TAMIU Students Begin “Reading the Globe”

New TAMIU Students Begin
“Reading the Globe”

This Fall semester at Texas A&M International University brings the first offering of “Reading the Globe: the TAMIU Freshman Experience,” designed to promote meaningful learning, set high expectations for students, build an intellectual community, and deepen students’ understanding of international issues.

All incoming freshmen are provided with a copy of a selected text that is designed to initiate a campus-wide dialogue, provide targeted learning experiences and, for some selected students, an opportunity to travel to the site of the book’s setting.

This year’s selected “Reading the Globe” text is “All But My Life” by Gerda Weissmann Klein. Klein’s book was also selected as the first in Laredo’s “One City, One Book,” a city-wide book club initiative sponsored by the Laredo Public Library and the Food for Thought Foundation.

Klein’s book is her memoir of a young Polish Jewish girl’s Nazi enslavement and her ultimate liberation by American soldiers. It was the basis for the Emmy-winning Holocaust documentary, “One Survivor Remembers.” She has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Sunday Morning and was featured on 60 Minutes and Nightline.

TAMIU executive director of the University’s Programs for Academic Support and Enrichment (PASE), Conchita Hickey, said “Reading the Globe” is a prototype of what will be an annual offering each Fall at the University.

“It’s an exciting first installment and we are greatly encouraged by student, faculty and staff response to this program. Freshmen students, faculty and administrative staff are receiving copies of the book and we hope to shortly have reserve and electronic versions of the book available from our Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library,” Hickey explained.

The book’s author will visit the TAMIU campus on Friday, Sept. 12 at 11 a.m. and speak with students about her book and experience, further bringing the text to life. The event will take place at the University’s Center for the Fine and Performing Arts’ Recital Hall. In support of the Food for Thought Foundation, students attending are being asked to bring a can of food that will be donated to the Food for Thought Foundation.

All faculty that will be instructing new TAMIU freshmen this year will have opportunities to tie the text to learning to further expand upon its impact, she said.

“In this way, we’re able to develop social, cultural, historical, political and, in some cases, economic dimensions of the selected book. It is an enormously important book that has profound implications for all readers as it questions our humanity and reaffirms our capacity for strength against all odds,” Hickey explained.

Later this semester, students will compose essays based upon the book. A faculty committee will choose a limited number of top essays, with those students being eligible to participate in a paid trip to Poland during spring break to include a visit to the concentration camps besides other places of historical and cultural interest.

When they return, the student travelers will meet with other TAMIU students and designated groups to recount their experience and serve as ambassadors for the “Reading the Globe: the TAMIU Freshman Experience,” its mission and goals.

Community members interested in helping to support this new University initiative can contact Candy Hein, vice president, Office for Institutional Advancement, at 326.2175.

Hickey explained that the development of the program has been under consideration for the past two years, but was given additional urgency after a presentation on a similar program initiated by fellow Texas A&M University System campus West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas.

“We were very impressed with their program and their successes and have emulated their approach. We were blessed to have their director and a student join us for our Fall Faculty and Staff meeting and Student Convocation to explain the WT program, “ she said.

For additional information on “Reading the Globe: the TAMIU Freshman Experience,” please contact Hickey at 3262134, visit offices in Dr. Billy F. Cowart Hall, room 206A or e-mail chickey@tamiu.edu

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu