UHCL Health Alert: All campus operations will continue online, and access to campus will be limited to only essential personnel.   Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates , Give to the Hawk Emergency Fund

Common Reader

About the Program

UHCL’s Common Reader Program is an extension of the First-Year Seminar Program. The program, which began in fall 2014, aims to foster critical thinking and discussion around important social concepts such as race, gender, class, and citizenship. A committee of students, staff, and faculty from all four colleges select the text that is studied throughout the academic year and plan events inspired by it.

As citizens of the Clear Lake area, we believe UHCL's educational reach goes beyond entrances of the campus proper. We hope community members will gain a true feeling of being a part of a vibrant intellectual conversation with their UHCL community members. 

UHCL Common Reader Program Learning Objectives:

  • To strengthen the academic community and creating opportunities for intellectual engagement and critical thinking;
  • To encourage depth in learning through carefully selected common readings that pose multiple or differing perspectives and questions;
  • To establish a stimulating environment that is both informal and structured, setting a tone for engagement among our faculty, staff, students, and community.

The Big Reveal of the AY 2020-21 Reader Selection:

Academic Year 2019-20 Reader Selection

"Spare Parts: Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle for the American Dream" by Joshua Davis

This year’s reader charts the lives of four undocumented teens competing in a national underwater robotics competition. It intersects themes of immigration, education, technology, and citizenship. "Spare Parts" was a finalist for the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize and New York Times bestseller.

 If you have any questions, please contact the planning committee chair, Dr. Anne Gessler, at Gessler@uhcl.edu

Spare Parts book cover


  • Spring 2020 Schedule of Events
  • Friday, February 7  

    Spare Parts: Diversity, Inclusion
    and Ethical Technology

    B1215, 9-10:30am

    In collaboration with Continuing
    Education and Dr. Nicholas Kelling

  • Saturday, February 8  

    Underwater Dreams Film Screening and Robotics Demo
    Garden Room | 7-10pm

  •  Tuesday, March 3
    A Conversation with Spare

    Parts’s Lisa Spence and Special
    Guests: Women in STEM

    Forest Room | 12-1:30pm

    In collaboration with Women’s and
    Gender Studies, WSSA, and SDEI

  • Tues., March 17 Online via Zoom

    Demita Frazier, JD

    Radical Black Feminist History

  • Wed., March 18 Online via Zoom

    Demita Frazier, JD

    Collective Organizing


    Deliberative Dialogue: DACA

    In collaboration with Dr. Se Hyoung Yi and Conference for Research and Creative Arts

  • Thursday, April 28 1-2 p.m. Online Via Zoom

    Common Reader’s Big Reveal

    In collaboration with The Office of the President, Office of the Dean of Students, and the Conference for Research and Creative Arts

Special Accommodations

Any person needing an accommodation for a disability in order to participate should contact Dr. Anne Gessler at 281-283-3471 or Gessler@uhcl.edu at least one week prior to the event to arrange for the accommodation.