Book Group Guidelines


The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning sponsors faculty/contract staff book groups each fall and spring semester.  The list of titles is distributed to campus and posted on the website before the semester begins, and you are encouraged to select a first and second choice from the list.  The CETL orders and distributes the books to each book group member.  Groups may choose their own facilitator or you may sign up for a book and be placed in a group based on that choice via the Book Group Sign-Up form.  

How often will the group meet?

Most book groups typically meet once a month and discuss a few chapters per meeting.  Be sure to set a consistent time and place for meetings so that you do not have to go through the process of scheduling each meeting.  Make it clear to members that they are expected to plan their schedule around your set time, not vice versa.  There are many areas on campus that you can schedule in advance.  Some groups like to meet over coffee and pastry or a brown-bag lunch, for example.  If face-to-face meetings are not possible for your group, you may want to set up an online meeting space such as Zoom or Google Meet. Once you have established guidelines for your book groups, it is time to focus on the actual discussions.

Discussion Questions for Nonfiction

Biographies, memoirs, essays, and historical accounts can all be very good reads, with topics ranging from politics and religion to science and technology.  The following questions should help provide some ideas for discussion.

  • What did you find surprising about the facts introduced in this book?
  • How has reading this book changed your opinion of a certain person or topic?
  • Does the author present information in a way that is interesting and insightful, and if so, how does he or she achieve this?
  • If the author is writing on a debatable issue, does he or she give proper consideration to all sides of the debate? Does he or she seem to have a bias?
  • How has the book increased your interest in the subject matter?

How Much Should We Read?

This should be decided at your first meeting. The facilitator can draw up a basic reading schedule if necessary, and your group discussions can follow. Some groups wish to have lenient schedule and periodically meet to generally discuss the book. Either way is great. It's your book group, so make it work for you. The most successful book groups find ways to apply what is read to the everyday questions and problems that arise in teaching. In this way, your book group can become a wonderful cross-disciplinary support for you.

Please contact CETL office for more information.

Contact us at ext. 7667 or e-mail to arrange for lunch vouchers or if you have any question.

The Facilitator's Role

  • Contact Group Members to set up first meeting.
  • Set the agenda
  • Provide the CETL with a short synopsis of the overall group's discussion as well as recommendations on the usefulness of the book.
  • Contact the CETL if questions or problems arise.

We are located in Lampros Hall 216.