University of South Alabama, Office of Public Relations
April 2, 2013
Contact: Meredith Portman, USA Public Relations, (251) 460-6633

USA Announces Common Read Program

from left, Les Barnett, Dr. Todd Andel and Dr.
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The University of South Alabama is pleased to announce the new common reading program called Common Read/Common World. This is an optional learning initiative based on the shared experience of students, faculty, staff, and community members reading the same book.

The book selected for the 2013-2014 academic year is “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide,” written by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn of The New York Times. Described as “essential reading for every global citizen,” the book covers the outcomes of entrenched inequality throughout the world and the oppression of women and girls in the developing world.

The book has inspired the Half the Sky Movement,, which brings together video, websites, games, blogs and other educational tools to not only raise awareness of women's issues, but to also provide concrete steps to fight inequality and empower women.

“This book was chosen because the University of South Alabama community has the unique opportunity through initiatives and curricular connections to increase awareness, explore topics, and create dialogue around the global issues of education, inequity, and poverty,” said Dr. Peggy Delmas, assistant professor of leadership and teacher education and program co-chair.

Events and speakers related to the book and the documentary will be scheduled throughout the academic year for the purpose of allowing readers to engage critically with the ideas and themes of the book. Students and faculty will interact with the book in a variety of academic settings.

Common Read/Common World is a university-wide program that is a partnership between Academic Affairs and Student Affairs. The program co-chairs are Dr. Delmas and Dr. Krista Harrell, associate dean of students. Dr. Nicole Carr provides faculty support.

The purpose of the program is to:

  • Improve understanding of differences and commonalities across the world
  • Develop a more sophisticated understanding of values and ethics
  • Gain an understanding of how to make an impact in society
  • Engage in academic discourse and critical thinking
  • Create a sense of community among students, faculty, staff, and the greater Mobile area

Organizations interested in sponsoring a screening and/or discussion of the "Half the Sky" book and documentary on USA's campus should send dates and event information by Tuesday, April 30, to Dr. Krista Harrell at or to Dr. Peggy Delmas at

CommonRead/Common World will be an annual program with different books selections exploring various topics each year.


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