TCC implements new program, the Common Book Read

If you are a first-year student enrolled in the First Year Experience Seminar (COLL 1002), you have probably noticed one of two things: the class name has changed, and you have a mandatory reading assignment.

Hopefully, you did not panic when you saw the name switch on your schedule. First Year Experience has been renamed College Success (COLL 1003).

You might be wondering why this is. The answer is simple: Tulsa Community College is implementing its first ever Public Good-Reads.

Public Good-Reads is a common book program designed to provide a shared foundation for students in order to enhance intellectual and personal growth.

Common Book Programs (CBPs) are not uncommon.

In fact, many American colleges and universities have a common book program. These programs “aim to create community through shared intellectual activity” according to Kara Ryan-Johnson, one of two co-directors for the program.

The college’s instructors might assign a common text in a course – or multiple courses – during the Fall and Spring semesters.

Alongside coursework, TCC will plan several co-curricular events, which are open to everyone. According to TCC’s website, a common book program is “a high-impact practice for student learning and supports the values of other college-wide initiatives.”


“a high-impact practice for student learning and supports the values of other college-wide initiatives.”

Tulsa Community College

TCC intends to continue Public Good-Reads as an “integral part of the college” in order to have long-term impacts on the community. The program is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). NEH awarded TCC $81,000.

This grant covers professional development for faculty and staff, co-curricular activities, books for the library and faculty, as well as funding for a public lecture with the author.

The text chosen as TCC’s inaugural common book is Redeployment by Phil Klay (pronounced like thigh). Redeployment is a collection of short stories by Klay.

Klay is a graduate of Dartmouth College and a U.S. Veteran, having served in Iraq’s Anbar Province as a public affairs officer during the surge of 2007. This text was chosen strategically in order to increase the college’s chances of receiving the grant from NEH and to show TCC’s commitment to its student-veterans.

The text itself is politically neutral. The book focuses mainly on the individual lives of the characters, not their political views. Klay’s work has been accused of lacking aesthetic, although it has acquired many accolades.

As of this summer, Klay’s text has received the following awards: the 2014 National Book Award; the 2014 National Book Foundation; a 5 under 35 Honoree; the 2015 National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Award.

The text has been recognized for many other awards and for a full list, visit Phil Klay’s website http://www.philklay.com/works/. Also available on his website is a full collection of all his works, including Redeployment.

With the grant given by NEH, the college was able to invite  Klay to give a public lecture. He is scheduled to give a keynote address and book signing on Oct. 24 in the Center for Creativity, Metro Campus. Times will be announced later.

In addition to Klay, Matthew Perry, chair of the English and Philosophy department at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas will be the keynote speaker at the TCC adjunct faculty summer institute. Dr. Elana Newman, professor of psychology at the University of Tulsa, will be present at TCC’s fall development day.

Other events will also be coordinated with community partners, including Magic City Books and The Coffee Bunker. If you are interested in reading Redeployment or participating in any of the upcoming events, it is suggested that you consider taking a class using the common book.

Klay’s book will be assigned in most sections of College Success (COLL 1003), while some English classes are planning to assign it in sections of Composition I and II. The text will also be discussed in some humanities, philosophy, political science, and history courses.

If you want to know which courses are implementing the common book, search for courses with the attribute CMBK in the TCC enrollment system or ask for assistance from an advisor.

If you can not enroll into a course that is using the common read, consider reading some of Klay’s short stories and essays on your own. His entire collection of works is on reserve at all TCC libraries. Also, all CBP public events, including Klay’s October 24th keynote address, are open to all.

TCC plans to incorporate common books into its curriculum.

Therefore, next year TCC will select a new common text via nomination. In early fall, any student, faculty, staff, or administrator may nominate a text for consideration.

To do so, fill out the nomination form on the Common Book library guide: http://guides.library.tulsacc.edu/CommonBook. Nominations closed on Sept. 27. Alternatively, this is where you can stay up to date about events happening this year with the current common book.

In mid-fall, the Common Book Committee (CBC) will meet to narrow the nominations to a short list. This list will be shared with the community ,which will be able to provide feedback later into the semester. In early spring, the CBC will make its final selection based on community feedback.

This selection will be announced early February. For more information on Public Good-Reads or the Common Book Program, contact Kara Ryan-Johnson, kara.ryan-johnson@tulsacc.edu, or Cindy Shanks, cindy.shanks@tulsacc.edu. A common Blackboard site with resources supporting the program is in development.