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Life of the MindIt’s time to begin selecting a Life of the Mind book for the 2012-13 academic year—and your help is needed.

Life of the Mind (LOTM) is a common reading experience that gives first-year students their first taste of academic life at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The book is used as a tool to challenge students’ thinking and engage them in discussion about important issues and their transition to college. LOTM is the centerpiece of First Year Studies 100: The UT Connection, a required course for all first-year students.

This past August, more than 4,000 first-year students, 160 faculty and staff discussion leaders, and more than 200 undergraduate Welcome Leaders participated in the LOTM program. Participation continues through the semester as first-year students attend faculty-led panel discussions, focusing on the various themes presented by the book.

Each year, the LOTM committee reviews dozens of books nominated by the campus community before making the final selection for the program. This year’s LOTM book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, tells the story of an African American woman whose immortal cells changed the face of science. This New York Times best-seller raised a number of issues, from research in medicine and science to racism, ethics, politics, and socio-economic divides.

If you know of a book you think would be a good LOTM selection for next year, we want to hear about it.

Please keep in mind that the LOTM book should be written by an individual who is living and able to come to campus. Preference will be given to titles which include themes that:

• Expose students to UT’s Ready for the World international and intercultural initiative

• Challenge student thinking and encourage campus dialogue targeted toward specific campus initiatives and/or current global events

• Represent a transition or journey that can be related to the first-year experience at UT

• Are broad, cross-disciplinary, and able to be built upon with programming throughout the fall semester

To nominate a book for consideration by the LOTM selection committee, please visit and fill out the electronic nomination form. Be sure to share with us why you think the book would be a good LOTM selection.