Common Intellectual Experiences

In addition to high impact instructional experiences and pedagogical research, faculty and the campus community at large are engaging in large-scale discussions about issues challenging community colleges in general and Queensborough in particular.

The Common Read is a Common Intellectual Experience that promotes integrative learning across the curriculum. This is accomplished through voluntary participation of faculty, both on campus and in local high schools, who introduce the text to their students and support the reading with co-curricular events. This text is supported via professional development and co-curricular, cross-disciplinary events. These provide an opportunity for increased social and academic engagement while enhancing student learning outside of the classroom.

2015-2016 Common Read
Featured text: Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption, by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton with Erin Torneo

Picking Cotton Book Cover

Queensborough faculty members and their students will read Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemtion in classes in the spring 2016 semester. They will be joined by classes from local high schools and the CUNY Language Immersion Program (CLIP). All students will participate in co-curricular activities.

Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption is a profoundly moving exploration of the principle of forgiveness, the theme for this year’s Common Read. Jennifer was raped at knifepoint in the summer of 1984 in North Carolina, and she identified Ronald Cotton as the rapist; after serving 11 years in prison for the crime, a DNA test proved Ronald’s innocence, and the real perpetrator of this horrible crime, a man named Bobby Poole, was identified. Two years after Ronald’s freedom and exoneration, Jennifer and he met. They became friends and decided to share their story with the world by writing this book, which quickly became a New York Times bestseller. Through their strength and dedication to the power of forgiveness, Jennifer and Ronald have transformed what could have been a purely tragic series of occurrences into a deeply inspirational story, and they now travel the world telling their story of injustice, trauma, and healing.

Through the theme of this year’s Common Read initiative of forgiveness, we hope not only to share the authors' stories, but to prompt the campus community to think outside of themselves, to imagine living in a situation different from their own, promoting an increased awareness and willingness to forgive.

For additional information regarding this initiative please contact Ms. Susan Madera, Academic Program Manager for High Impact Practices and Director of the Common Read at or Dr. Jean Murley, Associate Professor, English, and Coordinator of the Common Read, at

Common Read Book Club Dates and Times

Common Read Book Club Meeting I
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
12:10 to 2:00 pm
Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center & Archives, Classroom

Common Read Book Club Meeting II
Monday, October 19, 2015
12:10 to 2:00 pm
Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center & Archives, Classroom

Common Read Book Club Meeting III
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
12:10 to 2:00 pm
Humanities Building, Room H206

Common Read Book Club Meeting IV
Monday, December 7, 2015
2:10 to 4:00 pm
Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center & Archives, Classroom

Common Read Events for Spring 2016

Week 1 Events (March 1 – 4, 2016)

Week 2 Events (March 7 – 11, 2016)

Week 3 Events (March 14 – 18, 2016)

All students are invited to participate in our Writing Contest.
Details to be announced in spring 2016

Go to Common Read Past Events