University of Vermont

Academic Ceremonies - Convocation

February 19, 2014

To: UVM Faculty and Staff
From: Tom Sullivan, President

Re: Summer Reading for Class of 2018

On the recommendation of the First Year Read Selection Group, I am pleased to announce that in June we will ask all incoming first-year students to read Michael Pollan’s Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation. Pollan’s latest book engages the reader in an exploration of something that we all can relate to (food), but with insights that cross disciplinary boundaries. I think it will offer opportunities for faculty from every corner of UVM to incorporate all or part of the book into their first-year coursework. In order to enhance the academic experience of our entering students, we hope faculty members will help to integrate this book into their curriculum and academic events across campus.

  • We urge faculty, particularly those teaching first-year students, to use this interdisciplinary book in their fall courses, assigning readings from Cooked as appropriate, and to incorporate some aspect of its themes into their syllabi for the 2013-2014 academic year. We invite all campus community members to read Cooked with the hope that the experience of sharing this text will generate lively discussions and activities related to the book both inside and outside of the classroom.

  • If you are interested in working on developing programming (e.g., visiting speakers, discussion panels, and other co-curricular experiences) around the themes introduced in Cooked, please let Joel Goldberg ( know by Friday, February 28, 2014 in order to be considered for serving on the First-Year Read programming committee for the coming academic year.

  • At this time, I am delighted to announce that Michael Pollan will visit campus in late October; in addition to a public presentation on October 30th, other opportunities for him to engage with faculty and students during his visit are being planned.

  • Copies of the book will be available at the UVM Bookstore. In addition, copies for faculty and staff are available at a 20% discount through the Bookstore with a UVM ID.

  • The First Year Read selection committee is already initiating the selection process for the following year’s First-Year Read, and welcomes your suggestions. Nominations will be accepted at: until Friday, March 7, 2014. I would like to thank the First Year Read Selection Group for their excellent selection. I look forward to many engaging discussions across campus inspired by Cooked!

Last modified August 06 2014 01:13 PM