Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

2012-2013: Approved for Implementation by District Diversity Council, Nov. 2011

What is PCC Reads?

PCC Reads is a project of the District Diversity Council, supported by the Deans of Instruction and the Office of Equity and Inclusion.  PCC Reads is a community-building reading activity that aims to bring together students, faculty and staff from across the district to think and examine critically issues of race, equity, and social justice. 

In order to support this project, PCC Reads learning outcomes, aligned with PCC core learning outcomes, are crafted each year for district-wide planning around curriculum, projects, events, and activities.  PCC Reads utilizes guiding questions, grounded in a social justice framework, to support critical thinking. Broad questions engage diverse learners in exploring: What are the key issues raised in the book? What are the root causes of these issues in our society? How does the book explore the unique conditions and circumstances surrounding the issues? What are the consequences of these issues for communities and the larger society?

Engaging in critical examination of these issues, by reading a common book and weaving it into multiple places in the curriculum and into daily campus life, serves as a vehicle for improving the campus climate and embracing diversity across the district.  Events and activities are coordinated but are planned and delivered by each campus’ Diversity Council.

One of PCC Reads’ goals is to facilitate lifelong learning and the communal experience of reading as a source of information and personal enrichment. The program affords us the opportunity to show how powerful literary works bring people together across traditional boundaries, not only of race and class but also of academic specializations and interests.  Our goal is to extend the reach of PCC Reads into all corners of PCC life.

PCC Reads highlights the experiences and contributions of people of color. The concept of people of color originates from social justice movements working for liberation and justice to emphasize common experiences of systemic racism and has been embraced and used to replace the term "minority."

Ideally PCC Reads will work with an author of color as a way for our college community to support more shared experiences and connections across the district while showcasing the author’s achievements and insights.  The program is one way of bringing underrepresented voices into the mainstream of the PCC community.

Book Selection Process

Nominations for the PCC Reads book are gathered early in winter term for the following academic year. The PCC Reads Steering Committee sends out a call for nominations to be posted to the PCC Reads wiki, where members of the college community are encouraged to propose a book and explain why it would be a good choice.  Once a book has been nominated, we will urge all interested members of the PCC community to leave comments on the wiki, laying out the pros and cons of each nominated book.

At the end of the nomination period, the PCC Reads Selection Committee will meet to choose 4-5 finalists for the next year’s book, based on the published selection criteria. The PCC Reads Selection Committee members will then be charged to read by the end of the first week of spring term each of the books still being considered.

The committee will meet during the second or third week of spring term to make a final PCC Reads selection. The chosen book will be announced to the district no later than the middle of spring term to allow for the book’s possible inclusion into fall course and event planning.

Criteria for Book Selection
These criteria will guide the selection committee's choice for each year's book.
  1. Book contains a focus on issues of race/ethnicity/social justice.
  2. The author is a person of color and addresses issues of diversity with integrity.
  3. Book has connections to multiple disciplines and supports PCC core outcomes.
  4. The book is accessible to a wide range of readers to advance literacy, including
    ESOL students, DE students, etc.
  5. The book lends itself to events that may include the author or other topical speakers.
  6. The book is ideally available in paperback and/or electronic format.
Who is the PCC Reads Selection Committee?

PCC Reads Selection committee members (8-12 members) will be named by DOIs and Campus Diversity Councils by the end of January, with representation from each campus and drawn from these groups, though obviously each campus will not have a member in each category: 

  • Students (e.g., ASPCC, Multicultural Center, Phi Theta Kappa)
  • Faculty
  • Diversity Council Members (representative from each campus)
  • Librarians
  • Staff (Student Development, District Services, etc.)
  • Administrators
  • Service Learning faculty or staff

Selection committee members must commit to reviewing all nominations and reading all 4-5 finalist books so that these books can be compared and evaluated fairly using the selection criteria to reach the final decision by the beginning of spring term. 

Timeline for Book Selection: Winter/Spring 2012
January/February 2012:
DOIs and chairs of Campus Diversity Councils name members of the 2012-13 Book Selection Committee.
January/February 2012:
PCC Reads Wiki open for nominations of books and comments on each book’s suitability for the program.
Friday, February 24, 2012:
Nominations close.
Week of February 27, 2012:
Selection Committee meets to evaluate nominations and narrow the list of books still under consideration to 3 or 4 finalists.
Monday, March 5 to Friday, April 6, 2012:
Selection Committee reads finalist books and Wiki comments.
Monday, April 9 - Friday, April 20, 2012:
Selection Committee meets to discuss finalist books and PCC community comments and selects the 2012 - 2013 PCC Reads book.
Monday, April 23, 2012:
A representative from the District Diversity Council announces the 2012-2013 book selection to the PCC community.
What Events Occur as Part of PCC Reads?

The culminating event for PCC Reads is a visit by the author, if possible to each of the four campuses. Members of the PCC Reads District Coordinating Committee organize the events with the author. In addition to the author’s visit, campuses and centers are encouraged to create and hold events throughout the year to garner interest for PCC Reads and to help link the book to curricular and extra-curricular activities.  Additional speakers and activities related to the book are welcome, either in conjunction with one or more courses or as independent events.