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What is the Common Experience?

For over 22 years, NKU has offered a Common Read experience for first-year students. The program was previously branded as Book Connection and saw students, faculty, and staff participate in shared reading and coursework, culminating in a visit by the author or a related speaker. First-Year Experience has refreshed this opportunity and created Common Experience. This new program will provide a Common Reading Experience for the incoming class. Teachers across the University will utilize the selected book, teaching resources, and curated events to engage the campus in a Common Theme.
The Common Experience fosters a common academic conversation and cultivates engagement between students, faculty, and staff. This year-long experience features an overarching theme unique to each academic year. With Common Experience, participants will explore thought-provoking material at personal and educational levels. Additionally, university-wide events and opportunities will be held throughout the academic year to build community further and facilitate meaningful discussions.

Common Experience Goals:

Share and understand diverse perspectives in a constructive manner
Explore the role we play in shaping society
Build a community of engaged learners
Connection between first year students through discussion and year-long programming

  • Common Read

    The Book

    The book for Common Experience is selected by a committee vote to highlight an important message across the following years, incoming class. The book is dispersed to all incoming students to participate in a Common Reading Experience. The 2023 selection is Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover.

  • Common Theme

    Common Theme

    Northern Kentucky University presents a common academic theme each year. The theme provides diverse opportunities for everyone across the campus community to participate in a Common Experience.

  • Placemaking Program

    Placemaking Program

    Creative placemaking is about solving problems and achieving goals. The Placemaking Projects through Common Experience will center around projects designed by student groups seeking to engage the campus community in the current year's Common Theme.

  • Resources


    Common Experience provides students, faculty, staff, and community members an opportunity to participate in collaborative learning events. With the help of partners across campus, the selection committee has curated content that can be used for instruction to correspond with the common theme for the year.