;"The Checklist Manifesto," by Atul Gawande is the common summer reading for the incoming class of first-year students at Catawba College. These students will be discussing this text during orientation in August and during their fall semester first-year seminar classes.
"The Checklist Manifesto" focuses on how humans can avoid making costly and dangerous errors in an increasingly complex technological society. The book relates several real-world examples from medicine, construction, and aviation, and includes an account of US Airways flight 1549 that shows how checklists and teamwork contributed to the plane's miracle landing on the Hudson River.
Catawba's Common Summer Reading committee, comprised of students, staff and faculty, made "The Checklist Manifesto" its selection in part because "it is optimistic, fast-paced and relevant to the students' daily lives." The committee also found that the book affords "discussion of deeper questions about human nature and our essential fallibility, particularly in situations where making errors by failing to use available information has serious consequences."
Dr. Sheila Brownlow, a professor of psychology at Catawba who directs the first-year seminar program and coordinates the common summer reading committee, noted that "The Checklist Manifesto" also stresses the importance of teamwork. This concept of teamwork, she said, "will fit well in conversations in first-year seminar classes about the role of citizens and their ties with communities."
"Checklist" can easily connect to the themes of many first-year seminars that will be offered, in addition to the argument that checklists are excellent devices for any and all people engaging in complex tasks, the common summer reading committee reported. "We hope our first-year students will find checklist-making to be a good skill to develop as they begin their college career. Finally, "The Checklist Manifesto" as the summer reading affords potential co-curricular fall activities for our students, as they could potentially hear about people in disparate fields who offer their observations on the uses of checklists."
Author Atul Gawande is a professor at Harvard Medical School and a staff writer with "The New Yorker." He is also author of "Better" and "Complications."
In addition to Brownlow, other members of the common summer reading committee include students Megan Bean and Jacob Regensberger, staff members Liam Farrell and Carol Gamble, and faculty Drs. Steve Coggin, Gordon Grant, John Zerger and Carl Girelli.
The Catawba College Common Summer Reading Program, started in 2005, is an initiative intended to get incoming first-year students talking about important issues. The program affords an opportunity to participate in and contribute to the intellectual life of the college before students arrive on campus and provides them with a shared academic experience during orientation and the first semester.
Catawba's previous common reading texts have included "Why Things Bite Back" by Edward Tenner (2005); "Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini (2006); "Mountains Beyond Mountains" by Tracy Kidder (2007); "We Are All the Same" by Jim Wooten (2008); "In the Hot Zone: One Man, One Year, Twenty Wars" by Kevin Sites (2009),"Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson (2010), and "Zeitoun" by Dave Eggers (2011).
Ketner School of Business 2012 Summer Reading
While Catawba's incoming first-year students read "The Checklist Manifesto," current Catawba students enrolled in upper level business and communication courses will also read a common text in preparation for their fall courses.
The Ketner School of Business School faculty have selected "Inside Coca-Cola: A CEO's Life Story of Building the World's Most Popular Brand," by Neville Isdell with David Beasley as the business school's common reading text for 2012.
Isdell was a key player at Coca-Cola for more than 30 years until his retirement as CEO in 2009. He is credited with helping re-gild the tarnished brand image of the world's leading soft-drink company.
Members of the Ketner School of Business Advisory Board will also be reading this text. Some members of this board will participate as panelists in a discussion forum about it slated at 7 p.m. Sept. 5 in Tom Smith Auditorium on campus.
WHY and HOW this Book Was Chosen
Reading and Study Guide
First-Years' Common Summer Reading
Business School's Common Reading