Boston College Libraries Faculty Newsletter



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 want?”


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 Wicomb

Ocean of Words, by Ha Jin

Jonah and Sarah, by David Shraer-Petrov and Maxim Shrayer

Ten Little Indians, by Sherman Alexie

The Alchemist, by Paul Coehlo


Sue Barrett

The Connors Family Learning Center


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