Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning


CETL Book Talks are a time-honored tradition in which colleagues have got together and had profound dialogues and animated discussions, as well as shared diverse perspectives about books of interest to the University Community as a whole. 

Book Talks

If you know of a book that would be of university-wide interest, we invite you to be a Book Talk Facilitator.


  • Submit name of book, author, a blurb or short review and/or quotes from book or reviewer about the book, suggested date and time for talk, and possible audience—university wide and/or specialized
  • Submit proposal using the Book Talk Proposal Form
  • Book talks are generally held between 3 and 4 weeks after announcements.
  • Be prepared to submit weekly announcements through CETL with your comments and teasers on the book to all faculty and staff, and/or to the book talk participants.
  • A final reminder will be sent from CETL a 3-4 days before the book talk.
  • Further suggestions for facilitator: Post additional comments and teasers on SCSU Discuss for possible discussion.
  • At your request, CETL will create flyers or posters for your book talk.

Conversations with Campus Authors

Conversations with Campus Authors have provided a context to felicitate colleagues on their accomplishments and find out more about the path they traversed to publish their books or creative works.

If you have published a book or authored a creative work recently, send us an email.






Booktalk“Integrating Mindfulness into Anti-Oppression Pedagogy: Social Justice in Higher Education


Author: Dr. Beth Berila

Thursday, April 7, 2016 12:30-1:30 PM

Miller Center 114/115

Racism, Sexism, Classism, Ableism, Homophobia, Transphobia, Xenophobia, and other "isms" send us toxic messages about ourselves and others in our group. If we are members of marginalized groups, chances are we have layers of harmful internalized oppression to unlearn. But how do we do so with fierce compassion? Drawing from mindfulness education and social justice teaching, this book explores an anti-oppressive pedagogy for university and college classrooms. Authentic classroom discussions about oppression and diversity can be difficult; a mindful approach allows students to explore their experiences with compassion and to engage in critical inquiry to confront their deeply held beliefs and value systems.





our kidsOur Kids: The American Dream in Crisis

Author: Robert D. Putnam

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016 8:45-10:00 am

Miller Center 114/115

Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis by Robert D. Putnam is a groundbreaking examination of the growing inequality gap from the bestselling author of Bowling Alone: Why fewer Americans today have the opportunity for upward mobility.

During the Student Success Campus Conversations, the Provost asked 4 key questions. One question was “What would it look like if we were the leader within our peer institutions in serving AND graduating students of color with no achievement gaps?” This book provides an examination of the opportunity gap in the educational system. The narrative provides a great reference point to anchor thoughtful conversations around the origins of the achievement gap. With that understanding our community — students, faculty, staff, and administrators — can think creatively on how best to respond to the provost’s very important question.








Chirs Lehman Book Civil Rights Movement

Power, Politics, and the Decline of the Civil Rights Movement

Author and Facilitator: Chris Lehmann, Professor of Ethnic Studies, SCSU and Social Historian

Thursday, November 20, 2014, 9:00-11:00 am

Miller Center 114/115

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Congress of Racial Equality, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and the National Urban League were national civil rights organizations that worked together as a movement to address the civil rights concerns of African Americans. Ending segregation was a goal the groups had in common, but after that legally happened through the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, unifying issues were harder to come by. The coalition was not that cohesive before then, but the organizations had put up a public united front. The fissures became more public when the groups disagreed about the “Black Power” phrase in 1966, and the following year they further split on whether to oppose President Lyndon Johnson’s handling of the Vietnam War. The coalition eventually came to a consensus on both issues, but the movement’s infighting and the federal government’s efforts at sabotage permanently split the coalition by late 1973. Power, Politics, and the Decline of the Civil Rights Movement traces the development of that split. "Power, Politics, and the Decline of the Civil Rights Movement"





Bill Meissner's The Road to Cosmos The Road to Cosmos

Author and Facilitator: Bill Meissner, Professor of Creative Writing, SCSU

Thursday, February 26 2:00-3:00 pm

Miller Center 117


THE ROAD TO COSMOS is a collection of 35 short stories about the unique characters in the mythical town of Cosmos, USA. In an informal session, Meissner will read passages from the book and answer questions about stories and their creation. “(Bill Meissner is)… A storyteller with remarkable gifts.”






The App Generation Book Talk Flyer

The App Generation: How Today's Youth Navigate Identity, Intimacy, and Imagination in a Digital Age

Author and Facilitator: Howard Gardner & Katie Davis

Wednesday,March 25 11:00-12:00 pm

Miller Center 117


"The book is a must reading for parents, teachers and policy makers. It presents a portrait of today's young people, not in terms of the traditional historical events of their lives, but instead the digital technology that shaped this generation. It compellingly and powerfully examines the impact, consequences, and implications for their and society's future."---- Arthur Levine, President of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation & former President of Teachers College, Columbia University.






new science of learning book The New Science of Learning

Author: Terry Doyle and Todd Zakrajsek

Facilitator: Carol Borden, Amy Hebert, and Shawn Meyer

Thursday, April 10, 2:30-4:00pm (Atwood- Voyageurs North)

"This is a path-breaking book. Faculties have been learning about how the mind works, and this book spreads the message to students, who need it just as much. More sophisticated and empirically grounded than any study skills manual, this book addresses all the major research findings on how the human brain learns. And it does so using language and examples that students can easily understand and immediately apply to enhance their attention, depth of processing, retention, retrieval, and far-transfer abilities. Plus, each chapter ends with excellent summaries and scholarly references. It deserves to be required reading for all college students―really, anyone interested in learning."?Linda B. Nilson, Director, Office of Teaching Effectiveness and Innovation, Clemson University.






The Way I See It

Author: Temple Grandin

Facilitator: Dr. Theresa Estrem, Dr. Rebecca Crowell and Communication Sciences and Disorders graduate students

Thursday, April 17, 12:30-1:30pm (Glacier South, Atwood)

Dr. Temple Grandin, a highly successful adult who has autism and best-selling author, gets down to the REAL issues of autism, the ones parents, teachers, and individuals on the autismspectrum face every day. Dr. Grandin offers helpful and practical strategies, all based on her “insider” perspective and the most current autism research.

The book has 9 chapters, and participants are welcome to read all of them! Of the 9 chapters, we encourage each participant to choose at least 3 chapters. We will break into small groups for more in-depth discussions of your 3 favorite chapters.

Some of the specific topics covered:

  • How and Why People with Autism Think Differently
  • Economical Early Intervention Programs that Work
  • How Sensory Sensitivities Affect Learning
  • Behaviors Caused by a Disability vs. Just Bad Behaviors
  • Teaching People with Autism to Live in an Unpredictable World
  • Alternative Medicine vs. Conventional Medicine
  • Employment Ideas for Adults with Autism

________________________________________________________________________march book talk

The Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and their Forgotten World War

Author: Richard Rubin

Facilitator: Karen Thoms

Friday, March 28, 12-1:30pm (Miller Center 114/115)

In 2003, 85 years after the armistice, it took Richard Rubin months to find just one living American veteran of World War I. But then, he found another. And another. Eventually he managed to find dozens, aged 101 to 113, and interview them. All are gone now. A decade-long odyssey to recover the story of a forgotten generation and their Great War led Rubin across the United States and France, through archives, private collections, and battlefields, literature, propaganda, and even music.

The author will be at SCSU on Tuesday, April 8, from 7-9:00pm. Register through the Foundation Office to attend the event.







Steve's Book ClubSteve’s Book Club!

Four bi-weekly sessions to discuss the book: Contemplative Practices in Higher Education: Powerful Methods to Transform Teaching and Learning

Authors: Dan Barbezat and Mirabai Bush

Facilitator: Steve Hoover

Thursday, March 20, 3-4:30 (Miller Center 114/115)
Thursday, April 3, 3-4:30
(Miller Center 114/115)
Thursday, April 17, 3-4:30
(Miller Center 114/115)
Thursday, May 1, 3-4:30
(Miller Center 114/115)

Each session will be devoted to discussing a section of the book and, more importantly, the sharing of ideas and strategies for how contemplative practices highlighted in the book can be used in instruction. Contemplative practices are used in just about every discipline—from physics to economics to history—and are found in every type of institution. This book presents background information and ideas for the practical application of contemplative practices across the academic curriculum from the physical sciences to the humanities and arts.

“Contemplative Practices in Higher Education represents an instant classic in a growing movement that promises to bring greater depth, resonance, and engagement to college students’ learning experience. Dan Barbezat and Mirabai Bush document a stunning array of contemplative applications, revealing a robust and innovative field of pedagogy.” -Daniel Goleman, author, Emotional Intelligence.



speaking to the field mice

Speaking to the Field Mice

A collection of poetry by Steve Klepetar

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013 12:00-1:00 PM

Kiva Room (A220), Education Building

Steve Klepetar, long time faculty member in the English Department, is the author of six chapbooks and the full length collection, Speaking to the Field Mice, which clusters around stories, the act of storytelling and the power of narrative. Many poems in the collection work with memories, both real and surreal; fold tales; myth; tales invented for each day of the week; narratives about magical women and girls; even a hapless man who loses his girlfriend because he is incapable of making anything up - which turns out to be quite a story in itself.

We will be hosting this conversation with a campus author in the cozy setting pictured below. Chair seating will also be available!

Kiva Room










Young and Digital Cover

The Young & the Digital

Author: S. Craig Watkins

Thursday, September 26th, 2013 1:00-2:30 PM

Alumni Room, Atwood Memorial Center

Facilitators: Wade Nelson, Plamen Miltenhoff, Keith Ewing


In 2006, S. Craig Watkins participated in the MacArthur Foundation’s well-funded digital media initiative alongside a select team of scholars and tech experts. The goal was simple: to understand young people’s emphatic embrace of social and mobile media. Watkins went on to build a small research team which skillfully collected over 500 surveys and conducted 350 in-depth interviews with young adults, parents, and educators while visiting the online spaces where young people gather. It was a full-scale immersion into what Watkins calls the “digital trenches,” and when he emerged, his understanding of the ways young people learn, play, bond, and communicate grew more detailed and dynamic.

It may come as no surprise that more teens are online than ever before-in fact 87% are. Consequentially, television is no longer the dominant medium it once was because young people are now spending an average of six to eight hours a day online. Watkins contends that most teens and twenty-somethings migrate online to share their lives with friends, something television simply cannot offer. As Melinda, a 21-year old student proclaimed, “What do people do without Facebook?” In other words, for young people today, if you’re not online, then you’re not really living-and the ubiquitous presence of mobile phones, laptops, and iPods position them at the center of our evolving digital landscape.

Timely and deeply relevant, The Young and the Digital covers a host of provocative issues: the influence of social sites like MySpace and Facebook, a growing appetite for “anytime, anywhere” media and “fast entertainment,” how online “digital gates” reinforce race and class divisions; how technology is transforming America’s classrooms; a fresh look at the pivotal role technology played in the historic 2008 election. Watkins also debunks popular myths surrounding cyberpredators, Internet addiction, and social isolation. The result is a fascinating portrait, both optimistic and cautious, about the coming of age of the first fully wired generation.





Thinking Fast and Slow

Thinking, Fast & Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Thursday, March 21st, 2013 3:30 - 5:00 p.m.

Facilitators: Chris Jazwinski, Joe Melcher and Mary Bodvarsson

Click here for more details and registration information









Quiet Book

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013, 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

Facilitators: Suzanne Stangl-Erkens & Wendy Bjorklund

Click here for images of event












Detroit: I Do Mind Dying by Dan Georgakas and Marvin Surkin

Thursday, November 15, 2012, 1:00-2:00 p.m.

Facilitator: Luke Tripp

Details available in archives