I have more than 200 transfer students in my course. The primary concern of transfer students across the nation is that they don’t feel the same sense of community that native freshmen enjoy. The UCSB Reads project has given me a chance to turn my class into the largest book club in the region. The shared experience is helping them to connect at a depth that would not be possible with the standard text and journal articles.
All the students are part of an online discussion that is led by a new Earth Science PhD student, Baird King. We also have members of a student affairs book club joining them in their discussion.
For the past two years, we have kicked off the program in style. Because the start of the university transfer class coincides with the start of the Reads program, we’ve been able to have a librarian come to class and surprise the students by handing each of them a copy of the Reads book. It’s a little like a television game show and generates a great start to the project.
Additionally, I am getting support from the Library on generating writing prompts that help with the critical thinking goals of my class. We are using Moby-Duck as a framework for critical thought and rigorous study.
My students are grateful to be part of something that is much bigger than our class. Their relationship with the Library will benefit in the quarters ahead.