University of Missouri discontinues Mizzou Reads program

May 1, 2014

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After 10 years, the University of Missouri is discontinuing its Mizzou Reads program due to a lack of faculty and staff participation.

Director of New Student Programs David Rielley says the program was created in 2004 to give incoming freshman their first academic experience in a no-risk environment.

“In orientation you’re trying to do two things with an incoming group of college freshman. You’re trying to help them make that social integration into the university and you’re also trying to help them make that academic integration into the university. So, we’ve always felt we’ve done an excellent job on the social integration we were looking for a way to do more on the academic integration side. ”

Rielley said the large decrease in staff and faculty volunteers was overwhelming enough to discontinue the program.

“When the program first started in 2004, we had a freshman class that was roughly, maybe around, 1,400 to 1,500 students fewer than what we’re seeing the last few years. And that year we had about 124 volunteers to lead the discussion groups. This past year we had about 75.”

Each year Mizzou Reads suggested the same book for incoming freshman students to read during the summer before classes begin.  In early fall, groups led by staff and faculty volunteers would come together and discuss the books. Rielley said faculty and staff members would also describe their college experiences.

“The facilitator of the discussion might share their experiences teaching here at the university," Rielley said. "They might share from when they were a college student, when they were first starting off. It was a chance for students to learn a little bit more about the academic experience here at the university.”

The university currently has no plans set to replace the program.