Erika Nielson discusses Common Experience with Big Ideas TXST

Inside TXST

Jayme Blaschke | September 7, 2021

erika nielson headshot

Erika Nielson, director of the Common Experience at Texas State University, joins the Big Ideas TXST podcast to discuss the 2021-2022 Common Experience theme of "Compassion."    

Texas State presents an academic theme each year, providing numerous opportunities for everyone — students, faculty, staff and community members — to share in a Common Experience. The Common Experience theme for the 2021-2022 academic year is Compassion. It's an academic and real-world look at the self. The university community will focus on topics such as mindfulness, support, relief and genuine human kindness — for oneself, for others and for everything around us.

This Common Experience theme focuses on compassion as a concept that unites in commitment to affect change for the better beginning with the self and expanding throughout the campus, community, country and world. With profound implications for personal wellbeing and growth, dynamic potential for application and collaboration across disciplines, and promise of deeper connection between students, faculty, staff and administration, moving toward compassion can empower our university and its members to shape lasting personal and collective change for the better on the Texas State campuses and beyond.

In addition to heading up the Common Experience, Nielson is the Common Reading coordinator, new student convocation chair and is a senior lecturer in University College. She received a B.A. in anthropology from Texas A&M University, an M.A. in reading education from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin and a Ph.D. in developmental education, literacy specialization from Texas State. Nielson is also a yoga student of 24 years and a yoga teacher of 20 years. Her research focus includes educators and students in pre-kindergarten through higher education engaging in mindfulness, self-compassion and yoga practices, and their understanding and observations of those practices, as well as the literacy practices of adult learners.

Big Ideas TXST is a monthly podcast from Texas State’s Division of University Advancement that goes inside the fascinating minds forging innovation, research and creativity at the university. Hosted by Daniel Seed, a lecturer in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, each episode features thoughtful interviews and discussion with the thought leaders developing innovative ideas to make the world a better place.

Big Ideas TXST can be found at The podcast may also be listened to or subscribed to at:

For more information, contact University Communications:

Jayme Blaschke, 512-245-2555

Sandy Pantlik, 512-245-2922