Book Clubs

See what the Center for Faculty Excellence is reading during the Spring 2024 semester!

Registration closed. Please check back for future Book Clubs.

After registration, you will receive meeting information (including a Zoom link, if applicable) as well as Outlook calendar invitations, and shortly thereafter, the book will be sent to your home.

Feel free to sign up for more than one book club!

Relationship-Rich Education: How Human Connections Drive Success in College

Book Club Facilitator: Meghan L. Cook, Assistant Director, Center for Faculty Excellence

Cover of Relationship-Rich Education: How Human Connections Drive Success in College

Book Authors: Peter Felten and Leo M. Lambert

Book Description (Excerpted from Amazon):

A mentor, advisor, or even a friend? Making connections in college makes all the difference.

What single factor makes for an excellent college education? As it turns out, it’s pretty simple: human relationships. Decades of research demonstrate the transformative potential and the lasting legacies of a relationship-rich college experience. Critics suggest that to build connections with peers, faculty, staff, and other mentors is expensive and only an option at elite institutions where instructors have the luxury of time with students. But in this revelatory book brimming with the voices of students, faculty, and staff from across the country, Peter Felten and Leo M. Lambert argue that relationship-rich environments can and should exist for all students at all types of institutions.

In Relationship-Rich Education, Felten and Lambert demonstrate that for relationships to be central in undergraduate education, colleges and universities do not require immense resources, privileged students, or specially qualified faculty and staff. All students learn best in an environment characterized by high expectations and high support, and all faculty and staff can learn to teach and work in ways that enable relationship-based education. Emphasizing the centrality of the classroom experience to fostering quality relationships, Felten and Lambert focus on students’ influence in shaping the learning environment for their peers, as well as the key difference a single, well-timed conversation can make in a student’s life. They also stress that relationship-rich education is particularly important for first-generation college students, who bring significant capacities to college but often face long-standing inequities and barriers to attaining their educational aspirations.

Drawing on nearly 400 interviews with students, faculty, and staff at 29 higher education institutions across the country, Relationship-Rich Education provides readers with practical advice on how they can develop and sustain powerful relationship-based learning in their own contexts. Ultimately, the book is an invitation―and a challenge―for faculty, administrators, and student life staff to move relationships from the periphery to the center of undergraduate education.

Book Club Meeting Dates

  • Wednesday, February 14, 10:30 a.m. to noon via Zoom
  • Wednesday, March 6, 10:30 a.m. to noon via Zoom
  • Wednesday, March 27, 10:30 a.m. to noon via Zoom
  • Wednesday, April 17, 10:30 a.m. to noon via Zoom

Ask Powerful Questions: Create Conversations that Matter

Book Club Facilitator: Anna Hernandez, academic and student success advisor

Book cover for Ask Powerful Questions: Create Conversations That Matter

Book Authors: Will Wise and Chad Littlefield

Book Description (Excerpted from Amazon):

What might happen if “small talk” was replaced with conversations that matter? In their Bestselling book, Will Wise and Chad Littlefield explain how the questions we traditionally ask are often meaningless when it comes to establishing a connection. Introducing a set of practice tools for understanding others by changing the way we ask questions, Will and Chad show how to transform “How are you?—I’m fine, thanks” into conversations that change not only how you lead but who you are as a person. Educators, business professionals, personal coaches, and anyone in a position of leadership will relate to the personal successes and failures Will shares. He unpacks the art of asking questions that lay the foundation for trust, psychological safety, productivity, and impact. Chad complements Will’s personal stories and examples with fascinating facts and nuances in neuroscience that are behind the art of asking. Together, the art of asking and the science behind it join to create a simple and powerful framework for leaders to build a culture of connection. In his book, Will and Chad break it down into six simple steps for all of us to be able to understand. The Asking Powerful Questions Pyramid™ shows you how to build:

  • Intention
  • Rapport
  • Openness
  • Listening
  • Empathy

Powerful questions can be used everywhere: from the board room to the city park, the dinner table to the grocery store. If you want to connect with employees at a team building retreat, hone your leadership skills as a new boss, improve the company culture where you work…this book is for you. If you want to navigate difficult conversations with your spouse or a friend, or practice presence-based listening with your kids…this book is for you. If you want to become a better educator and facilitate an ice breaker conversation with colleagues…this book is for you. Ask Powerful Questions invites the reader on a journey that explores: the clarity of intent, connecting through rapport, creating openness, reflective listening, and empathy. How can we explore the space between ourselves and others, and exchange meaningful perspectives? Just ask—powerfully.

Book Club Meeting Dates

  • Tuesday, February 20, 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in-person Hammond and/or via Zoom
  • Tuesday, March 19, 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in-person Hammond and/or via Zoom
  • Tuesday, April 16, 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in-person Hammond and/or via Zoom

The Happiness Advantage: How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life

Book Club Facilitator: Katie Bowers, OCEP Coordinator academics and accreditation

Book cover for The Happiness Advantage: How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life

Book Author: Shawn Achor

Book Description (Excerpted from Amazon):

Happiness is not the belief that we don’t need to change; it is the realization that we can.

Our most commonly held formula for success is broken. Conventional wisdom holds that once we succeed, we’ll be happy; that once we get that great job, win that next promotion, lose those five pounds, happiness will follow. But the science reveals this formula to be backward: Happiness fuels success, not the other way around.

Research shows that happy employees are more productive, more creative, and better problem solvers than their unhappy peers. And positive people are significantly healthier and less stressed and enjoy deeper social interaction than the less positive people around them.

Drawing on original research—including one of the largest studies of happiness ever conducted—and work in boardrooms and classrooms across forty-two countries, Shawn Achor shows us how to rewire our brains for positivity and optimism to reap the happiness advantage in our lives, our careers, and even our health. His strategies include:

• The Tetris Effect: how to retrain our brains to spot patterns of possibility so we can see and seize opportunities all around us
• Social Investment: how to earn the dividends of a strong social support network
• The Ripple Effect: how to spread positive change within our teams, companies, and families

By turns fascinating, hopeful, and timely, The Happiness Advantage reveals how small shifts in our mind-set and habits can produce big gains at work, at home, and elsewhere.

Book Club Meeting Dates

  • Wednesday, March 6, Noon to 1 p.m. in-person Hammond
  • Wednesday, April 10, Noon to 1 p.m. in-person Hammond (please note date change)
  • Wednesday, May 1, Noon to 1 p.m. in-person Hammond

Books Read in Previous Book Clubs