Houston Teachers Hit the Books During UH Common Ground Institute

Honors College Hosting Annual Program Aimed at Recharging Educators’ Creative Batteries

Summer is typically the time for baseball, barbecues and the beach. For a group of dedicated educators, it’s also a season for books.

Every summer, the University of Houston Honors College invites educators to campus for its Common Ground Institute. Over two weeks, they explore new texts, engage in discussions with peers and enjoy readings from local authors. The annual event – now in its 26th year – is made possible by the Honors College and John P. McGovern Foundation.  This year’s institute will be conducted June 26 – July 10.

As they gain fresh insights on teaching and literature, participants develop new ideas to bring back to their respective classrooms.

This summer, teachers will read works from a range of authors including Claudia Rankine, Michael Crichton, Maya Angelou, Edgar Allen Poe and William Shakespeare.

2015 Common Ground seminars and instructors include:

  • Extending Past the Skin: Writing the Self into the World – Sara Cooper
  • Girls! Girls! Girls! – Lacy Johnson
  • Supernatural Stuff: The Sacred, the Scary and Miraculous in American Literature – William Monroe
  • Migration in Literature – Romanus Muoneke and Merilee Cunningham

In addition to discussing classic works, Common Ground participants also experience lunchtime readings from guest authors. Among the scheduled writers/readers are Robin Davidson, UH-Downtown professor and Houston Poet Laureate; Rich Levy, executive director of Inprint; Robin Reagler, executive director of Writers in the Schools; and Nancy McCaslin, editor of the memoir of Jane Blaffer Owen. Honors College faculty members also will deliver readings. These include John Harvey, Robert Cremins, Chris Brunt, Kimberly Meyer and Chanelle Benz.

Each year, teachers apply to this free institute, and participants receive book stipends courtesy of the McGovern Foundation. For more details on Common Ground, visit its website.

The Honors College at UH is a hub of excellence that serves the needs of gifted undergraduates in more than 100 fields of study and reflects the rich diversity of the University of Houston in its courses, faculty and students. For over 50 years, the Honors College has offered students the best of both worlds: the advantages of a small college together with the comprehensive resources and rich diversity of a large university. For more information about the Honors College, visit http://TheHonorsCollege.com.