The common reading book at UT Dallas engages first-year students in intellectual inquiry that encourages students to explore personal, racial, religious, and cultural issues.
Summer reading programs are common to many universities. We look to grow this program by selecting some of the best pieces from schools that have established rich programs already:
- Integrate the summer reading book into literary studies, composition, political, and scientific curriculum.
- Introduce students each year to the university with a keynote speaker in connection with the summer reading book.
- Provide small discussion sections for students to meet with other students early in the first semester.
This year's summer reading book is Picking Cotton, a book about sexual assault, race, the failure of eyewitness testimony, and ultimately, forgiveness. The story is co-authored by the victim of the sexual assault and the exonerated individual.
The circumstances that arise in the book, including the limitations of eye-witness testimony, will provide UT Dallas students with interesting discussion material ranging from social and political issues to brain science and potentially artificial intelligence and robotics.
The UT Dallas chapter of the Texas Innocence project has hosted Mr. Cory Session, the keynote speaker of University Convocation. Tim Cole, the brother of Mr. Session, was posthumously exonerated for a crime at Texas Tech. The Tim Cole Act in Texas is now the most generous legislation in the country for reimbursing exonerees.