Faculty/Staff Resources

The Sixth Extinction

Faculty/Staff Resources

Faculty/Staff Resources

Dear Rowan Community,

I am delighted to announce the book selected for Rowan's 6th annual RU Reading Together common reading program is The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by science writer Elizabeth Kolbert, winner of the 2015 Pulitzer prize for nonfiction and one of the New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of the Year. An engaging science writer, Kolbert explores evidence that Earth is undergoing its sixth mass extinction of flora and fauna; however, unlike the previous five events, this one is caused by human activity. The Sixth Extinction is a timely choice for the Rowan community due to our long-standing concern for the environment and the advent of the Jean and Ric Edelman Fossil Park and the new School of Earth and Environment. However, students, faculty, and staff from all disciplines will have unique perspectives to bring to the book and thus The Sixth Extinction provides the Rowan community with myriad opportunities to engage with powerful ideas and with each other.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with a Common Reading Program, it involves a committee of faculty, staff, and students who select a work of real significance and depth but broad appeal, encouraging as many members of a community as possible to read the book. We will also host a variety of programs and discussion groups where issues are explored and even debated. This is an ideal way of reinforcing the value of the scholarly community that we enjoy at Rowan. At the same time, we can model for our students engagement with ideas and issues through civil discourse.

I encourage the University community to purchase your copy of The Sixth Extinction and be prepared to join in discussing the book in the fall. To learn more about the book and access learning resources, please visit www.rowan.edu/commonreading. Let the reading, and the conversations, begin.

Ali Houshmand
President Ali Houshmand, PhD


Faculty & staff from all disciplines are invited to host events throughout the fall semester to support the common reading program. Please submit your events via ProfLink by July 30, 2017.

Future Book Selection

R U Reading Together titles are selected one year in advance. We are always seeking books that have the potential to engage a variety of disciplines from across the University, on all campuses, and at all levels. A committee of program sponsors select R U Reading Together titles based on the following criteria:

  1. The author can potentially come to campus to deliver a public lecture.

  2. The book can engage entering students across the University (undergraduate, and graduate/medical):

    • The book can be used to address multiple literacies in the Rowan Core model for undergraduate education. These literacies include Artistic, Communicative, Global, Humanistic, Quantitative, and Scientific.

    • The book can be used to address CMSRU's commitments to diversity, inclusivity, civic responsibility, and/or service to the community.

  3. Sufficient quantities of trade paperbacks or other affordable formats are available from the publisher for common reading program use.

Nomination Form

Nominations should be received by November 12, 2017 to be considered for adoption in the next (fall 2018) academic year.