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Overview

Students and faculty in the audience of a Common Experience event

Many voices. One theme.

Texas State University presents an academic theme each year with related events for everyone. This is our Common Experience.

The Common Experience offers opportunities to interact with some of the world's leading voices. During the fall and spring semesters, there are often more than 150 total events. Among these is the LBJ Distinguished Lecture Series, named for Texas State’s most famous alumnus, President Lyndon Baines Johnson. The series brings to reality President Johnson's desire to invite some of the finest minds in the country to the campus to speak. Other events include film screenings, philosophy dialogues, panel discussions, theatrical performances, and symposia/conferences.

As part of the Common Experience, we provide all incoming first-year students with a powerful Common Reading book related to the year's theme. Students discuss the book and explore the theme in University Seminar classes and other courses — encouraging multiple, sustained conversations as we pass together through the academic landscape.

While a few events may be specifically tailored for first-year students, most events are intended for all students — undergraduates and graduates — as well as faculty, staff, and community members. The Common Experience is for everyone.

The initiative continues to evolve and embrace new challenges and directions each year. The Common Experience shows its participants how to approach issues they may have thought were beyond themselves, as well as the power of people working together.

How the Theme Is Chosen

A campus-wide call for proposals is distributed each spring semester. Faculty and staff are encouraged to submit a Common Experience proposal on a particular theme, including suggestions for a Common Reading book, academic events, speaker suggestions, and analysis of what the theme is expected to accomplish. A selection committee chooses the theme from the proposals submitted, and the theme organizers develop and implement the Common Experience theme over a two-year period by choosing speakers, planning events, providing input into the selection of the Common Reading book, and coordinating a calendar each semester of the year.