You’ve been hearing a lot from us lately about Warren St. John’s Outcasts United: An American Town, a Refugee Team, and One Woman’s Quest to Make a Difference. Today Noelle Call, Director of the First-Year Experience Course “University Connections” at Utah State University, discusses the book, how the faculty hopes it will impact the student body, and how incoming freshmen will utilize the themes of diversity and discrimination in this discussion-sparking read.
Outcasts United was selected for the 2010 common literature experience by a committee of USU faculty, staff, administrators and representatives from the local libraries. The committee reviewed books suggested by the campus and community at large as well as books used by summer reading programs at universities across the country…
The committee felt the book was a strong choice because of its wide appeal to readers and its potential for being integrated into the academic curriculum in a number of ways. The book will be required reading for the first-year students enrolling in the Fall 2010 sections of the USU 1010 University Connections course and those students enrolling in English 1010 for the 2010-2011 academic year.
We are hoping students will want to know more about the plight of refugees, the challenges of transitioning to a new country, and the realities of discrimination that still exist today. Students will be asked to write about their perception of the issues brought forth in the book. Classroom discussions will encourage students to explore the global politics that cause people to leave their countries and attempt to relocate in a very different world. In addition, students will be encouraged to look for ways to apply the themes to their own experiences including the transition challenges they may face in their new academic environment.