On Friday, August 18, 2017, over 100 staff members from a variety of university offices, departments, and institutes gathered in the Faculty Club for the second annual Brown Staff Summer Reading Program, sponsored by the President's Staff Advisory Council and the Office of the Provost. This year's reading selection was "The Tsar of Love and Techno", a collection of stories by Anthony Marra.
The Staff Summer Reading Program is an extension of First Readings, a program where incoming first-years and transfer students read a book over the summer and engage in faculty-led, small-group discussions during Student Orientation. The goal of First Readings is to build community among first-years and transfer students through a common text, introduce students to Brown's faculty outside of the classroom, and to spur analytical and critical conversation.
The extension of the First Readings Program to staff bridges three major university facets—faculty, staff, and students—and engages discourse around a central theme. After having read the same book as the incoming students, the Staff Summer Reading Program brings staff together to take part in small-group conversation led by Brown faculty and members of Administration, giving staff a chance to meet one another outside of traditional networking opportunities.
Community building is one area SAC focuses on, and this program allowed staff from across campus to forge connections. Just a few examples include College Admission, Computing and Information Services, University Human Resources, the Office of the Vice President for Research, the Swearer Center for Public Service, BioMed Animal Care Facility, Athletics & Physical Education, and Egyptology & Assyriology.
Based on positive feedback received by participants, the President's Staff Advisory Council plans to continue partnering with the Office of the Provost to continue this summer tradition.