Common Read


“The Master Plan” by Chris Wilson takes us on a journey through Wilson’s violent and traumatic life as youth in Washington, DC. When he was seventeen, defending himself, he killed a man. He was sentenced to life in prison with no hope of parole. While behind bars, Wilson embarked on a remarkable journey of self-improvement–reading, working out, learning languages, even starting a business. At nineteen, he sat down and wrote a list of all the things he intended to accomplish, and all the steps he’d have to take to get there. He called it his Master Plan. He revised that plan regularly and followed it religiously. Sixteen years later, it led him to an unlikely opportunity–and to a promise he has been working hard to live up to every day since. Harrowing, heartbreaking, and ultimately triumphant, The Master Plan is a memoir for this moment, proving that every person is capable of doing great things.

The Master Plan My Journey from Life in Prison to a Life of Purpose by Chris Wilson Book Cover


What is a Common Read?


A common read helps to create connections among students, faculty, and staff. Having a common topic of discussion can frequently start conversations, expand viewpoints on complex issues, or introduce new ideas. Students learn and universities thrive through discussion, research, and critical thinking.

NSU started its Common Read experience in 2016 to promote a shared experience in learning and literacy for the NSU community and its stakeholders. All first year freshmen participate in Common Read activities and assignments during UNIV 1003 University Strategies, and all interested faculty are encouraged to incorporate the text into their curriculum as appropriate.

How are books selected for the Common Read?

The Common Read committee, which includes faculty, librarians, staff, and students, identifies potential books for the next year.

These books are read by committee members and others, and the list is narrowed to three to four finalists. Selection criteria include appeal and relevance to students; cross-disciplinary content; accessibility, reading level, and length, as well as reviews and supplemental materials. The finalist list is shared with the entire campus who can vote and provide feedback through a survey. The final selection is made in December. During the spring semester, the committee works to identify course and campus activities that support the use of the Common Read in the curriculum.