Campus Invited to Support First-Year Reading

Primary tabs

When it comes to the First-Year Reading program, its success relies just as much on faculty and staff support as it does on student

“This year’s book, Living With Complexity by Don Norman, was selected to connect with themes in Georgia Tech’s strategic plan, particularly those around design and innovation,” said Steven Girardot, associate vice provost for undergraduate education. “We hope the book stimulates discussion on these topics among faculty, staff, and students.”    

The premise of this year’s book is that bad design complicates all aspects of our lives, while good design can “tame” complexity. According to Norman, “Designers have to produce things that tame complexity. But … we have to take the time to learn the structure and practice the skills. This is how we mastered reading and writing, driving a car, and playing sports, and this is how we can master our complex tools.”

Each year, the First-Year Reading book is selected by a committee comprised of faculty, staff, and students. Incoming freshmen learn about the program and receive their copy of the book over the summer when they attend FASET orientation. They are asked to complete it by the time fall semester classes begin.

All members of the campus community are encouraged to join the incoming first-year class by reading the book and participating in the related reading groups, speaker series, and student-led forums held during the academic year.

Events are currently being planned and will be updated throughout the semester on the Center for Academic Enrichment website.

In addition to these activities, faculty members and English 1101/1102 and GT 1000 instructors often integrate the book into their lesson plans. (The Center for Academic Enrichment’s website will contain a curriculum guide to assist in this planning by August.)

When Esther Jordan integrated Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have a Dream: Writing and Speeches that Changed the World (the 2011 First-Year Reading book) into her GT 1000 course, she encouraged students to attend several campus events related to the reading.

“And we invited Stephanie Ray, associate dean of students, to speak to our class,”
said Jordan, assistant director for programming in the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL) and a visiting assistant professor in the School of International Affairs. “She performed a monologue in the voice of Coretta Scott King — which was amazing and really resonated with students — and then engaged them in a dialogue about the text.”

The First-Year Reading program is coordinated by Nirmal Trivedi, director of academic transition programs in the Center for Academic Enrichment. Faculty and staff interested in integrating the First-Year Reading text into their classes or coordinating programs around the book should contact Trivedi for a copy.



  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Amelia Pavlik
  • Created: 06/24/2013
  • Modified By: Fletcher Moore
  • Modified: 10/07/2016

Target Audience

No target audience selected.