FYRE: The First Year Reading Experience at UTC
After much deliberation, The First Year Reading Experience (FYRE) Committee has selected This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women as the FYRE book for 2013-2014.
Based on the National Public Radio series, This I Believe is a collection of short essays by eighty Americans—the famous to the not-so-widely known—on highly divergent personal beliefs. Essayists range from Bill Gates, Colin Powell, Newt Gringrich, Gloria Steinem, John Updike, and Isabel Allende to a freelance attorney, a civil engineer, and a professor of psychiatry.
The essays present interestingly diverse opinions on topics ranging from beliefs about such expected topics as God, country, and empathy to more unusual ones focusing on eating barbecue and feeding monkeys. Collectively and individually, the essays encourage readers to examine how they have arrived at their own beliefs and the degree to which their beliefs are shared by or differ from others.
Events and activities related to FYRE will scheduled throughout the year, and information will be posted regularly to this site.
A big thanks to everyone who nominated a book for UTC's 2013-2014 First Year Reading Experience!
The First Year Reading Experience (FYRE) program at UTC introduces students to the academic and intellectual culture of university life. The program provides a positive reading experience for students, faculty, and staff, one that holds at its core the belief that reading is an integral part of the university experience. Likewise, the program fosters a sense of community among students, faculty, and staff. Because the selected FYRE book is not intended to be specific to any one academic discipline, students, faculty, and staff find the book and its subject matter a touchstone for reference and discussion across the campus.
- To provide a common experience for first-year learners to facilitate the transition into UTC’s academic community;
- To build an intellectual community among first-year learners, returning students, faculty, and staff;
- To help students make connections between classroom and out-of-classroom experiences;
- To engage students in discussions surrounding current societal issues.
- Like other “common reading” programs, FYRE offers a unique opportunity to capture the first-year student prior to their entering the classroom.
- It develops a sense of community across UTC’s campus, cultivates a connection to the university, and it feeds intelligent, life-long learners.
- It strengthens our conversations and connects our disciplines/communities across the campus.
- Programming, guest speakers, service-oriented and social activities based on the content of the book combine to allow the students to come away with a sense of unity and commitment to their studies, their peers, and their community.
How do I get a copy of the book?
Copies of the book will be distributed at orientation during the summer of 2013.
Will the book be used in any of my classes?
Yes! Members of the English Department will be using the book in English 1010 (Rhetoric and Composition), and other faculty members may also incorporate it into their classes.
What happens if I don’t read the book?
All incoming first-year students are expected to read the FYRE book. Since there is an expectation that you will have completed the book by the first week of school, failure to do so may result in poor classroom performance and a sense that you are “behind” before classes have even begun.
Why a First Year Reading Experience (FYRE) Program?
Each fall, university-level students embark on a unique journey. At UTC, we strive to alleviate some of the concerns shared by numerous first-year students by joining them in a common experience. Not only will our students share the joys, frustrations, and excitement of attending college for the first time, they will be drawn together in a more intimate common experience even before they enter their first class meeting.
How was the book chosen?
The entire UTC community – students, faculty, and staff – was invited to submit suggestions regarding the book for the coming academic year. From the suggested books, the First Year Reading Experience (FYRE) Committee chose its finalists by using the following criteria:
- Readability and potential for engaging students;
- Richness of content and themes, i.e. the book is well written and is a “good read”; widely recognized;
- Relevance to first-year students, current society, or local community;
- Appeal to a wide range of student interests and backgrounds;
- Possibilities for additional programming, especially inclusion in first-year courses or other areas of the curriculum;
- Potential for interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary discussion and integration into the curriculum;
- Accessibility for all students;
- Cost (not to be cost prohibitive);
- Accurate and respectful portrayals of diverse cultures;
- Potential to spark lively discussion.
Committee members read the books, considered the criteria, and made the selection. We hope you enjoy the book!