First-Year Studies

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville


Lead a Life of the Mind Discussion

Research indicates that improved support increases the chances that students will return in their second year, and in being one of the first faces to welcome these new students, discussion leaders play a vital role in easing their transition to our Volunteer community. If you would like to lead a Life of the Mind discussion during Welcome Week, we invite you to apply!

This year, we’re doing things a little differently. Instead of having the small-group discussions after the author’s presentation, discussions will occur before Bill McKibben speaks. This will allow discussion leaders to help students frame the presentation in the context of the book and students’ lives. Because welcome teams will go directly from small-group discussion to the author’s presentation, this will also allow welcome leaders and discussion leaders to walk over with the students and sit with them during the presentation and subsequent Q&A. We would like discussion leaders to attend the author presentation with their groups, if possible, but we understand that it is a busy time of year for everyone at UT.

Who can lead a discussion?

Members of the UT community, including faculty, exempt staff, and graduate teaching associates, can lead discussions. When you apply, you make a commitment to be available on August 19, 2013, at least from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. Last year, all discussion leaders who signed up led a discussion, so even if you are “wait-listed,” plan to still receive a group at the last minute.

Discussion leader responsibilities include:

  • Reading Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet by Bill McKibben (the Office of the Provost will provide facilitators with free copies of the book).
  • Attending a facilitator training session in on August 13 or 14, 2013, to discuss the book with colleagues and get ideas for leading an engaging discussion.
  • Reviewing and generating feedback via Blackboard for up to thirty student projects (Blackboard experience is not necessary; training will be provided).
  • Leading a one-hour discussion with a small group of first-year students directly before the author’s presentation (which you should also attend). Discussion groups will occur at 4:00 p.m., and the author’s presentation will be at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, August 19, 2013.
  • Completing a brief survey about your experience.

Contribute to a big idea. Give to First Year Studies Program Fund.

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