KSBN helps first year students get on the same page

The cuirous case of the dog in the night-time novel cover.

As Kansas State University’s book network, the Kansas State Book Network uses the motto “a campus on the same page” — fitting for a program designed to create a common experience from first year students on campus.

Each year, K-State First and KSBN work together to evaluate, select and distribute a campus-wide book for first year students. This program was created with a dual purpose; to aid students in transitioning into college and to give incoming students an avenue to interact with other students.

The book selection committee is composed of approximately 50 faculty, staff and students who volunteer their time to read and evaluate nominated books. Tara Coleman, KSBN chair, said she accepts every student who is interested in being a committee member, a position which includes the process of determining whether a book provides the opportunity for students to grow academically and socially.

Each year, this committee chooses an overall theme for the book selection. Themes are chosen based on the current campus atmosphere and interests.

Currently, the committee is planning for the 2018-19 academic year common book which will fall under the theme of the “American Dream.”

“It’s a classic theme for the American life,” said Gregory Eiselein, Director of K-State First.

Books are nominated in the spring, and anyone on campus can nominate a book by filling out KSBN’s online form. The nomination form addresses key selection points such as relationship to theme, goals for student learning and readability.

From the nominated list, Coleman guides committee members through an evaluation process. The final three books are announced in the fall semester, and the campus community provides feedback. The committee analyzes the feedback and presents their final selection during the spring semester. The book is then distributed to all first year students during orientation.

Books and teaching guides are provided to faculty members along with tips for using the book in classroom discussions.

“I want the book to be used in the classroom, residence halls and in student’s social lives,” Coleman said.

Campus activities are planned throughout the year that are built around aspects of the book. If possible, an author presentation is planned or other supporting lectures are organized. Three events connected to this year’s book, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time” by Mark Haddon, are scheduled for the fall semesters.

On Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. Natalia Rojkovskaia, professor of mathematics, will present “Understanding Christopher’s Math Problems” in the Hemisphere Room at Hale Library. On Oct. 12 at 8:30 p.m., McCain Auditorium will host “#GetCurious: Life. the Universe, and Everything.” The final event will occur on Nov. 2 at the Student Union. This event is titled “Exceptional Students in Higher Education.”