Are Summer Reading Assignments Indoctrinating Freshmen?

Often, incoming freshmen receive their first university assignment before the school year even begins: the summer reading. Many institutions see the summer reading assignment as an opportunity for new students to develop a sense of camaraderie. By reading the same book, the idea is that students will engage in thought-provoking conversations and have a shared … Continue reading “Are Summer Reading Assignments Indoctrinating Freshmen?”


Common Reading Programs: Political Fluff for Freshmen

Many colleges assign “common readings” to incoming students as an intellectual experience outside the classroom to set the bar for the academic rigor that professors expect of students. This tradition is most students’ first taste of the university. This well-meaning tradition, however, has become highly politicized and the quality of reading has significantly decreased over … Continue reading “Common Reading Programs: Political Fluff for Freshmen”


Are North Carolina Universities Biased? Look at What Students Are Reading

North Carolina just added a new layer of meaning to its motto, First in Flight. This time the state is the first in the nation to get campus free speech off the runway.   The North Carolina Campus Free Speech Act lofts the idea that college students and invited speakers have a right to express … Continue reading “Are North Carolina Universities Biased? Look at What Students Are Reading”


Summer Reading Questions and What They Reveal About Faculty

After three decades in higher education as student and teacher, this year I begin a new role, as parent. My eldest daughter will attend a small liberal arts college in Iowa. Like many schools, her college asks incoming freshmen to read a common summer reading. Its choice for the incoming students this year is Claude … Continue reading “Summer Reading Questions and What They Reveal About Faculty”