Recently, I have received several requests for book recommendations from educators interested in organizing faculty/staff book clubs or similar, so I’ve decided to address the question here.
Developing a faculty/staff book club, or organizing some type of lunch-and-learn around a common reading, can be an excellent way to foster intercultural learning on your campus. An added bonus is that it’s an extremely budget-friendly professional development opportunity!
In addition to being passionate about all things intercultural, I’m also an avid reader. So I love reading books that give me insight into other cultures, help me not just see—but almost step into—another person’s world and perspective. What’s even more exciting, in my opinion, is then discussing said books with other people who offer yet another perspective.
In an effort to help anyone who might want to consider starting such a book club, I offer the following tips and reading list.
Tips for Getting Started
Here are some things to consider when organizing a faculty/staff book club:
The following are a few book recommendations and the goals or types of educators they may best fit. I’ve purposefully kept the list short, and invite you to add your suggestions in the comments section.
Student Learning Abroad: What Our Students Are Learning, What They’re Not, and What We Can Do About It. Edited by Michael Vande Berg, R. Michael Paige & Kris Lou (2012).
Developing Intercultural Competence and Transformation: Theory, Research, and Application in International Education. Edited by Victor Savicki (2008).
Figuring Foreigners Out: A Practical Guide. By Craig Storti (1999).
Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind, 3rd ed. By Geert Hofstede, Gert Jan Hofstedede & Michael Minkov (2010).
Personal Leadership: Making a World of Difference. By Barbara Schaetti, Sheila Ramsey & Gordon Watanabe (2008).
Contemporary Leadership and Intercultural Competence: Exploring the Cross-Cultural Dynamics within Organizations. Edited by Michael Moodian (2009).
Novels (fiction and non-fiction that reads like fiction)
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures. By Anne Fadiman (1998).
The Namesake. By Jhumpa Lahiri (2004).
In Other Words. By Jhumpa Lahiri (2017).
Americanah. By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2014).
A few novels on my “to read” list that I’m guessing would also inspire great conversations among educators include:
Those are some of my top recommendations. What are yours? If you have suggestions for books (or articles) that you think would be good for a faculty/staff book club or similar, please share them in the comments section.
I'm Tara Harvey, Ph.D., Founder of True North Intercultural. I started this blog to provide resources and support to educators interested in fostering intercultural learning. Thanks for reading!
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