Common (Read) Experience

What is a Common Experience?

The Common Experience is your first shared academic experience among members of the university community, including faculty, staff, students, alumni, the Board of Visitors and YOU. Previous years have featured books and a play. This year we are excited to focus on podcasts that are timely and topical to the common experiences that have enveloped the country (and the world) over the past six months. This common intellectual experience will come alive through online discussion, artifact submissions and discussions with your FSEMs. The experience will not end this summer but will continue into the fall as a series of additional podcasts centering on UMW’s past and your ability to mold its future.

Why is it important?

You have a voice. UMW is built around you. Your experience over the past several months has shaped you, and it has shaped UMW.  Finding your voice and sharing the meaning you find in the Common Experience will pave the way for you to engage with each other, with faculty, and with course material during your first-year and beyond at UMW.

Want more information?

Please continue through this module by clicking the Next button at the bottom of the page. If you have any questions, contact Dr. April Wynn, Faculty Director of the First-Year Experience at

Common Experience 2020

The chosen theme of the Common Experience 2020 was civility and political action. When COVID-19 struck, and the United States began to discuss systemic racism amid wide-spread protests, it became apparent that the theme was too limited to encapsulate the common experience the country and the world are facing today. The Common Experience 2020 has chosen podcasts that discuss a pandemic and the civil rights movement.

Nominate a text/event for Common Read 2021 here!