First-Year Book Program Provides a Gateway Into Academic Culture

First-Year Book Program Provides a Gateway Into Academic Culture
Jenny James Lee
August 22, 2013

The transition from high school to college can be challenging as students adjust to a new environment and expectations, a new city or country, and added independence. Academia itself may seem like a whole new world. At Drexel, the new First-Year Book Program aims to help students understand that Drexel is a learning community guided by common learning priorities, and that the university privileges reading, writing, and comprehension as significant, cross-curricular components of the Drexel experience. As the First-Year Book Program welcomes students into the academic community, faculty across the university will use the book to help students to explore relevant societal issues through a variety of disciplinary perspectives.

This year’s book choice is Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desire, which offers a multidisciplinary perspective on humans’ interconnected relationship with some familiar and fascinating plants. “Pollan’s book is a great choice,” says Rebecca Ingalls, faculty member and chair of the First-Year Book Committee, “because he’s wonderfully able to bring the sciences, humanities, and social sciences together into one conversation that is relevant to all humans. His book is readable, surprising, and stimulating.”

Students are invited to read the book over the summer and attend one of the many faculty-led discussion sessions on the morning of September 20 (during New Student Days). “Each discussion session is unique, and the topics developed by the faculty facilitators are fascinating,” says Nancy Bellafante, Librarian for Undergraduate Learning and committee member. “They really show off the diversity of our community.” These sessions will provide an opportunity for students to meet a faculty member, engage with classmates through discussion, and ease into the academic life at Drexel. Students will receive an email with a link to register for sessions in early September.

The First-Year Book Progam committee is lead by Rebecca Ingalls (CoAS) and includes Nancy Bellafante (University Libraries), Chris Finnin (LeBow), Tasha Gardner (AARD), Dominic Gullo (SoE), Deanna Schaffer (CNHP), Lori Severino (SoE), and Rachael Switalski (CoE).

For more information about this program, please visit: