Center for Teaching Excellence

Book Discussion Groups

Each semester the CTE selects several books on topics related to teaching and learning, diversity, and higher education. Book discussion groups meet regularly throughout the semester (approximately 5-8 times, depending on the length of the book). View past book selections 

Spring 2023 Book Discussion Groups

The CTE will host four book discussion groups in the spring semester. Groups will meet at the same day and time throughout the semester, and discussions will last for about an hour. The first meeting date is listed, and each facilitator and group will determine the frequency and reading schedule of their remaining meetings. Groups will meet in the CTE Stinson Lounge unless otherwise noted. 

Joining a book group

Sign up for a book group on this page or in the CTE Lounge. The CTE will provide all participants with a copy of the book (we cannot provide e-books at this time). 

Presumed Incompetent II: Race, Class, Power, and Resistance of Women in Academia, edited by Yolanda Flores Nieman et al.

Mondays at 2:00, beginning 1/23 | Facilitated by Minnie Catral (Mathematics) and Dalia Diab (Psychology)

The courageous and inspiring personal narratives and empirical studies in this book name formidable obstacles and systemic biases that all women faculty—from diverse intersectional and transnational identities and from tenure track, terminal contract, and administrative positions—encounter in their higher education careers. They provide practical, specific, and insightful guidance to fight back, prevail, and thrive in challenging work environments. This new volume comes at a crucial historical moment as the United States grapples with a resurgence of white supremacy and misogyny at the forefront of our social and political dialogues that continue to permeate the academic world.


Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone: Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education, by Thomas J. Tobin and Kristen T. Behling

Tuesdays at 11:00, beginning 1/24 | Facilitated by Bethany Lam (English)

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework grounded in the neuroscience of why, what, and how people learn. Tobin and Behling show that, although it is often associated with students with disabilities, UDL can be profitably broadened toward a larger ease-of-use and general diversity framework. Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone is aimed at faculty members, faculty-service staff, disability support providers, student-service staff, and campus leaders who want to strengthen the engagement, interaction, and performance of all college students. It includes resources for readers who want to become UDL experts and advocates: real-world case studies, active-learning techniques, UDL coaching skills, micro- and macro-level UDL-adoption guidance, and use-them-now resources.

After the Ivory Tower Falls: How College Broke the American Dream and Blew Up Our Politics—And How to Fix It, by Will Bunch

Wednesdays at 1:00, beginning 1/25 | Facilitated by Mack Mariani (Political Science and Faculty Director, Take It On)

This book group is co-sponsored by Take It On.

In After the Ivory Tower Falls, award-winning journalist Will Bunch embarks on a deeply reported journey to the heart of the American Dream. That journey begins in Gambier, Ohio, home to affluent, liberal Kenyon College, a tiny speck of Democratic blue amidst the vast red swath of white, post-industrial, rural midwestern America. To understand “the college question,” there is no better entry point than Gambier, where a world-class institution caters to elite students amidst a sea of economic despair. From there, Bunch traces the history of college in the U.S., from the landmark GI Bill through the culture wars of the 60’s and 70’s, which found their start on college campuses. We see how resentment of college-educated elites morphed into a rejection of knowledge itself—and how the explosion in student loan debt fueled major social movements like Occupy Wall Street. Bunch then takes a question we need to ask all over again—what, and who, is college even for?—and pushes it into the 21st century by proposing a new model that works for all Americans.

Unraveling Faculty Burnout: Pathways to Reckoning and Renewal, by Rebecca Pope-Ruark

Fridays at 12:00 on Zoom, beginning 1/27 | Facilitated by Supaporn Kradtap-Hartwell (Chemistry & CTE Faculty Director)

Burnout, a mental health syndrome caused by chronic workplace stress, is endemic to higher education in a patriarchal, productivity-obsessed culture. In this unique book, Rebecca Pope-Ruark, PhD, draws from her own burnout experience, as well as collected stories of faculty in various roles and career stages, interviews with coaches and educational developers, and extensive secondary research to address and mitigate burnout. Blending memoir, key research, and reflection opportunities, Pope-Ruark helps faculty not only address burnout personally but also use the tools in this book to eradicate the systemic conditions that cause it in the first place.