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The 2024 UD First Year Common Reader is “I Never Thought of It That Way: How To Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations In Dangerously Divided Times” by Monica Guzman. First-year students are encouraged to read the book before arriving on campus and participate in campus programs centered on themes of the book.
The 2024 UD First Year Common Reader is “I Never Thought of It That Way: How To Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations In Dangerously Divided Times” by Monica Guzman. First-year students are encouraged to read the book before arriving on campus and participate in campus programs centered on themes of the book.

2024 UD Common Reader announced

Photos courtesy of Monica Guzman | Photo illustration by Jeffrey C. Chase

First-year students to read ‘I Never Thought of It That Way’ by Monica Guzman

Since 2009, the University of Delaware’s First Year Seminar Program has shared the Common Reader program that provides first-year undergraduates an opportunity to engage in meaningful conversation with fellow students and begin sharing in the intellectual life of the entire University community. The Common Reader for fall 2024 is I Never Thought of It That Way: How To Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations In Dangerously Divided Times by Monica Guzman.

Guzman’s book is highly accessible and provides strategies for facilitating conversations with people from different perspectives, especially as we go into a highly charged presidential election. The book builds on the commitment that the University has to fostering an environment that emphasizes civil discourse and will provide a foundation for this type of work as students move through their college career. With efforts such as the SNF Ithaca Initiative in the Biden School, the commitment to fostering more robust and meaningful engagement across differences on campus is showing up in classrooms, residence halls and beyond. 

Timothy J. Shaffer, whose Biden School course “Citizens, Civility and Change” has used Guzman’s book, highlighted that the book addresses some of the most fundamental issues we face right now in this country. 

“By weaving her personal story into the text, the recommendations she makes based on solid scholarship and practice are accessible and useful,” Shaffer said.

UD students also highlighted the usefulness of I Never Thought of it That Way. After reading the book, “first-year students will be better equipped to have conversations with those different from them and build better, long-lasting relationships,” said Elizabeth Ohakah, a junior political science major who read the book last fall in Shaffer’s class. 

Next steps for new Blue Hens

Meghan Biery, program manager for the First Year Seminar Program, emphasized the importance that New Blue Hens read the book this summer. A copy of the book will be available for purchase at New Student Orientation courtesy of the University Bookstore. Students will discuss the book in their First Year Seminar courses with their instructors and peer mentors.

Previous Common Readers include Maid by Stephanie Land, Educated by Tara Westover and Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson.

For more information, please visit: https://www.commonreader.fye.udel.edu/

About First Year Seminar Program

The First Year Seminar Program provides UD first-year students the opportunity to think critically and develop social skills as they transition to campus life. The program promotes academic excellence and advances students’ academic success by providing learning opportunities that enhance students’ educational experiences. 

Other programs that support undergraduate students include the McNair Scholars Program, Office of Academic Enrichment, Student Support Services Program and the University Studies Program.

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