Cumberland’s Unique Book Clubs for Students, Staff & Faculty Turn 5

Posted: Wed, 10/03/2012 - 14:59

Several years ago at Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law, students expressed an interest in convening in small groups with faculty to discuss interesting and thought provoking topics outside the classroom. In response to that interest, the Cumberland Book Clubs were launched. Professors volunteered to lead the discussions, and they selected books that formed the basis for those discussions. In addition, the law school reimburses the cost of the book to each member.

This year, fall 2012, marks the fifth year that the law school has held these Cumberland Book Clubs.  These clubs are now considered one of the law school’s most important programs. In an email to students, staff and faculty, Dean John L. Carroll stated that these clubs are a great opportunity to engage in broad discussions about important topics.

Everyone at the law school is provided an opportunity to sign up online by choosing a book club leader and the leader’s selected book. This year there are 12 professors leading book groups and 11 books selected, which include the following titles:

The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued Their Bosses and Changed the Workplace, Failing Law Schools, The Origins of Political Order, The Hunger Games, Atlas Shrugged, The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl, The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln, The Trial, A Case for Solomon: Bobby Dunbar and the Kidnapping That Haunted a Nation, Law Man, and The Fall of the House of Zeus: The Rise and Ruin of America’s Most Powerful Trial Lawyer

The obligation of each member is they are to read their club’s book and participate in a discussion at a mutually agreed upon time. In past years, some book club leaders held discussions at the law school and others held discussions at off campus venues.  This year, one leader has planned for her group to discuss their book, The Hunger Games, with an eighth-grade English and language arts class at a Title I (high-poverty) school in rural Mississippi.  The teacher in this class is affiliated with the Teach for America program.

These Cumberland Book Clubs are one of many entities that make the law school a unique leaning environment.