Many Voices. One Theme.
Texas State University presents an academic theme each year with related events for everyone. This is our Common Experience.
We offer opportunities to interact with some of the world's leading voices. During the fall and spring semesters, there are often more than 180 total events. Among these is the LBJ Distinguished Lecture Series, named for Texas State’s most famous alumnus, President Lyndon Baines Johnson. The series fulfills his 1973 promise to bring important leaders to the university to share their philosophies, perspectives and experiences. Other events include film screenings, philosophy dialogues, panel discussions, exhibitions, conferences, and performances in music, theater and dance.
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 in a sea of ideas.
While approaches may be tailored specifically 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 Common Experience continues to evolve and embrace new challenges and directions each year, showing students new ways to approach issues they may have thought were beyond themselves, as well as the power of people working together.
Leading the Way
Our thematic approach and remarkable collaborations enable us to offer more academic event opportunities than any other university in the nation. Furthermore, our first-year students' participation rates for multiple events are highest in the nation, as are the engagement rates on our social media accounts. View the numbers.
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 and speakers, as well as the objectives that 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, collaborating with the large Common Experience Committee, and coordinating a calendar for each semester the theme is active. To learn more about previous themes, visit our history pages.