Shared Reading Program brings first-year students together
Shared Reading Program brings first-year students togetherAugust 25, 2003Sara Millersemortim@syr.edu
As members of the Class of 2007 take their first steps on campus, one piece of homework will already be complete.
The Shared Reading Program is the University’s new series of summer assignments developed by each school and college and the Honors Program for all incoming first-year students. The program is part of “Syracuse Welcome 2003: A Slice of SU Life,” the University’s new signature orientation program. Reading assignments are intended to form an earlier connection between students and their faculty through a common academic experience.
Students have already received Shared Reading assignments by mail, and will integrate the readings into organized discussions and coursework once on campus. Some schools and colleges have also arranged special events and author appearances.
“It’s important that students feel an early bond to their school or college and the faculty and classmates they will learn with in their undergraduate years at Syracuse University,” says Vice Chancellor and Provost Deborah A. Freund. “The Shared Reading program gives students the opportunity to have a common educational experience before they arrive and encourages a more immediate exchange of ideas.”
School of Architecture Italo Calvino, “Invisible Cities” ” ‘Invisible Cities’ is considered a classic contemporary work in the fields of architecture, urbanism and literature,” says Arthur McDonald, interim dean of the School of Architecture.Architecture students will meet Aug. 24 in Slocum Hall for book discussion and may submit questions in advance of the talk. Parents are invited to read the text as well, with a possible lecture to take place on Parents Weekend.
The College of Arts and Sciences David McCullough, “Brave Companions”This book, a selection of profiles of some of history’s exceptional individuals, will be the topic of discussion for students in the college’s Freshman Forum. McCullough’s essays are “about remarkable people, each with the courage to follow a personal vision,” according to Dean Cathryn R. Newton.
McCullough is a past speaker in the University Lectures series, and will serve this fall as The College of Arts and Sciences’ Laura Hanhausen Milton Freshman Lecturer. There will also be an Aug. 24 student and faculty panel followed by a performance by Theodore Bikel.
School of EducationAmy Wilensky, “Passing for Normal.”“The School of Education is well-known for the study of disability and the practice of inclusive education,” notes Emily Robertson, interim associate dean in the School of Education. “Wilensky’s memoir of growing up with Tourette’s Syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder gives an insider’s view of what it is like to grow up with significant disability in our society.”Book discussion will take place in the school’s first-year seminar, with students sending questions in advance. First-year students will view “Twitch and Shout” and hear a panel discussion on Aug. 24, and the school will also offer a film series, “Beyond Compliance: Reflections on Diversity: Disability in Film.”
L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS)William Langewiesche, “American Ground: Unbuilding the World Trade Center.”This book, which provides a first-hand account of the World Trade Center site following the Sept. 11 attacks, will be tied to “Introduction to Engineering and Computer Science,” ECS’ 101 course for freshmen. Teams of students will discuss the book and collaborate to design a device that meets a specified objective. There is also an interactive program and planned student-faculty picnic on the porch of Link Hall on Aug. 24.
“ECS students will discuss and experience issues relating to collaborative design, teamwork and leadership, particularly in situations that involve complexity, uncertainty, time pressure and societal impact,” according to Dean Edward A. Bogucz.
College of Human Services and Health Professions (HSHP)Barbara Ehrenreich, “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America.” ” ‘Nickel and Dimed’ offers an engaging and insightful view of the plight of today’s working poor. By asking new students to read the book, we hope to propel them into grappling-in a systematic way-with the dimensions of a more caring society that are so central to the concerns of our college, ” notes Bruce W. Lagay, dean of HSHP.
Book discussion will take place on Aug. 24 and continue in the school’s Gateway course.
School of Information Studies George Orwell, “1984.”Students will also view the movies “The Matrix” and “Matrix: Reloaded” and read media articles regarding information technology and the war on terrorism. Book discussion will be part of the school’s first-year seminar
” ‘1984’ is a classic, as relevant today as it was yesterday in light of new technology, and the movies deal with reality in a technological society,” says Dean Raymond von Dran. “We want our students to be really aware of what is at stake when you have ubiquitous technology that can now monitor our daily movements.”
The Martin J. Whitman School of ManagementKevin and Jackie Freiberg, “NUTS!”” ‘NUTS!’ is a very accessible case study of the rise of Southwest Airlines,” notes Sandra N. Hurd, interim dean of the Whitman School. “It foreshadows many of the topics and concepts presented during the semester and provides common ground for discussion, particularly during the first two weeks of classes when setting academic expectations is extremely important.”Discussion of the book begins Aug. 23 and continues through the school’s first-year course; students are also expected to read the “Marketplace” section of The Wall Street Journal and be prepared to write on such areas as the topics covered, tone or style of presentation and intended audience.
S.I. Newhouse School of Public CommunicationsIncoming freshmen have been assigned to determine who owns the media outlets in their hometowns and communities, keep a detailed log of their personal media use for one week prior to arriving on campus, and read The New York Times’ front page and “Business” section with a focus on media-related articles. Discussion of the assignments will take place Aug. 24.
“Newhouse is very concerned about the degree of concentration of ownership in the media, and we want to emphasize this problem by demonstrating to our students how many of the media outlets in their home community are owned by the same large companies,” says Dean David Rubin. “Once they understand who owns the media, they will be able to see the presence of those companies in their own lives.”
College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA)Christopher Phillips, “Socrates Cafe.” “We hope that reading and discussing Socrates Cafe will enhance our students’ abilities to think broadly about a range of intellectual questions.” says Carole Brzozowski, dean of VPA. “We’re also excited that the author has agreed to come to campus to participate in a discussion about such questions with our students.”
At VPA’s academic convocation, students and faculty will discuss Phillips’ book. Copies of the book also go to each faculty and staff member in the college, and several symposia related to the reading will follow during the fall semester.
Renee Crown Honors ProgramSimon Winchester, “Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883.”Winchester’s book will be discussed in the Honors Freshman Seminar, and Winchester will serve as the Honors Freshman Lecturer during an Oct. 29 appearance at Hendricks Chapel. According to Judy L. Hamilton, interim executive director of the Honors Program, “Krakatoa” is the examination of the enduring and world-changing effects of one of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes.