Maura Tarnoff
Christine Welter

Previous Years

2022-2023: Know my Name, A Memoir, by Chanel Miller