First-year reading program canceled temporarily

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First-year reading program canceled temporarily

Photo by Matt Kulling / matthew.kulling@marquette.edu

Photo by Matt Kulling / matthew.kulling@marquette.edu

Photo by Matt Kulling / matthew.kulling@marquette.edu

Photo by Matt Kulling / matthew.kulling@marquette.edu

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The first-year reading program is temporarily discontinued until further notice due to lack of interest from students and faculty, according to a university news brief.

The Office of the Provost noticed declining interest in the program and, during the discontinuation, will consider other options, possible program improvements and the program’s benefits.

The first-year reading program brought faculty and students together outside of the classroom by requiring freshmen to read a book over the summer, with a different book each year. The book would be discussed during freshman Orientation Week and the book’s author would visit campus to give a speech during freshman convocation.

The Orientation Week time will instead be used to have peer-led discussions on topics such as academic integrity, operating D2L effectively and efficiently, locating people as good academic and non-academic resources and operating the Marquette email system.

“Moving forward, the plan is to look at students’ entire first-year experience and give some thought to how various activities might be more fully integrated or connected to enhance the experience,” said Gary Meyer, vice provost for undergraduate programs and teaching, in an email. “Such discussions will consider whether to include a program like the first-year reading program.”

“I liked (the program),” said Jessie Sandoval, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences. “I actually read the book and knew what was going on, which allowed me to relate and connect to it. Since there wasn’t a way to asses or grade it, people were able to complete it without reading, which might have made it less enjoyable. It wanted to accomplish something good, but the interest just wasn’t there.”

Other students, though, were critical of the program.

“I thought it was a complete waste of time,” said Olivier Van Hauwermeiren, a freshman in the College of Business Administration. “I wasn’t sure what the university was trying to accomplish by having us do (it). The discussion groups were awkward and forced. The only thing I liked was that “(March: Book One)” was a comic. I honestly didn’t even remember it until you mentioned it.”

“I’m not sure what the goal of it was,” said Jordan Plate, a freshman in the College of Business Administration. “It didn’t have a lot impact on me, honestly.”

This past summer’s first-year reading book was “March: Book One” by Congressman John Lewis, 2013’s book was “One Amazing Thing” by Chitra Divakaruni, 2012’s book was “Half a Life” by Darin Strauss and 2011’s book was “The Other Wes Moore” by Wes Moore.

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