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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Book Discussion Groups

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Book Discussion Groups meet 3-5 times to explore a variety of themes related to teaching and learning. CETL provides the books, beverages, and a location. We also help you recruit participants. So far, we have picked 5 books for faculty/staff to read and discuss. Some are related to our themes and others just help us do our jobs better.

Out of Chaos: Reflections of a University President and His Contemporaries on Vietnam-era Unrest in Mankato and Its Relevance Today by James F. Nickerson

Out of Chaos is a collection of personal reminiscences that provide a glimpse into what Mankato was like during the 1960s and 1970s. The book was created by Dr. James F. Nickerson, former Mankato State College president, with input from a variety of graduates, faculty, administrators and citizens who were witnesses to these local events. It is by piecing these stories together that the reader gets an understanding of this dynamic time period and how one person can make a difference in the outcome of events. 

This book is the Minnesota State University, Mankato 2017 Common Read and is part of the University's Sesquicentennial Celebration

Dates: September 8, 29 and October 13, 2017. 10:00 - 11:00 am.

Location: ML 88A - Conference Room

Facilitator: Jennifer Turner (Library) and Monika Antonelli (Library)


Awakening Compassion at Work: The Quiet Power That Elevates People and Organizations by Jane E. Dutton and Monica C. Worline

Suffering in the workplace can rob our colleagues and coworkers of humanity, dignity, and motivation and is an unrecognized and costly drain on organizational potential. Marshaling evidence from two decades of field research, scholars and consultants Monica Worline and Jane Dutton show that alleviating such suffering confers measurable competitive advantages in areas like innovation, collaboration, service quality, and talent attraction and retention. They outline four steps for meeting suffering with compassion and show how to build a capacity for compassion into the structures and practices of an organization—because ultimately, as they write, “Compassion is an irreplaceable dimension of excellence for any organization that wants to make the most of its human capabilities.”

This book will include a campus visit by one of the authors.

Dates: Fall 2017 (specific dates to be arranged by the group)

Location: TBA

Facilitator: Jose Lopez (Geography)


Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, Mark A. McDaniel

To most of us, learning something "the hard way" implies wasted time and effort. Good teaching, we believe, should be creatively tailored to the different learning styles of students and should use strategies that make learning easier. Make It Stick turns fashionable ideas like these on their head. Drawing on recent discoveries in cognitive psychology and other disciplines, the authors offer concrete techniques for becoming more productive learners.

Memory plays a central role in our ability to carry out complex cognitive tasks, such as applying knowledge to problems never before encountered and drawing inferences from facts already known. New insights into how memory is encoded, consolidated, and later retrieved have led to a better understanding of how we learn. Grappling with the impediments that make learning challenging leads both to more complex mastery and better retention of what was learned.

Many common study habits and practice routines turn out to be counterproductive. Underlining and highlighting, rereading, cramming, and single-minded repetition of new skills create the illusion of mastery, but gains fade quickly. More complex and durable learning come from self-testing, introducing certain difficulties in practice, waiting to re-study new material until a little forgetting has set in, and interleaving the practice of one skill or topic with another. Speaking most urgently to students, teachers, trainers, and athletes, Make It Stick will appeal to all those interested in the challenge of lifelong learning and self-improvement.

Dates: Fall 2017 (specific dates to be announced)

Location: TBA

Facilitator: Karla Lassonde (Psychology)

Dr. Lassond used this book in one of her classes this year, and the students loved it. Now she wants to share the book with her colleagues.


35 Dumb Things Well-Intended People Say: Surprising Things We Say That Widen the Diversity Gap by Maura Cullen

Even well-intended people can cause harm. Have you ever heard yourself or someone else say:

Some of my best friends are... (Black, White, Asian, etc.)

I don't think of you as... (Gay, Disabled, Jewish, etc.)

I don't see color, I'm colorblind.

These statements and dozens like them can build a divide between us and the people we interact with. Though well-intended, they often widen the diversity gap sometimes causing irreparable harm personally and professionally. If you've ever wanted to be more effective in your communication with others, or have been afraid of saying the wrong thing, then this concise guide is essential to becoming more inclusive and diversity-smart. 

This book discussion is a collaboration between CETL and Institutional Diversity.

Dates: Spring 2017 (specific dates to be announced)

Location: TBA

Facilitator: Jessica Flatequal (Women’s Center/Gender & Women’s Studies) and Jennifer Veltsos (CETL)


Hacking Engagement: 50 Tips & Tools To Engage Teachers and Learners Daily by James Alan Sturtevant.

Student engagement is the key to success for every teacher, and this is your engagement strategy blueprint. Many students are bored and disengaged. Teachers feel handcuffed by outdated textbooks, standardized curriculum, and disinterested students. What if you could solve these problems immediately and excite even your most reluctant learner daily?

Engaging learners is all about connecting and making education fun. Hacking Engagement, the 7th book in the popular Hack Learning Series, provides 50 unique, exciting, and actionable tips and tools that you can apply right now. And there's something here for every teacher--no matter what grade or subject you teach. Try one of these amazing engagement strategies tomorrow.

Dates: Spring 2017 (specific dates to be announced)

Location: TBA

Facilitator: TBA (any volunteers?)