Book Club

The Student Affairs Book Club is a professional development opportunity open to all Student Affairs staff. This year’s Book Club selections for the winter, spring, and summer quarters are listed below. Each Book Club meeting is over a lunch hour. Lunch is provided, as is a free copy of the book(s) to be discussed. If you are interested, please look for sign-up information as dates get closer. Approximately 12-15 people attend each of the Book Club discussions.

The End of White Christian America

  • Author: Robert P. Jones
  • Date: February 1
  • Time: 12-1p
  • Location: Parkes
  • Facilitator: Tim Stevens

Book Description

If you are following the One Book community conversation of The Signal and the Noise: Why Some Predictions Fail-- But Some Don’t by Nate Silver, you will want to read this book by Robert P. Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI). He challenges us to grasp the profound political and cultural consequences of a new reality—that America is no longer a majority white Christian nation.

Drawing on more than four decades of polling data, The End of White Christian America explains and analyzes the waning vitality of WCA. Jones argues that the visceral nature of today’s most heated issues—the vociferous arguments around same-sex marriage and religious liberty, the rise of the Tea Party following the election of our first black president, and stark disagreements between black and white Americans over the fairness of the criminal justice system—can only be understood against the backdrop of white Christians’ anxieties as America’s racial and religious topography shifts around them.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

  • Author: Patrick Lencioni
  • Date: April 25
  • Time: 12-1p
  • Location: Norris
  • Facilitator: Jeremy Schenk

Book Description

In The Five Dysfunctions of a Team Patrick Lencioni once again offers a leadership fable that is as enthralling and instructive as his first two best-selling books, The Five Temptations of a CEO and The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive. This time, he turns his keen intellect and storytelling power to the fascinating, complex world of teams.

Kathryn Petersen, Decision Tech's CEO, faces the ultimate leadership crisis: Uniting a team in such disarray that it threatens to bring down the entire company. Will she succeed? Will she be fired? Will the company fail? Lencioni's utterly gripping tale serves as a timeless reminder that leadership requires as much courage as it does insight.

Throughout the story, Lencioni reveals the five dysfunctions which go to the very heart of why teams even the best ones-often struggle. He outlines a powerful model and actionable steps that can be used to overcome these common hurdles and build a cohesive, effective team. Just as with his other books, Lencioni has written a compelling fable with a powerful yet deceptively simple message for all those who strive to be exceptional team leaders.

I Love Learning: I Hate School

An Anthropology of College

  • Author: Susan D. Blum

My Freshman Year

  • Author: Rebekah Nathan
  • Date: July 25
  • Time: 12-1p
  • Location: 2122
  • Facilitators: Kelly Schaefer and Gigi Greene

Book Descriptions

In "I Love Learning; I Hate School," Blum tells two intertwined but inseparable stories: the results of her research into how students learn contrasted with the way conventional education works, and the personal narrative of how she herself was transformed by this understanding. Blum concludes that the dominant forms of higher education do not match the myriad forms of learning that help students―people in general―master meaningful and worthwhile skills and knowledge. Students are capable of learning huge amounts, but the ways higher education is structured often leads them to fail to learn. More than that, it leads to ill effects. In this critique of higher education, infused with anthropological insights, Blum explains why so much is going wrong and offers suggestions for how to bring classroom learning more in line with appropriate forms of engagement. She challenges our system of education and argues for a “reintegration of learning with life.”

After fifteen years of teaching anthropology at a large university, Rebekah Nathan had become baffled by her own students. Their strange behavior—eating meals at their desks, not completing reading assignments, remaining silent through class discussions—made her feel as if she were dealing with a completely foreign culture. So Nathan decided to do what anthropologists do when confused by a different culture: Go live with them. She enrolled as a freshman, moved into the dorm, ate in the dining hall, and took a full load of courses. And she came to understand that being a student is a pretty difficult job, too. Her discoveries about contemporary undergraduate culture are surprising and her observations are invaluable, making My Freshman Year essential reading for students, parents, faculty, and anyone interested in educational policy.