Intersections at The Connors Family Learning Center
Pictured (from left, seated) Eve
Spangler (Sociology), Harold Petersen (Economics), Cheryl
Presley (Student Affairs), Arnold Mazur (Health Services),
(standing) Barbara Viechnicki (A&S Deans Office),
Ourida Mostefai (Romance Languages and Literatures/A&S
Deans), David McFadden (Chemistry), Sue Barrett (Connors
Center), Marianne Lord (Development), Bryan Marinelli
(Connors Center), Karen Muskavitch (Biology), Terry Witherell
(Career Center), Carol Hurd Green (Lynch School of Education/English)
“When I was five and first learned to read, my dad wrote
in his diary ‘Now my daughter isn't just my little girl
any more, now she can converse with all the greatest minds who
ever lived’ and that pretty much describes how I feel about
reading. And then, to share what I've read with colleagues who
might even become friends over time . . . what more could you
That’s how Eve Spangler, Associate Professor, Sociology,
explains her enthusiasm about the faculty/staff reading group
hosted by The
Connors Family Learning Center. The reading group
is one off-shoot of the Intersections
Project, which brings together
faculty and staff for semester-long seminars designed to help
them become more effective mentors to students as they discover
their vocations in life and career.
The reading group grew out of the Fall 2001 Intersections semester.
After 10 weeks of intense reading and discussion, some members
were looking for a way to continue the conversation. One of the
seminar readings, Richard Light’s Making the Most of
College, provided the inspiration. Writing about diversity
at Harvard, Light reported on a survey that asked students to
name the most important works of literature from their countries.
Some of the Intersection members were surprised to see how few
of those works they had read and they were determined to broaden
their own perspectives through an ongoing reading group.
It has now been three years since the first meeting of the
group. Once or twice a semester, they gather in The Connors Center.
Members choose the books and take turns leading discussions.
As faculty and staff graduate from Intersections, they are invited
to join the group, which ranges in size from 10 to 25 members,
depending on schedules and interest in the current reading. Intersections
provides copies of the books as well as lunch for the meetings.
Burt Howell, Director of the Intersections Project, is one
of the regular members: “The Intersections reading group
gives me an excuse to discover and explore literature from diverse
cultures. Many of the works are unfamiliar to me and I
might not look at them without the prompting of the group. I
also enjoy the interdisciplinary perspectives colleagues bring
to the discussions and the opportunity to socialize with friends
from other departments and offices."
The Connors Center will host additional reading and discussion
groups in the future.
Readings to date:
Interpreter of Maladies, by Jhumpa Lahiri
Children of the Alley, by Naghuib Mafhouz
A Journey to the End of the Millennium, by A.B. Yehoshua
You Can't Get Lost in Cape Town, by Zoe
Ocean of Words, by Ha Jin
Jonah and Sarah, by David Shraer-Petrov and Maxim
Ten Little Indians, by Sherman Alexie
The Alchemist, by Paul Coehlo
The Connors Family Learning Center