Faculty Sought to Lead ‘Life of the Mind’ Discussion Groups

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Faculty members are needed to serve as discussion leaders in the 2009 Life of the Mind program, a Welcome Week activity that gives incoming freshmen a first taste of academic life at UT.

The Life of the Mind program encourages all incoming freshmen to read the same book and then participate in small-group discussion sessions about the book during Welcome Week. Freshmen also are asked to write brief essays about the book.

“Our selection this year is Jeannette Walls’s ‘The Glass Castle,’ a bestselling account of the author’s growing up in poverty with her eccentric parents. Walls — who you may know from her work on MSNBC — will visit campus on Aug. 17 to speak and sign books,” said Vice Provost Todd Diacon, who is overseeing the program.

Faculty volunteers will lead one or more groups of about 20 students in a discussion of “The Glass Castle.” Discussion groups are scheduled for Monday, Aug. 17, from 1 to 2 p.m., 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. and 4 to 5 p.m. and Tuesday, Aug. 18, at the same times.

“We’ll provide plenty of assistance to Life of the Mind volunteers,” Diacon said. “We will hold two sessions where faculty can discuss the book and talk about the best strategies for engaging freshmen. Discussion questions and background materials will be available on the Life of the Mind Web site, http://chancellor.tennessee.edu/lifeofthemind/.

In addition, a drawing will be held to select 15 of the faculty discussion leaders to have lunch with the author during her campus visit.

To volunteer to be a Life of the Mind discussion leader, contact Michael Modarelli at mmodarel@utk.edu. Be sure to indicate what day(s) and time(s) you prefer. A copy of the book will be delivered to all discussion leaders.

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