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New Student Common Reading Program: Book Selection Process

A planning site

About the Program

Incoming students will read the selected book during summer 2018 and discuss it in small, faculty-led groups during Orientation Week. A campus-wide speaker event on the book's subject will be scheduled during the academic year.

Objectives of the Program

  • To acquaint new students with Cal Maritime’s academic environment, including its mission and values
  • To initiate relationships between students and the campus community
  • To introduce students to academic discussion
  • To inspire a lifelong love of learning

Selection Committee

Michele Van Hoeck, Co-Chair, Dean of Library

Aparna Sinha, Co-Chair, Culture & Communication

Julie Chisholm, Culture & Communication

Margot Hanson, Library

Mike Holden, Mechanical Engineering

Elaine Kociolek, Student Engagement & Academic Support

Alex Parker, Science & Math

Amy Parsons, Culture & Communication

Martin Shimada, student

Marissa Sutro, Marine Transportation

2018 Selection

2018 Theme: Global Awareness

Global Learning includes Global Awareness and is one of ten Institution Wide Learning Outcomes at Cal Maritime. Our Assessment Council (IWAC) describes Global Learning as 1) knowledge of global cultures and the environmental diversity that sustains human life, and 2) understanding of the responsibilities associated with promoting the welfare of the cultures of humanity and of the natural systems of planet Earth.

Final rating criteria for selection

1. Relevant to the Cal Maritime mission. The connection can be indirect, but it should be consistent throughout the book.

2. Multifaceted. Can the book’s themes be approached from most major fields (science, business, humanities, etc.)?  Major themes must hold up under scrutiny.

3. Non-didactic. The book's themes shouldn't be too obvious or heavy-handed.

4. Artful, but not overwrought (prose style). It should be entertaining, but also thought provoking.

5. Impressive, to you. Rank the book for its "wow-factor."


Additional criteria: The committee will give preference to books under 400 pages, but strong recommendations for longer books will be considered. Committee also gives preference to books available in paperback.

Cal Maritime Mission for Undergrads

  • Provide each student with a college education combining intellectual learning, applied technology, leadership development, and global awareness.
  • Provide the highest quality licensed officers and other personnel for the merchant marine and national maritime industries.