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Office of IDEAS

Fresno State Book Circle 

A group of 10 faculty and staff gathered in the Levine Reading Room to discuss their reading

The Office of Innovation and Digital Excellence for Academic Success (IDEAS), in collaboration with the Office of Organizational Excellence, are pleased to host the Fresno State Book Circle. Our Book Circle is open to all Fresno State employees and fosters opportunities for engagement and thoughtful discussions on campus around common themes of interest. 

The Book Circle involves meeting and discussing each book over a series of sessions. Participants will receive a complimentary copy of the book during the first book circle session with the expectation that they engage and participate in at least one more session for the book.

  1. This is an invitation, not an obligation. 

Everyone has many things going on at work and home, and joining a book circle should not be another thing you HAVE to do. We will share a reading schedule for each time we meet, and we hope that most of the time, you will be able to finish the assigned reading. There will be no shaming if you still have a couple of pages left to read, and we still want you to show up for the reading circle. 


  1. Building community through respect and kindness

We want to provide a safe space for people to build community and get inspired by other people’s ideas. Discussions can get heated, but respect and kindness are always at the heart of what we do. 


  1. Speak Up and Share Your Thoughts

Don’t be shy in speaking up and sharing your thoughts. We’re looking forward to engaging in meaningful conversations.


  1. Bring Questions

As you read the book, highlight important points and write down your questions. The book circle facilitator will always prepare some guiding questions, but we encourage participants to bring their questions to the discussion. 


  1. Have fun!

And most importantly, let’s have some fun too! Through our book circles, we want to offer you a space for personal enrichment and professional development, but also a place where you come to disconnect from the day-to-day activities and find some inspiration. 

Spring 2023 Book Circle

Reading #1: Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connections and the Language of Human Experience by Brené Brown 

(The Atlas of the Heart Book Circle is full - join our mailing list to be notiifed of future opportunities to participate)

If we want to find the way back to ourselves and one another, we need language and the grounded confidence to both tell our stories and to be stewards of the stories that we hear. In Atlas of the Heart, we explore eighty-seven of the emotions and experiences that define what it means to be human and walk through a new framework for cultivating meaningful connection. This is for the mapmakers and travelers in all of us.

Atlas of the Heart book cover

Meeting Dates & Time

  • Thursday, February 16 at noon
  • Thursday, March 9 at noon
  • Thursday, March 23 at noon

Meeting Location:  In-person Library Room 2108

Facilitator: Dr. Travis Cronin, Assistant Professor, Social Work



Book Circle Insights

Grit book

“After reading the was a natural next step to share the wealth of this book with the campus and our community. ‘Grit’ is the foundational lecture because I see it as an inherent characteristic of our students – very well reflected in the spirit and ethos of our Valley communities.” ”

-Saúl Jimenez Sandoval, President

Our initial Book Circle read the book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Dr. Angela Duckworth, selected after Duckworth joined the Fresno State community as a featued speaker in the President's Lecture Series. We had engaging conversations about the Grit scale, fluctutations in personal grit over time, whether the professional success of the book's "Paragons of Grit" came at a personal cost, the difference between natural "talent" and skill developed over time through effort, and whether it would be worth studying the grit scores of incoming students to determine if it was a meaningful predictor of persistence and success at Fresno State among other interesting insights.