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Summer Reading Archive

Summer Reading 2019

The summer reading text for the class of 2023 is Darnell Moore’s No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America. The book was chosen as part of next year’s Cultural and Intellectual Community Council [CICC] intellectual theme, “#ClimateMatters: Listening, Reflecting, and Acting”. Moore will be the featured speaker on Wednesday, September 4, 2019 at noon in Kendall Hall as part of an all campus teach-in — Community Learning Day: Going beyond the Summer Read.

A key part of the mission at TCNJ is inclusiveness and “#ClimateMatters: Listening, Reflecting, and Acting” is intended to promote campus-wide discussions that focus on the lived environment on campus. It is about our local community, composed of highly talented students, faculty, staff and alumni. We all come from different backgrounds and bring our own unique stories. In this climate we are free to grow, challenge ideas and develop professional identities. It is in this climate where we can listen to different perspectives and engage in conversations that urge us to expand our perspectives on the world. It is in this climate where we can reflect on our past experiences and question our own biases. And, it is in this climate where we can take action when we are confronted with injustice. We invite the campus community to organize and participate in dynamic and meaningful programming under this unifying concept.

In selecting Darnell Moore’s No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black & Free in America as the summer reading text for the graduating class of 2023, CICC recognizes that each of our incoming students arrives with a worldview influenced by their individual lived experiences. Our students’ identities are unique and varied, yet similar in that they all likely come with some degree of privilege and pain. We hope that this shared reading will contribute to understanding, compassion, and love for one another as the class of 2023 begins this journey together. We expect students and facilitators will have meaningful conversations about the experiences of how personal history impacts our current reality. We believe these conversations will also highlight another of TCNJ’s core values: “Inclusiveness.”

The Summer Reading Program discussions will take place on the afternoon of Monday, August 26, 2019. Below are instructions for how to respond to the book. All students should be prepared to discuss your reactions to the text at your assigned discussion time.

Essay Instructions

STEP 1: Read and Respond

In order to prepare for a faculty or staff led discussion with your peers, choose one of the following prompts for your response. You may respond in one of several ways. A traditional essay of approximately 500 words is acceptable. You may also choose an alternate format such as a visual art project, photo essay, poetry, a music playlist, or a video response. If you choose an alternate format, your response must be accompanied with a brief explanation of the connection to the book and chosen prompt.

Summer Reading Essay Prompts:

  1. Much of Moore’s story is influenced by looking into his past. This includes exploring the lives of his parents. Many of us only see our parents or caregivers from our own egocentric perspective — they are there for us. What do you know about the people who raised you beyond the task of raising you. What do they love? How do they see themselves? What were their hopes and dreams when they were your age? If you don’t know — ask.
  2. What did you read in your K-12 schooling experience that reflected how you see yourself or who you hoped to be? Discuss what you read and how it influenced or had an impact on you.
  3. Masculinity is often defined for us by society and the people close to us. Throughout Darnell Moore’s life he had many experiences where he had to act more “masculine” to feel acceptance within his relationships, neighborhood, college, and family. How does Darnell Moore’s memoir help us improve our understanding of masculinity in modern society?

TIP: When quoting text, please add the page number in parenthesis.

STEP 2: Post your response

Your response must be posted to the SRP-099 discussion board in the college’s course management system, Canvas, after July 10, 2019 and no later than August 16, 2019.

Optional: In addition to posting your written response, you are encouraged to use FlipGrid to post a short (less than 2 minute) video of your response to the book. The video is meant to add your voice to your response and be a fun way to interact with your classmates. If your formal response is a video, use FlipGrid to talk about how your idea came to be similar to a movie director’s commentary or an album’s track commentary.

STEP 3: Respond to others

Once you have posted your response (and optional FlipGrid video), please read or view at least three entries from other students and share your thoughts with them. Your response to your colleagues should be of substance. Ideas include (but are not limited to); 1) sharing how your opinions complemented or contradicted; 2) something that this response made you think differently about; 3) connections you may have made with this person’s response. You can respond to both formal entries and FlipGrid videos.


Workshops

September 4th, 2019

10:00am

    1. Queer Images in Film – Education 113
    1. Stress and Well-Being – Education 109
    1. Black Lives Matter – Guiding Principles of the Movement – Education 204

3:00pm

    1. Trauma and Grief – Education 204
    1. Identity and Transitions to College – Education 206
    1. “LGBTQ+ in K-12 Literature” – Education 113

 

Panel Discussion

Privilege in Professional Settings

September 4th, 2019

Time: 4:00pm – 5:30pm
Location: Spiritual Center


Summer Reading 2018

The 2018 Summer Reading text for the Class of 2022 is Jennine Capó Crucet’s Make Your Home Among Strangers. The book is in line with next year’s Cultural and Intellectual Community Council (CICC) intellectual theme, “Everything is New: Discovery, Transition, and Transformation.” Capó Crucet will be the featured speaker on Community Learning Day, Wednesday, September 26, 2018, noon in Kendall Hall.

At this moment of institutional transition, “Everything is New” is intended to promote campus-wide discussions that speak to TCNJ’s primary core value: “Excellence.” Our community, composed of highly talented students, faculty, and staff, challenges everyone to reach their potential through discovery, experimentation, and innovation. This theme invites us to examine moments of discovery, transition, and transformation in the environment, in organisms, in people, in disciplines, and in higher education. We anticipate the theme will allow the campus to organize rich and varied programming under one unifying concept.

In selecting Jennine Capó Crucet’s Make Your Home Among Strangers as the summer reading text for the graduating class of 2022, CICC recognizes the transition that incoming students face as they meet new people, make new friends, encounter new ideas, and enlarge their intellectual landscape. Students must balance multiple worlds and shape new identities that often challenge their sense of home. We expect students and facilitators will have meaningful conversations around the experiences of first-generation college students and newcomers to the United States. We believe these conversations will also highlight another of TCNJ’s core values: “Inclusiveness.”

The SRP discussions will take place on the afternoon of Monday, August 27th.

Jennine Capó Cruce will speak on Wednesday, September 26, 2018 at noon in Kendall Hall, Main Auditorium.

Purchase Make Your Home Among Strangers from the Bookstore

 


Essay Instructions

In order to prepare for a faculty or staff led discussion with your peers, choose one of the following questions and respond in approximately 500 word post to the SRP-099 discussion board in the college’s course management system, Canvas, after July 10th. Your short essays should show evidence of your thorough grasp of the book, but you should not quote at length. When quoting text, include the page number in parenthesis. You must post these responses by Wednesday, August 15. In addition, respond to three other students’ essays in a substantive way (at least 100 words in each response) prior to your discussion, August 27. Substantive responses may include 1) additional examples that address the same topics that the students discuss; 2) reflections that link your personal experience to the text; or 3) questions that you may have regarding students’ essays.

Summer Reading Essay Prompts:

1) In her book, Make your Home Among Strangers, Jennine Capó Crucet discusses the experience of a first generation college student from the point of view of the protagonist Lizet. How do Lizet’s relationships contribute to her college experience and her sense that “everything is new”? What does the novel suggest about how class, privilege, stereotypes, opportunities, insecurities, challenges, and a new environment all help Lizet discover and define herself? Discuss specific examples from Crucet’s book that best support your assertions. Feel free to contemplate and address your own concerns as you move into your first year of college.

2) Even though this is a work of fiction, Capó Crucet discusses events surrounding the immigration case of Elian Gonzalez in South Florida, although she calls the boy Ariel Hernandez. How does Capó Crucet draw parallels between Ariel’s experience, which becomes a public spectacle, and Lizet’s private circumstances? Have you found yourself in a comparable position and been able to draw connections between your own personal experience and events and issues in the larger culture? Discuss specific examples from the book as you make your case.

Purchase Make Your Home Among Strangers from the Bookstore

If you have questions, please contact Dr. Felicia Steele, Summer Reading Program Faculty Fellow, srp@tcnj.edu.


Summer Reading 2017

The Cultural and Intellectual Community Program Council (CICPC) selects the annual intellectual theme, funds related programming during the academic year, and selects the summer reading book, which begins our year-long exploration of the intellectual theme. The theme for CICPC sponsored programs in 2018 is “Who We Are”. Faculty, staff, and students from around the college will present speakers, film series, performances, and other events related to the theme. This theme prompts us to ask about the ideas and experiences that inform how we—as individuals, as TCNJ, as members of local, regional, national, and global communities—understand ourselves, our identities, and how we relate with and understand each other’s experiences and identities.

Part of broader TCNJ discussions, including Sustained Dialogues, the President’s Commission on Social Justice, and past CICPC themes, “Who We Are” is intended to promote campus-wide discussions about the personal, cultural, and transformative journeys of all members of the TCNJ community, both as individuals and the groups with which they identify. This theme reflects one of the core values of TCNJ: self-reflection. By sharing personal stories with each other, we can empathize with the challenges each of us faces singularly and collectively in our ever-changing world. We have much to learn from each other as we continue to engage in ongoing difficult conversations about complex issues across campus. Through these conversations, we have an opportunity to explore and appreciate how each of us can succeed, how each of us can grow through successes and failures, how each of us can change our beliefs and commitments, and how our circumstances shape our identifies and life.

The 2017 summer reading selection for the class of 2021, No Apparent Distress by Dr. Rachel Pearson, highlights and illustrates these ideas at the start of the academic year. Dr. Pearson, a graduate of the MD/PhD program in medical humanities at the University of Texas at Austin, reflects on her experience in medical school and her training as a physician in community health clinics. Her memoir considers the intersections of class, gender, sexual identity, race and ethnicity as they relate to the delivery of medical care in the United States. Prior to attending medical school, Dr. Pearson studied in the MFA program in creative writing at Columbia University. We believe that Dr. Pearson herself offers a model of life-long learning and a commitment to meaningful engagement with her community.

Purchase No Apparent Distress from the Bookstore


Essay Instructions

In order to prepare for a faculty or staff led discussion with your peers, choose one of the following questions and respond in a 500 word post to the SRP-099 discussion board in the college’s course management system Canvas. Your short essays should show evidence of your thorough grasp of the book, but you should not quote at length. You must post these responses by Monday, August 14. In addition, respond to three other students’ essays in a substantive way (at least 100 words in each response) prior to your discussion, August 28. Substantive responses may include 1) additional examples that address the same topics that the students discuss; 2) reflections that link your personal experience to the text; 3) questions that you may have regarding students’ essays. You will not be able to respond to your peers until you have posted a contribution to the discussion board.

1) In her book, No Apparent Distress: A Doctor’s Coming-of-Age on the Front Lines of American Medicine, Dr. Rachel Pearson opens with a frank discussion of a medical error that contributed to the death of one of her patients. She also recounts her family’s educational history and her personal educational history. How do Pearson’s relationships with her patients, her family, and her peers contribute to her sense of “Who she is” as a doctor? What does her memoir suggest about the nature of education and the formation of professional identity? Discuss specific examples from Pearson’s book that best support your assertions.

2) Pearson did not originally set out to be a doctor. Before attending medical school, she spent a year in an MFA program in creative writing from Columbia University. How does Pearson’s storytelling illuminate the connections between race, class, and medical care? You may also discuss how issues related to social class influenced Pearson’s decision to change careers. Discuss specific examples from Pearson’s book that best support your assertions.

Purchase No Apparent Distress from the Bookstore

If you have questions, please contact Dr. Felicia Steele, Summer Reading Program Faculty Fellow, srp@tcnj.edu.

 


Summer Reading 2016

The Cultural and Intellectual Community Program Council (CICPC) selects the annual intellectual theme, funds related programming during the academic year, and selects the summer reading book, which begins our year-long exploration of the intellectual theme. The theme for CICPC sponsored programs in 2016-2017 is “Toward Just and Sustainable Communities”. Faculty, staff, and students from around the college will present speakers, film series, performances, and other events related to the theme.

This year’s intellectual theme, “Toward Just and Sustainable Communities,” asks the TCNJ community to explore connections among social justice, sustainability, and community, and to consider these terms expansively and creatively. How do we define community? What are the manifestations of justice in our communities? What do we mean when we talk about sustainability? The theme suggests the power of human agency; we can move “toward” meaningful action. The Summer Reading text, Will Allen’s The Good Food Revolution, describes his project, Growing Power, and honors and celebrates what others have done to promote healthy communities through urban gardens that grow affordable and sustainable “good food.” Grounded in the history of changes in agriculture and the American food system during the Great Migration, Allen’s book serves as a model of the cross-disciplinarity possible in discussions of community, justice, and sustainability.

Purchase the book from the TCNJ bookstore

Essay Instructions

In order to prepare for a faculty or staff led discussion with your peers, choose one of the following questions and respond in a 500 word post to the SRP-099 discussion board in the college’s course management system Canvas . Your short essays should show evidence of your thorough grasp of the book, but you should not quote at length. You must post these responses by Monday, August 15. In addition, respond to three other students’ essays in a substantive way (at least 100 words in each response) prior to your discussion, August 29. Substantive responses may include 1) additional examples that address the same topics that the students discuss; 2) reflections that link your personal experience to the text; 3) questions that you may have regarding students’ essays.

1) In his book, The Good Food Revolution: Growing Healthy Food, People, and Communities, Will Allen tells the story of how his family, like so many other American families, lost the power to grow their own healthy foods and feed themselves when they left rural farms for city life. The title of his book suggests growing healthy food will lead to healthier people and healthier communities, re-empowering them in a “good food revolution.” To what extent do you think this movement can succeed in creating revolutionary changes, both in cities and in your own community?

2) Will Allen uses his family’s history to connect his readers to the Great Migration and the impact that movement from the rural US to urban centers had on African American communities. How does Allen’s storytelling illuminate the connections between race, food, and just and sustainable communities? Discuss specific examples from Allen’s book that best support your answer.


Summer Reading 2015

The Cultural and Intellectual Community Program Council (CICPC) selects the annual intellectual theme, funds related programming during the academic year, and selects the summer reading book, which begins our year-long exploration of the intellectual theme. The theme for CICPC sponsored programs in 2015-2016 is “College and Change”. Faculty, staff, and students from around the college will present speakers, film series, performances, and other events related to the theme.

College is a place of personal transformation for students, and college prepares students for success in their future lives. But immersion in a campus culture also shapes a student’s place in the world, socially and ecologically. What can students learn in college that will help them become responsible agents of change in society and in society’s relationship to the nature world? In The Nature of College, James Farrell writes, “College education isn’t just classes, papers, and GPAs. It’s also an open invitation to engage designing minds, first in understanding the designs of nature, second in understanding the culture of nature, and finally in designing a culture that enriches nature’s health and our own deep fulfillment.” To fully appreciate the possibilities of the college experience, we might look to environmentalist David Orr’s words and envision our college as a place where students gain the capacity to design the future.

The Nature of College was selected as the summer reading text because it embodies the theme “College and Change”.

With the theme “College and Change” in mind, please be prepared to discuss The Nature of College with your fellow students and a faculty/staff facilitator in your Summer Reading discussion group on August 24, 2015.

In order to prepare for your discussion, please write a response of at least 200 words to all three questions that follow these instructions. Your short essays should show evidence of your thorough grasp of the book, but you should not quote at length. You will post these responses by Monday, August 10, to a discussion board on the campus learning management system Canvas. Additional specific directions will be posted on the Summer Reading Program website by August 1st.

Furthermore, you are also required to comment on at least three other students’ essays (at least one in each discussion forum) in a substantive way (at least 100 words), by Saturday, August 15. Please select a student who has not received feedback for your comments rather than responding to the first entry you read. Also please do not make grammatical comments; your goal is to focus on the ideas discussed by other students rather than the writing quality. You will want to write your response and your comments in a word processing program and then paste your work into CANVAS.

Your writing and participation in the summer reading program should be consistent with the standards of academic writing and integrity. Please indicate the page number for any quotation. In your responses to other students, please be respectful, as you would be in any academic setting. In college, you will encounter students of various backgrounds, communities, and viewpoints. Part of college is learning how to disagree in a polite and constructive way that promotes dialogue.

Essay Questions

1) Imagine the world in which you would like to live and work twenty years after college graduation. What do you need to learn in college in order to contribute to the changes needed to build this world? Frame this essay as a letter to your TCNJ professors. Use terms from the ecologician’s dictionary, which appear throughout Farrell’s book.

2) In what ways does Farrell’s book challenge your expectations of college life and your own role as a college student? How does the book help you identify specific ways in which college students can instigate crucial and fundamental cultural change?

3) Farrell argues that every action you take has an impact on the environment. As a citizen of Earth, discuss the implications of one action you’ve taken since you got up this morning and consider whether those implications are consistent with your values.


Summer Reading 2014

In her annual letter to the incoming first-year class, President Gitenstein highlights the importance of the Summer Reading Program. In her words,

“Your participation in our Summer Reading Program is a first step in your career at the College and should help prepare you for our challenging and engaging academic environment.”

Accordingly, the Cultural and Intellectual Community Program Council adopts the following goals for the Summer Reading Program:

To promote first year student participation in the TCNJ intellectual community by selecting a summer reading text related to the CICPC theme and Community Learning Day

To promote critical analysis of the text by requiring students to respond in writing to assigned questions
To model thoughtful intellectual engagement with the text through small group discussions led by a faculty/staff facilitator
To provide students with a helpful transition to academic life as part of the Welcome Week program
To provide students an opportunity to understand diverse perspectives
Essay Assignment

The Cultural and Intellectual Community Program Council (CICPC) selects the annual intellectual theme, funds related programming during the academic year, and selects the summer reading book which begins our year-long exploration of the intellectual theme. Justice is the theme for CICPC sponsored programs in 2014-2015. Faculty, staff, and students from around the college will present speakers, film series, performances, and other events related to the theme. Justice means upholding what is just; but who determines what is just? How is justice perceived and defined across time or cultures? Is justice contextually bound or does it represent a universal truth? How is justice related to notions such as fairness, equality, generosity, opportunity and love? These questions highlight that justice is not confined to the criminal justice system. It can be considered in social and economic contexts, and related to resources and sustainability. To quote Cornel West, “Justice is what love looks like in public.” The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates was selected as the summer reading text because it embodies the theme of justice.

With the theme of “Justice” in mind, please be prepared to discuss The Other Wes Moore with your fellow students and a faculty/staff facilitator in your Summer Reading discussion group on August 25, 2014.

In order to prepare for your discussion, please write a response of at least 500 words to one of the questions that follow these instructions. Your essays should draw evidence from throughout the book, but you should not quote at length. You will post this response by Wednesday, August 20 to a discussion board on the campus learning management system Canvas. Additional specific directions will be posted on the Summer Reading Program website by August 1st. Furthermore, you are also required to comment on at least two other students’ essays in a substantive way (at least 100 words). Please select a student who has not received feedback for your comments rather than responding to the first entry you read. Also please do not make grammatical comments; your goal is to focus on the ideas discussed by other student rather than the writing quality. You will want to write your response and your comments in a word processing program and then paste your work into CANVAS.

Your writing and participation in the summer reading program should be consistent with the standards of academic writing and integrity. Please indicate the page number for any quotation. In your responses to other students, please be respectful, as you would be in any academic setting. In college, you will encounter students of various backgrounds, communities, and viewpoints. Part of college is learning how to disagree in a polite and constructive way that promotes dialogue.

ESSAY QUESTIONS

1) Wes Moore poses the question, “Do you think we are all just products of our environments? By comparing and contrasting the experiences of the two Wes Moores, show how they are or are not products of their environments. In what ways do you believe your environment shapes or has shaped you?

2) In the stories of the two Wes Moores, can you identify where personal accountability comes into play? In what ways would it be possible for the boys to sustain a sense of personal accountability and agency?

3) Show how the communities of the two Wes Moores view women and men. What role do you believe fatherhood plays in their lives? How do their mothers influence their beliefs and actions?

Summer Reading Program Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Who chose this book?

The Cultural and Intellectual Community Planning Council, a college committee made up of faculty, staff, and students chose the book. It is an engaging book that addresses both this year’s intellectual theme.

Why does TCNJ have an “Intellectual Theme” every year?

The Intellectual Theme provides a unifying framework to events on campus: film series, lecture series, art exhibits, and art performances. One part of the college experience is learning to take advantage of extra- and co-curricular events. You are all strongly encouraged to attend the events of Community Learning Day, and some of you will be required as part of your major to attend a number of events. Nonetheless, the habit of seeking out intellectual engagement across a variety of topics, not just within your own field, is central to your experience as a student and as an intellectual.

Why is there a summer reading?

The first-year class rarely has an opportunity to share a common intellectual experience. The Summer Reading Program is designed to provide an intellectual touchstone to kick-off your first year as part of a thoughtful community of life-long learners who value cultural diversity and the spirit of free inquiry. In addition, the summer reading program allows you to meet faculty and staff from across the college. We want all of you to have an experience reading a serious book about current events, or about issues of current relevance, that complements the experiences in your living/learning community. In addition, we hope that discussions of this book will help to awaken you to the joy of learning for its own sake, outside of the processes of grading and credentialing that has become so important for most college students.

Will I get a grade on my essay?

Completing a satisfactory essay is a requirement of the summer reading program. Students whose essays are found unsatisfactory may be required to do additional work or participate in next year’s summer reading program.

Your essays will be forwarded to the facilitators for the discussion groups for the Summer Reading Program and to your First Seminar instructor. Many of the facilitators will also be First Seminar instructors. Your FSP instructor will decide whether to give you feedback on your writing and whether or not to include the summer essay as part of your FSP course grade. You will discover in your first year of college that people learn best when they use all their intellectual faculties—reading, writing, speaking. The purpose of the essay is to give you an opportunity to think critically about the book and to prepare you to speak confidently about it in your discussion session and with your peers prior to the discussion.


Summer Reading 2013

In her annual letter to the incoming first-year class, President Gitenstein highlights the importance of the Summer Reading Program. In her words,

“Your participation in our Summer Reading Program is a first step in your career at the College and should help prepare you for our challenging and engaging academic environment.”

Accordingly, the Cultural and Intellectual Community Program Council adopts the following goals for the Summer Reading Program:

To promote first year student participation in the TCNJ intellectual community by selecting a summer reading text related to the CICPC theme and Community Learning Day
To promote critical analysis of the text by requiring students to respond in writing to assigned questions
To model thoughtful intellectual engagement with the text through small group discussions led by a faculty/staff facilitator
To provide students with a helpful transition to academic life as part of the Welcome Week program
To provide students an opportunity to understand diverse perspectives
Valuing our Past and Building Our Future

R. Barbara Gitenstein, President

I am pleased to welcome you to The College of New Jersey community. Your participation in our Summer Reading Program is a first step in your career at the College and should help prepare you for our challenging and engaging academic environment.

The College is a values-based institution that seeks to provide a context in which you will learn and grow. As an institution, we value our past and encourage you to do the same; we also honor our responsibilities to the state and nation and we insist that you do so as well. These responsibilities cannot be met by only looking backward; we must also look around and look ahead. I encourage you to take advantage of the opportunities that will present themselves throughout your time on the campus. In the short time you will spend with us you will further develop your passions and will have the chance to develop new ones. Now is the time to discover the impact you can make on the world. Like the institution that you have joined, your experience at The College of New Jersey is contextual. You will learn from others and they from you; you will learn from their pasts and they from yours.

As a consequence of this contextual learning, you will come to understand your past better. This greater understanding will result in great changes for you and for the larger community in which you live, changes that continue to position us to thrive in the twenty-first century. As a community dedicated to free inquiry and open exchange, we seek to help nourish the development of our students to become leaders in our complex and diverse world by providing a supportive environment in which to challenge each other and ourselves intellectually.

Jonathan M. Katz, The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster has been selected as this year’s Summer Reading. The Summer Reading is a part of the College’s annual series of intellectual and cultural programs designed to engage our community in discussion around a selected theme. The theme for this year is “Constructing the Past.” As part of Welcome Week, you and your peers will have an opportunity to examine Katz’s book in a discussion led by a faculty/staff facilitator on August 26, 2013. You will receive complete Summer Reading instructions at the time of Summer Orientation in July. They will also be posted at this site.

Again, welcome to the community of The College of New Jersey. I hope you will take full advantage of what the College has to offer you, and what you have to offer our community.

Essay Assignment

This year’s Summer Reading is Jonathan Katz’s The Big Truck that Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster, published in 2013. Each year, the summer reading program begins our year-long exploration of a single intellectual theme. Faculty, staff, and students from around the college will present speakers, film series, performances, and other events related to the theme of “Constructing the Past.” See this link for additional (and developing) information: http://liberallearning.tcnj.edu/about/ccic-themes/schedule-of-events-for-the-year/

Set on the fault-line between international celebrity and politics and local need, The Big Truck that Went By tells the story of the earthquake and its aftermath from the point of view of the only American journalist who experienced the devastation first hand. The Kirkus Review calls this book “an eye-opening, trailblazing exposé,” that shows how Western narratives of Haiti’s history and economics have played a crucial part in this crisis.

With the theme of “Constructing the Past” in mind, please be prepared to discuss The Big Truck that Went By with your fellow students and a faculty/staff facilitator in your Summer Reading discussion group August 26.

In order to prepare for your discussion, please write a response of at least 250 words to one of the questions that follow these instructions. Your essays should draw evidence from throughout the book, but you should not quote at length. You will post this response by Wednesday, August 21st to a discussion board within the campus learning management system Canvas. Specific directions to follow will be posted on the Summer Reading Program website by August 1st. In addition, you are also required to comment on at least two other students’ essays in a substantive way (at least 50 words). Please select a student who has not received feedback for your comments rather than responding to the first entry you read. You will want to save your response and your comments until your grade has been posted.

Your writing and participation in the summer reading program should be consistent with the standards of academic writing and integrity. Please indicate the page number for any quotation. In your responses to other students, please be respectful, as you would be in any academic setting. In college, you will encounter students of various backgrounds, communities, and viewpoints. Part of college is learning how to disagree in a polite and constructive way that promotes dialogue.

ESSAY QUESTIONS

1) Katz suggests that United States officials and aid organizations are predisposed to expect government corruption and civil unrest in Haiti. Identify at least one of the reasons for these predispositions and analyze how these expectations influence aid decisions and the long-term consequences of these decisions.

2) One topic the book explores is the difference between emergency aid and aid for the development of infrastructure and institutions. Compare and contrast the long-term effects of both as discussed in Katz’s book.

3) Throughout the book, Katz addresses the question of “who speaks for Haiti” and who speaks for Haitians and the ethical issues that result. Discuss how Katz uses personal relationships, such as that with his “handler” Evens, to offer a more personal viewpoint of the crisis and link personal experiences to larger political realities.

Summer Reading Program Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Who chose this book?

The Cultural and Intellectual Community Planning Council, a college committee made up of faculty, staff, and students chose the book. It is an engaging book that addresses both this year’s Intellectual theme of “Freedom and Tyranny” and the emerging role of social media in shaping societal change.

Why does TCNJ have an “Intellectual Theme” every year?

The Intellectual Theme provides a unifying framework to events on campus: film series, lecture series, art exhibits, and art performances. One part of the college experience is learning to take advantage of extra- and co-curricular events. You are all strongly encouraged to attend the events of Community Learning Day, and some of you will be required as part of your major to attend a number of events. Nonetheless, the habit of seeking out intellectual engagement across a variety of topics, not just within your own field, is central to your experience as a student and as an intellectual.

Why is there a summer reading?

The first-year class rarely has an opportunity to share a common intellectual experience. The Summer Reading Program is designed to provide an intellectual touchstone to kick-off your first year as part of a thoughtful community of life-long learners who value cultural diversity and the spirit of free inquiry. In addition, the summer reading program allows you to meet faculty and staff from across the college. We want all of you to have an experience reading a serious book about current events, or about issues of current relevance, that complements the experiences in your living/learning community. In addition, we hope that discussions of this book will help to awaken you to the joy of learning for its own sake, outside of the processes of grading and credentialing that has become so important for most college students.

Will I get a grade on my essay?

Although completing a satisfactory essay is a requirement of the summer reading program, you will not receive a grade on it and it will not appear on your college transcript. Students whose essays are found unsatisfactory may be required to do additional work or participate in next year’s summer reading program.

Your essays will be forwarded to the facilitators for the discussion groups for the Summer Reading Program and you might receive written feedback on your writing. Many of these facilitators will also be First Seminar instructors. While your essay will be retained for potential assessment efforts on campus, you aren’t writing the essay for the purposes of an ‘assignment’ in the traditional sense. You will discover in your first year of college that people learn best when they use all their intellectual faculties—reading, writing, speaking. The purpose of the essay is to give you an opportunity to think critically about the book and to prepare you to speak confidently about it in your discussion session and with your peers prior to the discussion.


Summer Reading 2012

I am pleased to welcome you to The College of New Jersey community. Your participation in our Summer Reading Program is a first step in your career at the College and should help prepare you for our challenging and engaging academic environment.

The College is a values-based institution that seeks to provide a context in which you will learn and grow. As an institution, we value our past and encourage you to do the same; we also honor our responsibilities to the state and nation and we insist that you do so as well. These responsibilities cannot be met by only looking backward; we must also look around and look ahead. I encourage you to take advantage of the opportunities that will present themselves throughout your time on the campus. In the short time you will spend with us you will further develop your passions and will have the chance to develop new ones. Now is the time to discover the impact you can make on the world. Like the institution that you have joined, your experience at The College of New Jersey is contextual. You will learn from others and they from you; you will learn from their pasts and they from yours.

As a consequence of this contextual learning, you will come to understand your past better. This greater understanding will result in great changes for you and for the larger community in which you live, changes that continue to position us to thrive in the twenty-first century. As a community dedicated to free inquiry and open exchange, we seek to help nourish the development of our students to become leaders in our complex and diverse world by providing a supportive environment in which to challenge each other and ourselves intellectually.

Wael Ghonim’s Revolution 2.0: The Power of the People is Greater than the People in Power has been selected as this year’s Summer Reading. The Summer Reading is a part of the College’s annual series of intellectual and cultural programs designed to engage our community in discussion around a selected theme. The theme for this year is “Freedom and Tyranny.” As part of Welcome Week, you and your peers will have an opportunity to examine Ghonim’s book in a discussion led by a faculty/staff facilitator on August 27, 2012. You will receive complete Summer Reading instructions at the time of Summer Orientation in July. They will also be posted at this site.

Again, welcome to the community of The College of New Jersey. I hope you will take full advantage of what the College has to offer you, and what you have to offer our community.

Essay Assignment

This year’s Summer Reading is Wael Ghonim’s Revolution 2.0, published in 2012 about the uprisings in Egypt during 2012 and the role of social media in making that happen.

With the theme of “Freedom and Tyranny” in mind, please be prepared to share your responses to Revolution 2.0 with your fellow students and faculty/staff facilitator in your Summer Reading discussion group August 27.

In addition, please write a two page essay of at least 500 words that addresses one of the questions following the quotation:

“I felt the stirrings of a rare opportunity to make a difference and to combat oppression and torture. I was angry, and I was not the only one. On its first day, 36,000 people joined the page. Some of them wanted to learn more details about the case, some sought to offer sympathy and support, and others joined out of curiosity because they had received an invitation from a Facebook friend. Images of Khaled before and after the assault spread like wildfire. Similar crimes had taken place in the past, all too frequently, yet their stories had not spread too widely. It was the visual documentation of Khaled’s terrible death, along with the fact that he was from the middle class, that catalyzed this huge reaction. The image was impossible to forget, and thanks to social media, it was proliferating like crazy.”

–Wael Ghonim, Revolution 2.0: The Power of the People is Greater than the People in Power

Write a two page essay of at least 500 words that addresses one of the following questions:

The quotation from Ghonim suggests that social media provided an opportunity for him to direct his anger toward injustice in a way that could mobilize people to action rapidly. After reading this book, and reading about recent elections in Egypt, what difference do you believe social media made in the outcome of the Egyptian revolution? Did social media have a lasting effect?
Ghonim’s comment also suggests powerful things about the effects of class on the consumption of information through social media. He suggests that Khaled’s death was more disturbing to Egyptians because he was middle-class. In your experience does a person’s social class position have a similar effect in the United States?
Consider the effects of social media on your own social or political awareness. In what ways has your own understanding of your community or your world been influenced by your consumption of and participation in social media? To what extent do social media filter your experience of the world (the way that you receive news and information about current events—either private or public)? Can you compare it to the situation in the book where Egyptians had few outlets for information that was not state-mediated? You might discuss your use of social media with your parents or other community members to gain an awareness of how social media has changed the notion of community.
How would you assess conditions for ‘freedom’ in Egypt a year and a half after the successful ousting of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak? What are the implications of the dissolution of parliament by the Egyptian ‘high court’ and the continued dominance of the army in ‘governmental’ matters? Does the election of a member of the Muslim Brotherhood as president complicate matters? Explain how these events sustain, move forward, or impede the cause of freedom in Egypt.

Instructions for submitting your essay electronically: Please submit your summer reading essay electronically to liberal@tcnj.edu. The subject heading of the message MUST be your full FSP course number followed by your last name. For example, John Smith taking FSP 101-01 would send an email to liberal@tcnj.edu with the Subject Heading:

FSP 101-01 Smith

You must use your official TCNJ email account and you should send it as soon as possible, but no later than August 20th. Please also bring a hard copy to your discussion session on August 27.

Please note: We will be using the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt hardcover edition of Revolution 2.0. It will be available at the College Bookstore, but you are free to purchase it anywhere—ISBN 978-0-547-77398-8. You may also read it in an electronic version or, if it is available, in a paperback edition, of course.

Summer Reading Program Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Who chose this book?

The Cultural and Intellectual Community Planning Council, a college committee made up of faculty, staff, and students chose the book. It is an engaging book that addresses both this year’s Intellectual theme of “Freedom and Tyranny” and the emerging role of social media in shaping societal change.

Why does TCNJ have an “Intellectual Theme” every year?

The Intellectual Theme provides a unifying framework to events on campus: film series, lecture series, art exhibits, and art performances. One part of the college experience is learning to take advantage of extra- and co-curricular events. You are all strongly encouraged to attend the events of Community Learning Day, and some of you will be required as part of your major to attend a number of events. Nonetheless, the habit of seeking out intellectual engagement across a variety of topics, not just within your own field, is central to your experience as a student and as an intellectual.

Why is there a summer reading?

The first-year class rarely has an opportunity to share a common intellectual experience. The Summer Reading Program is designed to provide an intellectual touchstone to kick-off your first year as part of a thoughtful community of life-long learners who value cultural diversity and the spirit of free inquiry. In addition, the summer reading program allows you to meet faculty and staff from across the college. We want all of you to have an experience reading a serious book about current events, or about issues of current relevance, that complements the experiences in your living/learning community. In addition, we hope that discussions of this book will help to awaken you to the joy of learning for its own sake, outside of the processes of grading and credentialing that has become so important for most college students.

Will I get a grade on my essay?

Although completing a satisfactory essay is a requirement of the summer reading program, you will not receive a grade on it and it will not appear on your college transcript. Students whose essays are found unsatisfactory may be required to do additional work or participate in next year’s summer reading program.

Your essays will be forwarded to the facilitators for the discussion groups for the Summer Reading Program and you might receive written feedback on your writing. Many of these facilitators will also be First Seminar instructors. While your essay will be retained for potential assessment efforts on campus, you aren’t writing the essay for the purposes of an ‘assignment’ in the traditional sense. You will discover in your first year of college that people learn best when they use all their intellectual faculties—reading, writing, speaking. The purpose of the essay is to give you an opportunity to think critically about the book and to prepare you to speak confidently about it in your discussion session and with your peers prior to the discussion.


Summer Reading 2011

R. Barbara Gitenstein, President

I am pleased to welcome you to The College of New Jersey community. Your participation in our Summer Reading Program is a first step in your career at the College and should help prepare you for our challenging and engaging academic environment.

The College is a values-based institution that seeks to provide a context in which you will learn and grow. As an institution, we value our past and encourage you to do the same; we also honor our responsibilities to the state and nation and we insist that you do so as well. These responsibilities cannot be met by only looking backward; we must also look around and look ahead. I encourage you to take advantage of the opportunities that will present themselves throughout your time on the campus. In the short time you will spend with us you will further develop your passions and will have the chance to develop new ones. Now is the time to discover the impact you can make on the world. Like the institution that you have joined, your experience at The College of New Jersey is contextual. You will learn from others and they from you; you will learn from their pasts and they from yours.

As a consequence of this contextual learning, you will come to understand your past better. This greater understanding will result in great changes for you and for the larger community in which you live, changes that continue to position us to thrive in the twenty-first century. As a community dedicated to free inquiry and open exchange, we seek to help nourish the development of our students to become leaders in our complex and diverse world by providing a supportive environment in which to challenge each other and ourselves intellectually.

Tom Standage’s The Victorian Internet has been selected as this year’s Summer Reading. The Summer Reading is a part of the College’s annual series of intellectual and cultural programs designed to engage our community in discussion around a selected theme. The theme for this year is “The Pursuit of Innovation.” As part of Welcome Week, you and your peers will have an opportunity to examine Standage’s book in a discussion led by a faculty/staff facilitator on August 29, 2011. Please see the reverse side for Summer Reading instructions.

Again, welcome to the community of The College of New Jersey. I hope you will take full advantage of what the College has to offer you, and what you have to offer our community.

Essay Assignment

This academic year the College is sponsoring a series of programs based on the theme “The Pursuit of Innovation.” The theme will be inaugurated at the Summer Reading discussions on August 29 and celebrated at the campus-wide Community Learning Day on October 5.

This year’s Summer Reading is Tom Standage’s The Victorian Internet, written in 1989 about the invention of the telegraph and its monumental influence on communications. It was revised in 2007 in order to make more direct reference to the contemporary internet.

With the theme of “The Pursuit of Innovation” in mind, please be prepared to share your responses to The Victorian Internet with your fellow students and your faculty/staff facilitator in your Summer Reading discussion group on August 29.

In addition, please respond to any one of the following questions in the form of an essay, 2 to 4 typed pages long, in which you make specific reference to The Victorian Internet:

Is it reasonable to see the internet not as a new communications medium but rather as a continuation of the telegraph? If so, what are the principal features of the internet that have their origin in the telegraph, or that carry forward similar capabilities? If not, why not? What does your response have to say about what we may regard as unique to our own times? How does it affect your view of history?
Think about the pursuit of innovation and how the development of the telegraph reflects it. In addition to the contemporary internet, think about another innovation and examine the process of its creation and its intended and unintended consequences and impact on society. Feel free to relate it to your expected major program or possible career. Apply the same thinking to the contemporary internet and its related devices. Be sure to make direct reference to The Victorian Internet.
How does The Victorian Internet illustrate the pursuit of innovation? What are some of the changes and improvements that resulted in the ‘mature’ telegraph? Be sure to use the text to illustrate how innovations are sometimes planned and sometimes the result of happenstance. How was society transformed by it? What do you think was its most significant impact? In what ways is the contemporary internet an outgrowth of or parallel to the telegraph during its heyday? How do visions and motivations of the innovators coincide with and differ from those who use their inventions?
Examine how the innovations of the telegraph and the internet have changed such fundamental matters as language, time perception, and definitions of friendship. Consider the extent to which these changes may be in response to intrinsic elements of the invention, such as immediate communication—or merely accidental details, such as a response to the technical need to send as few characters as possible. You may want to compare changes in language use among high school students today with how The Victorian Internet had an impact on language use in the 19th century.

Please submit your essay by August 24 into the Dropbox of SOCS under your FSP course number. Please also bring a hard copy of the essay to your discussion session on August 29.

To submit your essay, go to socs.tcnj.edu and input your TCNJ email username and password. Once in SOCS, choose your FSP from the list of your courses for the fall 2011 semester. Once in the profile of your FSP course, choose the “Dropbox” tab on the left side of the screen and follow instructions to upload your essay.

Please note: We will be using the Walker paperback edition of The Victorian Internet (with the 2007 Afterward). It is available at the College Bookstore, but you are free to purchase it anywhere—ISBN-13: 978-0-8027-1604-0.

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