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First-Year Studies is seeking nearly 200 discussion leaders for the 2016 Life of the Mind program with the incoming first-year class.

leaving-orbit-dean-200x300The selected work, Leaving Orbit: Notes from the Last Days of American Spaceflight by Margaret Lazarus Dean, associate professor of English at UT, is an elegy to the shuttle era that also delves into what space exploration means to ordinary Americans. The New York Times named it one of the best books of 2015.

Life of the Mind is part of First-Year Studies 100, a zero-credit pass-fail class that gives students their first taste of college studies and requires them to complete online lessons on topics including alcohol awareness, financial literacy, plagiarism, technology, civility, and succeeding at UT. As part of the program, freshmen are asked to read the book, complete a written response, participate in a Welcome Week discussion session, and attend an event where the author speaks.

Discussion leaders are asked to read the book, lead a small group of students in critical thinking discussions on August 15. Leaders will attend a professional development workshop on the novel in preparation for the discussion sessions. Workshops will occur from 1:00-3:00 p.m. on both August 3 and August 9.

Discussion leaders will be provided a copy of the book and will be invited to attend both the Life of the Mind assembly where Dean will speak and the author breakfast, a smaller affair with the writer. Faculty, staff, and graduate students are encouraged to volunteer to be discussion leaders.

Sign up to be a discussion leader on the First-Year Studies website.