The Parkland READS book for 2015-2016 is Matthew Crawford's Shop Class as Soulcraft. The book challenges readers to re-think how we define and value work in the 21st century. The Philadelphia Inquirer's reviewer wrote that the book's "thought-provoking themes are well worth considering. . . as millions of unemployed Americans struggle to find work, any kind of work, let alone work that suits their skills and talents and offers, in Crawford's words, 'a tighter connection between life and livelihood.'"
The goal for next year is to focus on the nature of creativity in the workplace, and that includes creativity in our own work place. The book raises questions about the value of a college education and it's a book you'll want to discuss with colleagues across the campus.
I'll be posting more information about activities for students, book groups for faculty and staff, and other creative ideas evolving from themes raised in the book. Look for that next fall!
For the 2016-17 year, we'll have a new theme and I'll be looking to faculty and staff to help choose a book for the 2016/17 year this coming November so that more faculty can actually adopt the next book as part of their courses. This year, I'm behind so Crawford's Shop Class as Soulcraft is aimed more towards our own professional development, although I will be teaching it in all of my English 101 courses so if anyone else wants to adopt the book in fall, I'll have some materials and assignment ideas and will be happy to share those.
If you have questions, thoughts, suggestions or ideas, I'm the go-to person for all things Parkland READS. The program is fully supported by Parkland's library, the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, academic and student services. It's truly a cross-campus initiative and I look forward to your input about this book and future projects related to Parkland READS.
Amy Penne, Ph.D.
Professor of English
Parkland READS Coordinator
2400 W. Bradley Ave.
Champaign, IL 61821