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Book and Learning Circles

Employee and Organization Development hosts book and learning circles throughout the year which are open to all Cal Poly employees. Book and learning circles are great opportunities to engage with colleagues in thoughtful discussion around common themes of interest.

Book Circles involve discussing a book over three sessions. Participants receive a complimentary copy of the selected book with the expectation that they will engage in all discussion sessions. Learning Circles involve watching a video or reading an article, and participating in a discussion during a single session. Please join us for one, or more, of these enriching conversations!

White Fragility [Book Circle]

By Robin DiAngelo

Why can it be so challenging for white people to talk about race and racism? When faced with challenges to their assumptions about race and racism, white people oftentimes respond with emotions characteristic of white fragility—such as denial, guilt, anger, and withdrawal—that prevent meaningful engagement and, in turn, uphold racial inequality. In this book, Robin DiAngelo draws on academic scholarship and her extensive experience as an educator on racial and social justice issues to explain the phenomenon of white fragility and to suggest ways to engage in more meaningful conversations about racism. (Here's a link to a recent New Yorker magazine article about her and her book). In this book circle, we will have the opportunity to reflect on our experiences of white fragility, to think through how to respond to white fragility in our work, and to engage in more significant dialogue about racism in our personal and professional lives.

  • Facilitator: Sarah Macdonald (CTLT) and Kari Mansager (OUDI)
  • Time and Dates: 12:00pm – 1:00pm on January 23, January 30, February 6, and February 13
  • Location: Room 209 of Building 35

[Please note: CTLT is also offering this as a book circle from 11am - 12pm on January 24, January 31, February 7, and February 14. Please register for the CTLT session by clicking here.]

Emotional Intelligence [Book Circle]

By Daniel Goleman

Daniel Goleman makes the point that our view of "intelligence" is far, far too narrow, and that our emotions offer insight into another — just as important — kind of intelligence: Emotional Intelligence. When it comes to happiness and success in life, emotional intelligence (EQ) matters just as much as intellectual ability or IQ. Emotional intelligence helps you to build stronger relationships, succeed at school and work, and achieve your career and personal goals. Building your emotional intelligence can also help you to connect to your feelings, manage stress, turn intention into action, and make informed decisions about the things that matter most to you. Learn more about why emotional intelligence is so important and how you can boost your own EQ by mastering some critical skills.

  • Facilitator: Harry Eggleton, Employee and Organization Development
  • Time and Dates: 12:00 – 1:00 pm on February 15, March 1, and March 15
  • Location: Room 105 of Building 36

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking [Book Circle]

By Susan Cain

In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture. She also introduces us to successful introverts—from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Passionately argued, superbly researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves.

  • Facilitator: Jeff Williams, Employee and Organization Development
  • Time and Dates: 12:00 – 1:00 pm on February 19, March 5, and March 19
  • Location: Room 105 of Building 36

The Power Of Privilege
[Learning Circle – TED Talk]

By Tiffany Jana

Privilege can be a factor in many things including who we hire, whose ideas we value, and who we visit with at lunch. Tiffany Jana, co-author of Overcoming Bias, and co-founder of the diversity and inclusion management consulting firm TMI Consulting Inc., helps us to understand what it means to talk about privilege and what can be done with that power. In this candid talk, she shares that we are not powerless against our unconscious biases, and can use privilege for good.

  • Facilitator: Lanaya Gaberel, Employee and Organization Development
  • Time and Date: 12:00 – 1:00 pm on February 21
  • Location: Room 105 of Building 36

How to Speak So that People Want to Listen [Learning Circle – TED Talk]

By Julian Treasure

Have you ever felt like you're talking, but nobody is listening? Julian Treasure explains the habits that we all fall into sometimes — the "Seven Deadly Sins of Speaking." In this useful talk, this renowned communication expert demonstrates the how-to's of powerful speaking — from some handy vocal exercises to tips on how to speak with empathy. A talk that might help the world sound more beautiful.

  • Facilitator: Harry Eggleton, Employee and Organization Development
  • Time and Date: 12:00 – 1:00 pm on March 8
  • Location: Room 105 of Building 36

Learning About the Brain Changes Everything [Learning Circle – TED Talk]

By David Rock

David Rock is a thought leader for the brain-based approach to coaching. David coined the term 'NeuroLeadership' and co-founded the NeuroLeadership Institute. He is also the author of the book "Your Brain at Work." In this talk, David explains the mechanisms and implications of some fundamental aspects of the way our brain functions, including the limits of our attention, how attending to an experience changes the brain, the importance of our social experiences and the benefits of emotional expression.

  • Facilitator: Jeff Williams, Employee and Organization Development
  • Time and Dates: 12:00 – 1:00 pm on March 12
  • Location: Room 105 of Building 36

For more book circles, visit the Center for Teaching, Learning & Technology (CTLT).