October 6, 2012

Seventh UW Common Book explores the meaning and power of respect

By Undergraduate Academic Affairs

Respect: An Exploration by Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot has been selected as the seventh University of Washington Common Book. The UW Common Book project welcomes freshmen and transfer students to the University’s academic community through a shared reading experience and offers opportunities for students and faculty to enjoy special common book events and discussions.

Respect tells the stories of six remarkable but ordinary people and the central role that the value of respect plays in their lives and work. The accounts span the human experience, from birth to death and across a wide range of professions including midwife, pediatrician, teacher, professor, artist, and therapist, each revealing another dimension or “window” into the nature of respect. Several stories also describe the experiences of students.

“Not only is respect a UW value,” says Ed Taylor, vice provost and dean of Undergraduate Academic Affairs. “But the book itself is a wonderful introduction to a particular form of scholarship practiced by our faculty. This is work of deep inquiry. It is an example of questioning and the kind of discovery and insight that come from careful observation, analysis, and thought.”

The author, Lawrence-Lightfoot, is a noted educator, researcher, author and public intellectual. She is a professor in the School of Education at Harvard University and author of 10 books. Lawrence-Lightfoot has received broad public and academic acclaim for her work, including a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship.

As in past years, this year’s Common Book project encompassed a number of student oriented-activities including a  lecture by Lawrence-Lightfoot on November 5. Additionally, for the first time the Common Book served as a text for Freshmen Interest Groups (FIGs) and Transfer Interest Groups (TriGs). FIGs and TrIGS are small student-led classes designed to help incoming students make the transition into the UW community.

To help integrate the Common Book into the FIG curriculum, a group of student FIG leaders met weekly during spring quarter to develop new classroom exercises and assignments around Respect.

Students received a copy of Respect during their summer orientation and advising sessions and were asked to read it over the summer before the start of classes.

The Common Book is sponsored by Undergraduate Academic Affairs. Learn more online via the Common Book website.

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