McLaughlin’s Common Read Workshop addresses concerns of first-year students, Oct. 23

A group of people walking outside
Professor Thomas Klassen
Thomas Klassen

The second event in McLaughlin College’s Common Read Workshop series, “Mastering Tests, Essays and Note-taking,” will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 23 from 12 to 1:30 p.m. in 140 McLaughlin College.

For the start of this academic year, all first-year students entering programs in McLaughlin’s affiliated units (politics; public policy and administration; sociology; and social science) were asked to do a “common read.” The book selected was Thomas R. Klassen and John A. Dwyer’s How to Succeed at University (And Get a Great Job!): Mastering the Critical Skills you Need for School, Work, and Life (UBC Press, 2015). This highly acclaimed book, designed to assist first-year university students in acquiring the academic skills necessary to excel in their post-secondary studies, was written by two of York University’s leading professors in the field of student growth and development.

First-year students were then invited to attend a matriculation and common read workshop held on Sept. 4, the first day of classes, intended to welcome them formally to McLaughlin College and discuss their common read. At this special event, students met the head of the college and one of the authors of the book, Klassen, who is professor in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, as well as a number of student leaders. Klassen introduced his book to the students and took them through various exercises to engage them in its substantive contents.

“When some of our first-year students receive feedback on their first assignments, they realize how different their high-school experience was from what is expected of them at university,” said Klassen, who leads the workshop series. “The common read series of workshops is intended to help students at key points throughout their all-important first year of university studies.”

The common read has been recognized as a high-impact educational practice by the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AACU). It is widely used throughout the world, especially in the United States, and best practices have emerged as to how it should be applied as part of the first-year student’s transition to university. Those best practices have been applied at McLaughlin College.

Here’s a look at the rest of McLaughlin’s Common Read Workshop lineup for this academic year:

Jan. 8, 2020: “Skills for success at university, work and life”

Feb. 12, 2020: “Practical problem solving and strengthening critical skills”

All sessions will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. in 140 McLaughlin College. Everyone is welcome to attend and light refreshments will be provided.

The Common Read Workshop Series is hosted by the Office of the College Head, McLaughlin College. For more information, contact Vicky Carnevale at ext. 33824 or