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The first book club of the Center for Scholarly Teaching (CST) recently concluded after a semester of invigorating dialogue.

Alan Lareau (foreign languages) created the club and facilitated discussions of the book “How Professors Think: Inside the Curious World of Academic Judgment.” In its final week, the CST Book Club enjoyed a surprise when author Michele Lamont, a sociology professor at Harvard, responded to the group’s questions via e-mail and provided a phone interview.

Lamont was pleased to know that faculty from a variety of disciplines were reading and thinking together about her book, which provides an exploration of the grant review process and postulates that “cream really does rise.” Of particular interest to group members was the question “What is excellence?”

“The CST Book Club was a great experience,” said Steve Dunn, professor of operations management. “It provided intellectual stimulus and personal interactions within a group context. The true benefit is in the reflection and interaction with a strong diversity of perspectives. Truly an engaging experience!”

Group members volunteered to lead each of the six sessions, formulating questions related to the reading. The CST extends appreciation to all involved, especially facilitator Lareau, whose final comment is notable for those who imagine there is just not enough time to choose the professional invigoration provided by such an experience:

“The CST Book Club is a great opportunity to get out of our nooks and silos and reconnect with colleagues across the community in live, face-to-face conversation — something we all need more of!”

“I thought this was a wonderful experience because it started an interdisciplinary, cross-department conversation,” added Michelle Mouton, associate professor of history.

Members of the interdisciplinary CST Book Club included Lori Carrell (CST and communication), Julie Chybowski (music), Dunn, Linda Freed (director, Office of Grants and Faculty Development), Ciara Healey (Polk Library), Karen King (public affairs), Ann Lepore (writing skills), Peter Meyerson (COEHS), Mouton, Susan Nuernberg (English and the Chancellor’s Office) and Mary Ellen Wurzbach (nursing).

The CST leadership team currently is considering books for spring semester. More details about joining the club will be made available in January at