skip to main content

'The Other Wes Moore' selected as 2017-18 Common Book

February 8, 2017

A photo of the cover of the book "The Other Wes Moore," which depicts a young boy riding on a bicyce down a city street looking back

Wes Moore's “The Other Wes Moore” will be Virginia Tech’s Common Book for the 2017-18 academic year.

Wes Moore is a combat veteran, a White House Fellow, and a Rhodes Scholar. His book explores the lives of two individuals with the same name who grew up in similar neighborhoods in Baltimore. The two Wes Moores' lives diverge dramatically, one taking a path that ends in incarceration and the other a path that leads to a Rhodes Scholarship. 

The book shares an alternating narrative that describes pivotal experiences in the young lives of two men who find each other and themselves through reflection on past choices.

The Common Book Project Committee requested public suggestions for a new book during the spring semester of 2016.

  • The call prompted 49 suggestions.
  • A variety of university and community members reviewed the suggested books online.
  • A Common Book analysis committee reviewed the top 18 selections from the online review and selected seven semifinalists for the Common Book Project Committee members to review. The analysis committee included faculty, staff, and students.
  • The Common Book Project Committee selected three finalist books to read in full for a final review, ultimately selecting “The Other Wes Moore.”

“The Common Book selection for the 2017-18 academic year was found to align well with the Virginia Tech Pylons, Aspirations for Student Learning, and InclusiveVT and offers multiple touch points for collaboration across campus to create a common intellectual experience for students in the classrooms, residence halls, and community,” said Jennifer Culhane, director for first-year academic initiatives.

Virginia Tech established the Common Book Project in 1998 to create an integrated experience to enhance students’ understanding about how seemingly different ideas and disciplines can be interconnected and to create communities in which students have a common intellectual experience to share ideas and dialogue.

Each academic year since the first full-scale distribution in 2000, all incoming first-year students have received a complimentary Common Book. The goals of the project are to convey a message of welcome to all incoming first-year and transfer students, fostering a connection to Virginia Tech values; to stimulate academic and intellectual engagement within and beyond the classroom; and to foster critical thinking and interdisciplinary learning.

“The Common Book provides an opportunity for first-year students to make connections with each other, faculty members, and others in the university community around a common text,” said Tiffany Shoop, assistant director at the Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research. “It’s always exciting to see the different ways the Common Book is used in classrooms and beyond to create meaningful learning experiences across campus.”

The Common Book is distributed to all first-year and transfer students. Faculty members who teach those students are encouraged to integrate the Common Book into their curriculum through class discussions and projects. Faculty/staff who wish to request a copy may do so by sending an email to commonbook@vt.edu. Copies are expected to be available late May. 

The Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research will host “Engaging Students with the New Virginia Tech Common Book” workshops.

  • March 16, 1 p.m.- 3 p.m., Hillcrest Dining Room, 143 Hillcrest Hall
  • March 29, 10 a.m.-12 p.m., Hillcrest Dining Room, 143 Hillcrest Hall
  • April 10, 2 p.m.-4 p.m., Hillcrest Dining Room, 143 Hillcrest Hall

Registration for the workshops is available at https://app.nli.tlos.vt.edu.

"The Other Wes Moore" is the university's 10th Common Book.

Contact: