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Year-Long Common Reading Experience (YLCRE)

Rise. Experience. Aspire. Dream. (READ)

Common Reading Experience Introduction

Book cover: A Lesson Learned by Jeevan BrownFirst-year and Transfer students will read a book selected for their cohort during their summer orientation. They will then participate in small group discussions about the book with other new and upperclass students. The entire Tuskegee University community is invited to engage in a common academic experience throughout the school year by attending and participating in events coordinated around the book's themes, topics, and issues. All students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to connect with one another through this common intellectual experience which will allow for critical reflection on the book and the collegiate experience. 

Previous Book Selections: 

  • The 2018-2019 Common Reading book: Jeevan Brown, A Lesson Learned: A Story of Trials and Tribulations.
  • The 2016-2017 Common Reading book: Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. 
  • The 2015-2016 Common Reading Book: Wes Moore, The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates. 


Book cover: Just Mercy by Bryan StevensonYLCRE Mission 

The Year-Long Common Reading Experience (YLCRE) will provide a collective intellectual experience to stimulate discussion, self-reflection, critical thinking, and inspire a sense of community and diverse perspectives among students, faculty, staff and administrators. It is designed for freshmen and transfer students to be used in concert with the Orientation courses and University Honors Program. The experience will revolve around reading a single book and discussion activities throughout the year with the President and senior staff members. Additional activities will include lectures by the President and visiting author of the common reading book. 


Rise, Experience, Aspire, Dream 


Book cover: The Other Wes Moore by Wes MooreRise

Rise to the challenge of bringing your dreams to life! Do not be discouraged by resistance, be nourished by it. Success is the experience of rising to the level of your true greatness.  

– Steve Maraboli


Mistakes increase your experience and experiences decrease your mistakes. If you learn from your mistakes, then others learn from your success. 

– Author Unknown


Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?”

– Martin Luther King, Jr.


A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work. 

– Colin Powell

YLCRE Activities

YLCRE will host an array of activities for faculty, students, and staff to participate in throughout the academic year. The activities will allow participants to partake in group discussions, self-reflections, creative and arts expression opportunities, and much more. All of the activities will assist students with improving their knowledge as it relates to certain topics, skills and abilities that will be useful in pursuing their long-life dreams and ambitions for success in life.

YLCRE Community Involvement

All persons (faculty, staff, and students) that are interested in assisting with the YLCRE Initiative are welcome to assist with the ongoing YLCRE Activities or the Service Learning Project.

YLCRE will be able to: 

  1. Improve interactions between students, faculty, staff, administrators, and the local community.
  2. Host co-curricular activities that will foster academic rigor among students.
  3. Help students reflect on their personal experiences and relate them to a common reading.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is YLCRE?

The Year-Long Common Reading Experience (YLCRE) is a year-long reading experience during the academic year in which first-year and transfer students will read a book selected during the academic year. They will then participate in small group and other activities about the book.

This year's book is: Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

What is the Theme?

The Theme of YLCRE is "Tuskegee University-Rise, Experience, Aspire, and Dream (TUR.E.A.D.)."

What are the Goals of the YLCRE?

The Common Reading Experience will:

1.    Establish immediate expectations for engaging students in an intellectual capacity by increasing campus-wide interactions; 
2.    Foster a sense of community among first-year and transfer students through shared academic experiences in the classroom and extended learning activities;
3.    Provide students an opportunity to understand diverse perspectives;
4.    Create a foundation for students to explore values and ethics;
5.    Set expectations for student success through emphasis and importance of reading, writing, critical thinking, and civil discourse in the university setting.
6.    Deepen students understanding of issues raised in selected books; and
7.    Promote interdisciplinary opportunities in a meaningful learning surrounding through the common reading book selection.

What is the Vision?

The Year-Long Common Reading Experience (YLCRE) initiative will provide shared and intellectual experiences among first-year and transfer students and campus community through reading a selected book.

What is the Mission Statement?

The YLCRE will provide a collective intellectual experience through critical thinking and reflection among students, faculty, staff, and administrators.

What is a Common Reading?

A Common Reading is a shared academic experience used to link the broader Tuskegee University community across disciplines. All incoming students are required to read the Common Reading book; they are given the chance to discuss themes and issues from the book regardless of their intended major or class schedule.

Do I have to read the book this year?

YES – the Common Reading book is a requirement for all first-year/transfer students to read. We strongly urge you to check out information about the book. However, we do not expect anyone to read the book until classes begin in August.

Will I have to participate in activities that use the book?

Yes – all incoming students are required to participate in one interest/group session and other activities, some of which require the use of the book.

How is the book used in discussion? Outside of classes?

Orientation Instructors will assist first-year/transfer students with developing a creative response from the common reading. Quite often the book will be used to start discussions and relate themes, current issues and excerpts from the book. Assignments are typified by essays and projects that connect the common reading to the particular interest/group discussion.

Outside of classes, students are invited to attend lectures, discussions, and activities led by the Common Reading program staff or individual colleges around the university.

When and where can I buy the book? How much does it cost?

Currently, the book is ‘no cost’ to first-year/transfer students. However, a paperback version will be for sale in August in the campus bookstore for purchase by others.

How do you pick the Common Reading book?

Each year, members of the TU community are invited to submit nominations for the following year’s common reading book. A committee of staff and faculty members read through the nominations and selects three top choices. The TU President/Provost then selects from the three remaining books.

For more information please contact:

Dr. Sheena Harris
Assistant Professor of History
Phone: 334-724-4317