The Uncommittee is an interdisciplinary reading-discussion group(s) for Richland employees committed to the value of integrated learning as a "humanizing process." Meetings are held once a month either at participants' homes or on-campus, depending on the afternoon/evening one prefers to meet.
There is no discussion leader; all participants are equally responsible for coming to the sessions prepared to participate with questions, observations, comments. Although literary criticism and analysis are legitimate activities in certain academic settings, these activities are not the purpose of the Uncommittee. Uncommittee discussions focus more on synthesis, rather than analysis, and more on the impact of the readings on the readers as human beings.
The Uncommittee helps its readers to:
Respond to such human questions as:
- What difference does this reading make in my life, in my work?
- On what aspects of my life/of local/world events, present/past, does it cause me to reflect? What implications does it have for my life in the future?
- How does this reading link to other Uncommittee readings, to give me greater insight into my life, into my understanding of the world, into my work at Richland, into ways that I can help our students succeed?
Discuss what she/he is reading with someone else:
- Many readers find it frustrating to be excited or perplexed about something we're reading, wanting to discuss our insights, feelings, or questions with someone, but finding it difficult to do so unless we can find someone else who has also read the work recently. The Uncommittee provides this outlet monthly.
- Richlanders who might not otherwise spend time together get to know one another better through discussion of issues important to them, to their own human growth and development, and to that of our students.
Find an interdisciplinary outlet
- Participants read numerous works, chosen by our colleagues, that we likely would never have chosen to read on our own and thereby broaden our understanding of the world and each other. Paperback works of fiction or biography alternate every other month with works of nonfiction, drawn from all academic disciplines. This rotation helps us to see the intersections between theoretical works and human lives.
Enliven our learning climate
- With some 100 Richlanders each year reading and discussing together nearly 100 works since 1983 in common, the cumulative impact on Richland is an enhancement of a climate of learning that permeates the college; participants' energies tend to be focused on issues central to Richland's mission rather than on petty distractions that can cause people to lose track of the real reasons that we are here.
Discover ideas and resources to help our students succeed
- Faculty sometimes choose Uncommittee readings as readings for their classes, sometimes used in surprising ways, due to connections made during Uncommittee discussions; some faculty, discovering similar interests of colleagues in other disciplines, have collaborated in designing curriculum, team-teaching, designing co-curricular activities and events; some staff have gained insights into human behavior that have caused them to modify procedures, attitudes, and behaviors that can improve their abilities to help students succeed