Beach Books: 2012-2013

Peter Wood

Each academic year, hundreds of colleges and universities assign a book as “common reading” to students. These assignments are often emblematic of colleges’ values. Common reading programs may be mandatory or optional and are designed for new students, honors students, or the entire student body. Because many colleges use common reading programs as a way to initiate new students, the selected book is often the first college-level intellectual endeavor that students will be asked to make—and their first experience of college reading.

Since 2010, the National Association of Scholars has been studying college common reading programs to find out what books are selected, how many and what kinds of colleges have such programs, and how these assignments are integrated into campuses’ academic life. 

This is a trend to pay attention to and can be seen as a microcosm of college life that can illuminate the particular concepts that American colleges and universities care about and the kind of reading they expect of their students.

Our 2012-2013 study covers 309 colleges and universities and the 190 books they assigned.

Download the report (pdf): Beach Books 2012-2013: What Do Colleges and Universities Want Students to Read Outside Class?


See also:

Readers Weigh In on Teaching the Classics

50 Recommended Books for College Common Reading

2011-2012 Beach Books

2010-2011 Beach Books

 

Image: © Joseph Robertson

  • Share

Most Commented

June 13, 2022

1.

Regime Change: Repelling the DEI Assault on Higher Education

The last few decades have seen a total transformation of higher education's mission in American society. What was once an institution that encouraged innovation, built character, and sou......

May 12, 2022

2.

Mornin’ Ralph, Mornin’ Sam in Anthropology Today

Professor Lowrey recounts her latest encounter with academic cancel culture, this time with an acceptance-turned-rejection at Anthropology Today....

May 31, 2022

3.

Can America’s Colleges and Universities Be Saved?

We urge American citizens and policymakers to reform our higher education system while there is still time....

Most Read

June 13, 2022

1.

Regime Change: Repelling the DEI Assault on Higher Education

The last few decades have seen a total transformation of higher education's mission in American society. What was once an institution that encouraged innovation, built character, and sou......

May 15, 2015

2.

Where Did We Get the Idea That Only White People Can Be Racist?

A look at the double standard that has arisen regarding racism, illustrated recently by the reaction to a black professor's biased comments on Twitter....

June 21, 2022

3.

Press Release: Confucius Institutes Rebrand to Circumvent U.S. Policy, Report Finds

A new report from the National Association of Scholars finds that colleges and universities continue to host Chinese-funded programs similar to Confucius Institutes under new names......