The On the Same Page program is UC Berkeley’s way of welcoming our new students into the intellectual community.
We do this by choosing a book, theme, or other work of art to provide the focus of a range of events, courses, and activities that bring our new students into contact with each other and our faculty. We strive to choose a theme or work of art that will appeal to faculty and students from across the disciplines. In this way we ensure that every new student has something in common with every other new student and every faculty member, from their very first day on campus.
Our selection process for the On the Same Page featured text begins in January for the following year. A selection committee of faculty, staff, and librarians reads widely each spring in search of books or other works that will be a good fit for the program, keeping in mind the following criteria: well written, thought provoking, nearly impossible to put down, able to spark active discussion and engagement by faculty and students from a range of disciplinary standpoints, and written by someone whom our students would benefit from encountering. At the end of spring, each selection committee member names three or four titles for the rest of the committee to consider. Over the summer, the selection committee members read one another’s picks. At the end of summer, the selection committee meets to choose three or four of these titles, which become our shortlist. Over the fall term, volunteer undergraduate students read the shortlist and submit their feedback. The L&S deans also read the shortlist. In December, the L&S deans meet, and, taking into consideration the input from the selection committee and the student reviewers, they choose the text that will be featured in the following year.
The result of this rigorous process in 2020 was The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, the UC Berkeley On the Same Page selection for 2021.
On the Same Page is organized by the College of Letters & Science’s Division of Undergraduate Studies and is made possible by donors to the College of Letters & Science (L&S) Leadership Fund, the Division of Student Affairs, the College of Chemistry, the College of Engineering, the College of Environmental Design, the Rausser College of Natural Resources, and the Haas School of Business. The program launched in 2006 in L&S, and expanded in 2012 to include all new students and faculty members at UC Berkeley.
The On the Same Page Team
Director of Curricular Engagement Initiatives, L&S Division of Undergraduate Studies
Aileen Liu joined the L&S Division of Undergraduate Studies in 2021 as Director of Curricular Engagement Initiatives. In this role, she oversees several campus-wide undergraduate programs, including On the Same Page, Big Ideas Courses, L&S Discovery Courses, Freshman and Sophomore Seminars, and L&S 1: Exploring the Liberal Arts. Her favorite places on campus are Morrison Library, the Dwinelle benches, the top of the Campanile (she learned to play the bells through the Carillon DeCal as a grad student), and Noon Concerts at Hertz Hall. Her freshman year common read book was The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. She earned her BA in English from Duke, and her PhD in English with a Designated Emphasis in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies from UC Berkeley.
Faculty Selection Committee for 2022
Kristina Bush, Digital Literacies Librarian
Michael Cohen, American Studies and African American Studies
Lia Fernald, Community Health Sciences
Maggie Hunter, Senior Director of the Centers for Educational Justice and Community Engagement
Jake Kosek, Geography
Fiona McFarlane, English
Student Reviewers for 2022: Alessi Ayvaz, Helen Berg, Maria Clara Castro, Kaivallya Dasu, Fiona Gu, Melanie Gurrola, Michael Kamenis, Manbhavni Kaur, Zachary Khouri, Evelyn Kong, Vanessa Luna, Lucy Revina, and Merve Ozdemir
Special thanks to Sonya Lee, Leah Ma, Belinda White, Dave Murray, and Alix Schwartz.