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New Student Common Reading Program: Book Selection Process

A planning site

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

Matthew Fairbanks, Science & Math

Mike Holden, Mechanical Engineering

Valerie Holl McGowan, Marine Transportation

Ali Moradmand, Science & Math

Alex Parker, Science & Math

Amy Parsons, Culture & Communication

Sam Pearson, Marine Transportation

Ariel Setniker, Science & Math

Martin Shimada, student, Marine Engineering Technology

2020 Selection

2020 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 sustain 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.