Where We Began

Common Reading at UO began in 2009 as an initiative of the Clark Honors College. In 2014, it expanded to include all first-year students. Common Reading is now coordinated by the Division of Undergraduate Studies, with support from the Office of the President, the Division of Student Life, and the Division of Equity and Inclusion.

Although the book changes each year, Common Reading is always about building community, enriching curriculum, and engaging research through the shared reading of an important book.

How the Book is Chosen

Each year, the Common reading program solicits suggestions from the campus and area community as we begin our search to find the next year’s reading selection. From there, a committee of campus partners, faculty, and program administrators work to narrow the choices to create a shortlist of finalists. Some years, the choice for the book from that group has been a unanimous decision. In other years, we seek the input from our campus community and the public to help decide what book will be at the center of the next year’s conversation.

Have a suggestion? Submit your nomination by clicking the link below! Each nomination is considered for how well it meets each of the following criteria:

  • Appeal to both faculty and first-year students (i.e., have a strong narrative or narrative voice that pulls readers in and builds empathy)
  • Focus on a subject of timely, topical relevance
  • Provide a strong intellectual hook, offering multiple disciplinary and interdisciplinary jumping-off points for discussion and teaching, inquiry and research
  • Are accessible (in print, of readable length, etc.)
  • Fits the annually selected theme
    • The theme for 2018-2019 is Transborder/Transnational.
      • This theme considers problems, issues & concerns that transcend national borders or have a global political, health, economic, or other impact.
      • This theme might consider questions ranging from “What does it mean to be a citizen  in the contemporary changing landscape of identity, nationhood, and cultural exchange?” or “How do we recover from or adapt to changing circumstances?”
      • This selected theme is a rich opportunity for programming, curricular enhancement, research and inquiry, community building throughout campus, and nominations of books by prominent faculty & authors to highlight their research on these themes.
      • This theme includes areas of interest, research, writing & creative practices such as global health; migration, immigration, and belonging; leadership; environment; public policy and disciplines related to the humanities; political science; history; philosophy; ethnic studies; education; business; law; economics; environmental studies; psychology; sociology; art and design; political science, among many others.

What do you recommend as an important book on this theme that the entire University of Oregon should engage in reading?  Offer your suggestion here:

Want a vote in the final choice? Be on the lookout for any calls to participate we create! Any requests for votes will be posted on our main page, as well as on our social media pages.

2018-19 Common Reading Selection Committee

Amelia Armstrong, Student, Pre-International Studies; FIG Assistant

Cora Bennet, Director, Student Orientation Programs

Andre Djiffack, Associate Professor, Romance Languages

Amy Hughes Giard, Director, First-Year Interest Groups

Carolina Hernandez, Social Science Librarian, UO Libraries

Sarah Hovet, Student, English, SOJC; CHC Student Association Common Reading Coordinator

Abigail Leeder, Director Experiential Education and Prevention Initiatives, Women’s Center, Dean of Students

Rebecca Lindner, Assistant Dean & Instructor, Clark Honors College

Carlos Lucas, Student, Political Science, FIG Assistant

Brandon Parry, FIG Advisor, First Year Interest Groups

Doug Sam, Student, Environmental Studies, CHC Student Association President

Tze-Yin Teo, Assistant Professor, Comparative Literature

Avinnash Tiwari, Instructor, English, Composition

Julie Voelker-Morris, Common Reading Faculty Fellow; Senior Instructor, PPPM

Robert Voelker-Morris, Faculty Consultant, Teaching Engagement Program


Maeve Anderson, Administrative Manager, Undergraduate Studies

Dana Glasscock, Office Assistant, Undergraduate Studies

Who Gets the Book

Each incoming first-year student receives a copy of the common reading during their IntroDUCKtion session during the summer or before the start of Fall term. Unfortunately, we cannot provide a book to every student on campus. Please check The Duck Store or other retailers to obtain a copy, or check one out for free from the UO Library!

Faculty, campus partners, and other UO Staff can request a copy of the book in order to prepare curriculum/course content, programming, resources, or involvement with students who will be reading the book. We ask that you be mindful of our limited reserves of books–but if we can help, we will!

Community members and others who are interested in the book may purchase one through various retailers or borrow one from their local library.

Who Teaches or Works with the Book

Lots of people! Common reading has a community of campus partners including the FIG Program, Residence Life, the Clark Honors College, and academic departments across campus to name a few.

Are you a faculty or staff member  who’s considering teaching or working with the book? Does your office frequently have the book or its content come up in your work with students? Please let us know! We work to help connect those who are working with the book to related resources, events, and opportunities, as well as connecting students to various ways they can participate. To request a review copy of the book, simply use the form linked below.