Faculty Support

Niagara University faculty who teach first-year students are encouraged to integrate the freshman summer reading book into their courses, where appropriate.  This can provide students with a fuller and more meaningful experience with the book. This page provides some resources to help instructors find ideas for using the book in their courses.

Useful Resources

In conjunction with the 2010 program, the "Niagara Reads" committee conducted  brief interviews with four NU employees who are doing work in, or for, Africa.  Viewing these interviews is an alternative assignment for NUS 102 students unable to attend one of Mr. Bok's September 28 lectures, and NUS 102 instructors may ask students to view the interviews as a supplemental activity. All faculty are welcome and encouraged to use these videos with their students, if appropriate.  Additionally, you may invite these employees to speak to your class about their work.

Students will discuss "Escape from Slavery" in their NUS 102 classes.  But when their professors talk with them about the book or integrate the book into their classes, students have a richer reading experience and gain multiple perspectives on the book.  Here are some ways you can engage students with the themes of "Escape from Slavery."

  • Early in the semester, meet informally with small groups of students to discuss the book or require students to come to your office (perhaps with an incentive, such as extra points) to chat with you about the book.
  • Hold informal writing sessions with students in which everyone, including you, writes a response to the book.  Select the best student responses and publish in a booklet for your class or for all freshmen. Pick the best and encourage those to enter the "Niagara Reads" contest.
  • Ask students to interview Dinka people from Sudan now living in Western New York or the students' home communities and then share what they learned.
  • If related to your course content, show one of the DVDs mentioned above in your class. Invite other freshmen if your room has available seating or show a DVD outside of class and require your students to attend but open the event to the campus community.
  • Lead small-group discussions about what students most value about their childhood and what would have been the most difficult to give up if they had been suddenly removed from their home and family, never to return. Perhaps have these discussions over lunch.
  • Ask students which of Francis' characteristics they most admire and why.
  • Discuss with students how they view education after reading about Francis' attempt to seek an education in the U.S.
  • Prepare an exhibit on child slavery for the library or another public place on campus.
  • Work with students to create a brochure or other resource materials about 21st century slavery.
  • Ask education majors to develop lesson plans on 21st century slavery for social studies or history classes in middle or high school.
  • Organize a panel discussion on slavery and human trafficking in the world today.
  • Guide students in writing a series of articles for The Index about 21st century slavery or child slavery, to appear throughout the academic year.
  • If you have expertise or have researched a theme related to "Escape from Slavery" (such as 21st century slavery; human trafficking; assisting or educating refugees; war, civil strife, or cultural conflict in African nations; humanitarian work in Africa), consider giving a lecture. Require or encourage your students to attend, and invite the campus community.
  • Take students to visit Vive La Casa, Journey's End Refugee Services, or the International Institute, all in Buffalo, or invite a speaker to your class.
  • Take students to visit historical sites in Western New York, such as Underground Railroad sites. Discuss similarities and differences between American slavery and child slavery in Sudan.
  • Tour the Castellani Art Museum's Underground Railroad exhibit with students.

Ways that Instructors Have Used Current and Previous Niagara Reads Books in Their Classes

The "Niagara Reads" committee wishes to recognize these professors who used  When the Emperor Was Divine, the 2009 selection, in their courses.

  • In her WRT 100 classes, Professor Lynn Bey offered extra credit to students who submitted an essay to the contest. This incentive resulted in more entries than in previous years. She encouraged students to attend one of the "Niagara Reads" events to generate ideas and gather information for their essay.
  • In LSK 045, “Vocabulary Enrichment,” Sharon Green asked students to write vocabulary words in sentences about the themes or characters in When the Emperor Was Divine.
  • To encourage CRL 101 students to use office hours, Green also required her students to visit her in her office within the first three weeks of the semester to chat informally about When the Emperor Was Divine.

The "Niagara Reads" committee wishes to recognize these professors who used The Things They Carried, the 2008 selection, in their courses.

  • In the NUOP Summer Program, Sharon Green guided students as they read The Things They Carried for LSK 096, “Introduction to College Reading.” Students took four comprehension tests and four vocabulary tests on the book.
  • In LSK 097, “Introduction to College Writing,“ Heather McEntarfer asked students to research topics related to The Things They Carried. Students summarized their research on posters, which they presented to the campus community. In the fall, the posters were displayed in the Gallagher Center during International Week.
  • Erin Karper asked her WRT 100 students to re-read the titular story in the book, discuss it in class, and then write an essay about it.
  • In LSK 045, Virginia Pasceri and Sharon Green asked students to use recently-taught words in sentences that described events or characters in The Things They Carried.

The "Niagara Reads" committee wishes to recognize these instructors who used The Kite Runner, the 2007 selection, in their courses.

  • In the NUOP Summer Program, Sharon Green guided students as they read The Kite Runner for LSK 096, “Introduction to College Reading.” Students took four comprehension tests and four vocabulary tests on the book.
  • In LSK 097, “Introduction to College Writing,“ Heather McEntarfer asked students to research topics related The Kite Runner. Students summarized their research on posters, which they presented to the campus community. In the fall, the posters were displayed in Dunleavy Hall and St. Vincent’s Hall.
  • In his REL 101 class, Father Joseph Hubbert required students to write a two-page essay on the concept of religion in The Kite Runner. In addition, he integrated The Kite Runner in his discussion of Islam.
  • Sharon Green and Virginia Pasceri culled a list of several hundred vocabulary words from The Kite Runner, which they taught for the first four weeks of LSK 045.

The "Niagara Reads" committee also wishes to recognize these instructors who used Escape From Slavery, the 2006 selection, in their courses.

  • In the NUOP Summer Program writing course, Dr. Rita Pollard asked students to research other forms of 21st   century slavery. Students prepared posters summarizing their research, and then presented their research to the campus community in July.
  • WRT 100 instructor Anna Luce required a 4- to 5-page  paper on Escape From Slavery, and she strongly encouraged her students to enter the "Niagara Reads" contest.  Two of the three contest winners were her students.
  • In October, CRL 101 instructors Heather McEntarfer and Sharon Green took their students to the library for research instruction by Jonathan Coe.  Their students had to locate two articles on either a topic related to course readings or on any aspect of 21st century slavery.
  • In October, Dr. Joseph Little asked students in his ENG 231 (“Business Communication”) course to recommend books for future "Niagara Reads" programs, via an informal written report and a brief oral presentation. He invited "Niagara Reads" committee members to attend the presentations in his class.
  • Dr. Jennifer Morrison offered her students in her WRT 100 class extra credit if they entered the "Niagara Reads" contest. Two of her students entered.
  • Sharon Green culled a list of 90 words from Escape From Slavery for her LSK 045 students, who had to define unfamiliar words on the list.