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Reading Groups

Continuing the tradition of asking the "big" questions through small, faculty-led reading groups.

Each semester, The Prindle Institute sponsors between reading groups on various topics related to ethics. The reading groups are composed of faculty, staff and students who meet several times throughout the semester to delve into the important questions of our time. Books and refreshments are provided by The Institute.

For guidelines on creating your own reading group, please click HERE.

Fall 2014 Reading Groups at The Prindle Institute

1.   Make it stick: The science of successful learning by peter C. brown, henry L. roediger III, and mark A. McDaniel

Led by Michael Roberts, Professor of Psychology

Learning is essential and life-long. Yet as these authors argue convincingly, people often use exactly the wrong strategies and don't  appreciate the ones that work. We've learned a lot in the last decade about applying cognitive science to real-world learning, and this book combines everyday examples with clear explanations of the research. It's easy to read—and should be easy to learn from, too! (Daniel L. Schacter, author of The Seven Sins of Memory)

This is a quite remarkable book. It describes important research findings with startling implications for how we can improve our own learning, teaching, and coaching. Even more, it shows us how more positive attitudes toward our own abilities – and the willingness to tackle the hard stuff – enables us to achieve our goals. The compelling stories bring the ideas out of the lab and into the real world. (Robert Bjork, University of California, Los Angeles)

2.  The nine elements of a sustainable campus by mitchell thomashow

Led by Richard Cameron, Professor of Philosophy, along with the Campus Sustainability Committee

The Campus Sustainability Committee would like to invite faculty, staff, administrators, and students to deepen and expand our shared understanding of what we’re working for when we’re working toward a culture of sustainability on campus by offering a reading group on Mitchell Thomashow’s recent book, The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus.  Thomashow has recently retired as the President of Unity College and now consults with campuses regarding sustainability transitions.  His book offers a fairly comprehensive picture of different aspects of campus life and how they fit together to form a rich sustainability culture regarding energy, food, materials, governance, investment, wellness, curriculum, interpretation, and aesthetics.  If interest in the reading group is high enough, we hope to be able to invite Thomashow to campus at the end of the semester to both meet with the group and consult with faculty, staff, administrators, and students about sustainability on DePauw’s campus in the coming years.

3.  Won't you be my neighbor?  

Led by Wes Kendall, pastor of Greencastle Presbyterian Church and John Rumple, pastor of St. Andrews Episcopal Church

What does it look like to be a good neighbor in the age of Amazon, work commutes, and social media?  In a series of three conversations, Rev. John Rumple of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church & Rev. Wes Kendall of Greencastle Presbyterian Church will invite this reading group to explore what neighborliness means today.  Participants in this group will be invited to listen to a podcast from NPR's This American Life, to interact with a short-story from Barbara Kingsolver's Small Wonder, and to explore Walter Brueggemann's book, Journey to the Common Good. In his book Brueggemann, one of the foremost Old Testament scholars, digs into the ancient stories of Israel to bring up relevant questions for our 21st century global world, including:  What does it look like to create healthy, just communities? All three resources are intended to help you consider the richness of the community that surrounds you while also considering what may be holding you or others from a deeper experience of community.  The aim of the reading group will also be geared towards considering ways we can work for the common good of DePauw, Greencastle, and Putnam County.