The iRead common reading program at Washburn University was developed to enhance the educational experience of the students and the greater Washburn/Topeka community.
• Common reading programs merge the curricular and cocurricular components of college and reinforce the message that learning occurs both inside and outside the classroom.*
• Such programs help students understand that reading, critical thinking, discussion, and other activities are expected in college and contribute to learning.*
• Reading can promote more meaningful learning. According to results from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE, 2004), students who spend more time reading outside class score higher on the deeper-learning scale.*
• It encourages interdisciplinary connections.
• It creates "environments and experiences that bring students to discover and construct knowledge for themselves, and helps make students members of communities of learners that make discoveries and solve problems," according to researchers Barr and Tagg (1995).*
The program began in 2007 and was primarily funded by the Center for Undergraduate Studies and Programs (CUSP), the Washburn Student Government Association (WSGA), and the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA). A campus-wide committee formed, selected a book, marketed it across campus and especially to the freshman students and instructors, and celebrated the culmination of the project by bringing in the author for a speaking engagement. In 2008 we were able to bring in some additional donors with the help of the Washburn Endowment Association. Then the economy fell into ...
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... noted in the previous section. However, the campus-wide online evaluation given near the end of the fall semester will provide specific information and statistics.
(see page 26 in monograph)
I have three goals for this program and its funding future:
• Have the program placed in a line of the university budget.
• Seek endowment funding specifically designated for iRead.
• Provide the book to students at New Student Orientation (via part of an Orientation fee that would pay for the book and also put a small amount toward the iRead programming budget).
This request for funding seeks to provide a replacement for prior university funding. The committee believes this program is a worthwhile endeavor and one that puts Washburn University in line with what many other colleges and universities do across the nation.
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