Common Reading

FAQ for the Class of 2018

When should I read this book?

You should read this book before arriving on campus. There will be opportunities for you to discuss these readings with your peers, orientation team leaders, resident advisers and professors during Welcome Week. In fact, you will meet with your Perspectives class on Friday, Aug. 22 (8:30-9:45 a.m.) to discuss several selections from the book. This will be the first time you gather with your Perspectives classmates and professor. Additionally, many of the Perspectives classes will draw heavily on these readings throughout the semester. We look forward to hearing your thoughts about the readings this fall!

What should I do before arriving on campus?

To help us get to know you better, we are asking you to write a letter to your Perspectives instructor. In this letter you should introduce yourself to your professor. Some things it might be helpful to share include information about where you are from, your family, your interests, and circumstances or events that have influenced who you are and what is important to you personally or academically.

You should also include information about your own sense of humor, and how you use humor in your life. In doing so, we ask that you make connections between your ideas and experiences and at least three of the texts included in the common reading. There are several ways you might accomplish this task: 1) You can use the humor theories presented in the book in order to analyze your sense of humor and compare it to the humor used by authors in the book, 2) You can identify key passages from readings that sparked your interest, and discuss the significance or importance of the passages to you, 3) You can consider one of the questions posed in the introductions to the readings. For instance, you might discuss a time in your life when you used humor to address serious, emotionally charged topics. Or, you might discuss the role humor plays in your relationships with others. Any of these topics will make a suitable starting point for your letter.

Since you will be paraphrasing or quoting directly from the book, please include the author or authors’ last name(s) and the page number, in parentheses after cited material. (You do not need a works cited page or to follow any particular citation format). The tone of the letter should be that of a personal letter rather than an academic essay. Write in your own voice. This is our chance to get to know you better and to hear what you think about the University Theme, “Humor.” The letter should be typed, double‐spaced, and 2‐3 pages long. Your instructor will collect this assignment on the first day of Perspectives class.

Why does Susquehanna University have a common reading program?

The Common Reading Program was designed to provide an opportunity for the entire Susquehanna University community to engage in intellectual conversation about a shared text. We encourage you to think of this collection of readings about education as an introduction to your academic life at Susquehanna.

Why does Susquehanna University select an annual theme?

The concept of a year-long university theme presents opportunity for the Susquehanna community to develop a community dialogue around a central idea or question. With both curricular and co-curricular applications, a university theme supports Susquehanna's goals of developing a common experience among students, fostering a culture of intellectual engagement, creating a diverse community, and supporting communication, collaboration and creativity across campus. Your first introduction to the annual theme is the Common Reading.

What other opportunities will I have to explore the university theme?

Throughout the semester there will be many opportunities for you to explore ideas related to the university theme. The first will come early in the semester when an author from the common reading visits campus to give a public lecture designed especially for our first-year students. There will also be other events, both curricular and co-curricular, such as musical performances, theatre productions, movies and additional invited speakers.



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