Common Reading Program

Kent State University 2016 Common Reading Book Announced

The Common Reading Committee and the Office of Student Success Programs is pleased to announce the selection of this year’s Kent State Common Reading book The Work by Wes Moore.

The Work is the story of how one young man traced a path through the world to find his life’s purpose. Wes Moore graduated from a difficult childhood in the Bronx and Baltimore to an adult life that would find him at some of the most critical moments in our recent history: as a combat officer in Afghanistan; a White House fellow in a time of wars abroad and disasters at home; and a Wall Street banker during the financial crisis. In this insightful book, Moore shares the lessons he learned from people he met along the way—from the brave Afghan translator who taught him to find his fight, to the resilient young students in Katrina-ravaged Mississippi who showed him the true meaning of grit, to his late grandfather, who taught him to find grace in service.

Moore also tells the stories of other twenty-first century change-makers who’ve inspired him in his search, from Daniel Lubetzky, the founder of KIND, to Esther Benjamin, a Sri Lankan immigrant who rose to help lead the Peace Corps. What their lives—and his own misadventures and moments of illumination—reveal is that our truest work happens when we serve others, at the intersection between our gifts and our broken world. That’s where we find the work that lasts.

An intimate narrative about finding meaning in a volatile age, The Work will inspire readers to see how we can each find our own path to purpose and help create a better world.

About the author: Wes Moore is a Rhodes Scholar, a combat veteran of Afghanistan, and has worked as a Special Assistant to Secretary Condoleezza Rice at the State Department as a White House Fellow. He was a featured speaker at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, named one of Ebony magazine’s Top 30 Leaders Under 30 (2007), and most recently, dubbed one of the top young business leaders in America in Crain’s. He lives in Jersey City, New Jersey.


What is the Common Reading Program?

The Common Reading Program is designed to welcome and connect incoming students to the Kent State University academic community. It is our hope that reading the book will provide common ground for our new students to share with their peers. The objectives of the program are:

To help students get acclimated to the academic life of the university.
To provide students with an understanding of the university values, principles, and standards.
To build and maintain relationships that foster success with peers, faculty, staff, administrators, and community members.

All new students will discuss the book with faculty, staff or community members on August 26th, 2016 during Destination Kent State: Welcome Weekend. The program, as a whole, will build a supportive and encouraging atmosphere that will ease the transition to university life. The book will be available for purchase at the University Bookstore in May.

The Work by Wes Moore is available at the Kent State University Bookstore for a special Destination Kent State price of $16.00.
Visit the first floor of the Kent Student Center or order online at

Common Reading Assignment (PDF)   Author Interview   NPR Interview

Common Reading Facilitators

The Common Reading Program is regularly seeks 200 faculty, staff and alumni to facilitate book discussions during Destination Kent State: Welcome Weekend. The Common Reading Program will involve a one hour discussion on Friday, August 26, 2016 from 2:00pm-3:00pm. Prior to the actual discussion, discussion leaders will be provided with a copy of the book, a training session, and discussion materials. There will be several training sessions that will be held throughout the summer for new and returning discussion leaders.

Become a Facilitator

Common Reading FAQs

Who Participates in the Common Reading Discussion?

All new incoming freshman students will participate.

Where will the Common Reading Discussion take place?

You will be notified of your Common Reading Discussion location when you check in for Welcome Weekend. Students will meet with their First Year Experience (FYE) class as their assigned group for the discussion. You will NOT be in your regularly scheduled FYE course location. 

Is the book for a class?

This experience is intended as an academic component for Welcome Weekend and the book is not tied to a specific class. Some FYE Instructors and other course instructors adopt the book for their course for the semester. It is not an expectation of FYE instructors to adopt the book as part of the class

Do my assignment responses need to be typed?

Yes, please type your responses to the questions. Be sure to include your name on the page.

How long do my responses need to be?

You should provide a minimum of 3 sentences per question. Some questions may require a list with explanation.

Will I be turning in my assignment questions?

You will be utilizing your answers to the questions during the Common Reading Discussion. It is also possible that you may be asked to turn in your responses to your discussion leader or FYE instructor.