First Year Common Reading Experience


2014 Common Reading Experience

Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian will be UW-Milwaukee’s 2014 Common Reading Experience text. Entering first-year students will receive the book at New Student Orientation this summer. Discussions with faculty members will be held during Fall Welcome August 27-31, 2014.

In support of the Common Reading Experience, Sherman Alexie will be on campus to give a lecture on Tuesday, September 23, 2014 at 7 p.m. in the UWM Union (Wisconsin Room).  More details about the Common Reading Experience and complimentary events can be found on the Student Success Center website.

Call for Discussion Facilitators

CIPD and the Student Success Center will be recruiting facilitators to help lead the discussion sections during the Fall Welcome.  If you are interested in facilitating a section or sections this year, you may indicate your interest and preferences by completing the following form:

Link to: Discussion Facilitator Sign-Up Form

All facilitators will receive a copy of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, as well as the following valuable resources: Indian Nations of Wisconsin: Histories of Endurance and Renewal, by UW-Madison's Patty Loew, and Discussion as a Way of Teaching by Stephen D. Brookfield and Stephen Preskill.

Facilitator Workshops

CIPD is hosting workshops to prepare volunteers for the task of leading the discussions. Interested persons may register for any of the following three sessions.

  • Thursday, July 31st, 2014, 1-3pm
  • Thursday, August 21st, 2014, 1-3pm
  • Tuesday, August 26th, 2013, 1-3pm

Link to: Facilitator Workshops Sign-Up Form


A Commitment to Common Experience

The Common Reading Experience is a joint project sponsored by the Student Success Center and CIPD. Its aim is to spark conversation about important social and moral issues; to connect first-year students with faculty and staff members from disciplines around the university; to introduce students to the nature of university work and discussion. By asking an incoming class of freshmen to read the same book, students have a rare opportunity to share how it affected them and understand how and why someone else may have read it differently. More details about the Common Reading Experience and this year's selection can be found on the Student Success Center website.

The CIPD Director serves on the CRE Steering Committee and the Book Selection Committee. CIPD organizes the selection of the faculty and staff volunteer discussion leaders and provides professional development for them.

Discussion as a community-building lives at the heart of the common reading experience. In crafting these values, we draw on Discussion as a Way of Teaching by Stephen D. Brookfield and Stephen Preskill:

"Democracy and discussion imply a process of giving and taking, speaking and listening, describing and witnessing—all of which help expand horizons and foster mutual understanding. Discussion is one of the best ways to nurture growth because it is premised on the idea that only through collaboration and cooperation with others can we be exposed to new points of view. This exposure increases our understanding and renews our motivation to continue learning. In the process, our democratic instincts are confirmed: by giving the floor to as many different participants as possible, a collective wisdom emerges that would have been impossible for any of the participants to achieve on their own."