About Us

Who Are We?

The UAA/APU Books of the Year program is a powerful partnership between the University of Alaska Anchorage and Alaska Pacific University that brings faculty, staff, and community members together to understand common themes. The books serve as the catalyst for discussions of larger issues of local and international significance.

Our programming encourages readers to explore the theme, not just the books, and provides creative venues and forums for people to express their interpretations in different ways.

What Makes Us Unique?

The Books of the Year program started in 2006 as part of a Ford Foundation Difficult Dialogues initiative --one of only 26 in the country--to provide a safe environment on campuses for discussions of challenging topics. UAA and APU are now national leaders in this area.

Because of our Difficult Dialogues beginnings, we're different than other university common reading programs. Our goal is to select books that provoke serious discussion about serious issues, rather than providing "introduction to college" exercises or a freshman class bonding experience. 

How Are the Theme and Books Selected?

The UAA/APU Faculty Steering Committee participates in a year-long process to select a general theme and two books that support that theme.

Criteria for Theme:

  • Relevant to our campuses and community
  • Encourages in-depth discussion of challenging multi-faceted topics

Criteria for Books:

  • The books collectively must have a balanced approach that foster discussion, not a one-sided view or polemic about a topic
  • Content and format lends itself to meaningful, innovative teaching in-line with Difficult Dialogues theory and practice
  • Topics have inter-disciplinary appeal
  • Available in paperback

2021-2022 UAA/APU Steering Committee

Libby Roderick (co-Chair)
UAA/APU Difficult Dialogues Initiative
University of Alaska Anchorage

Ian Hartman (co-Chair)
History, College of Arts & Sciences
University of Alaska Anchorage

Chris Stuive
Counseling, Kenai Peninsula College
University of Alaska Anchorage

Kevin Jones
Religious Studies
Alaska Pacific University

Aisha Barnes
Writing, Community & Technical College
University of Alaska Anchorage

Page Brannon
UAA/APU Consortium Library
Advisor to the Committee

Luis Chavez Jr
Center for Advancing Faculty Excellence, Program Coordinator
Staff to the Committee


Previous Committees

2018-2020 Theme: Building Community Resilience

Jackie Cason, English, University of Alaska Anchorage
Shannon Donovan, Geography & Environmental Studies, University of Alaska Anchorage
Mei Mei Evans, English and Liberal Studies, Alaska Pacific University
Ian Hartman, History, University of Alaska Anchorage
Joel Potter, Philosophy, University of Alaska Anchorage
Chandler Stroup, Assistant Director of Campus Life, Alaska Pacific University
Christine Stuive, Counseling, Kenai Peninsula College, University of Alaska Anchorage

Contact Us

Libby Roderick, Program Director
Email: eroderick@alaska.edu
Phone: (907) 786-4605

Mailing Address
University of Alaska Anchorage
CAFE/Books of the Year
3211 Providence Drive, LIB 302
Anchorage, AK  99508