Common (Read) Experience

OVERVIEW

The Common Experience is the first shared academic experience among members of the university community, including first-year students, faculty, staff alumni, and the Board of Visitors. Previous years have featured books and a play.

WHAT WE’RE DOING IN 2021

This year, the Common Experience is built around Living on Auto-Pilot, an episode from PBS’s Hacking Your Mind series. Living on Auto-Pilot was selected because it prompts us to think about what factors go into our decision making and reflect on when and how we make reasoned versus snap decisions. This documentary illustrates the many ways our “auto-pilot” mental processes can cause us to respond automatically or with bias, and it offers suggestions for engaging our “slow-thinking” system to make more reasoned, less biased decisions. We rely on our auto-pilot systems to make quick decisions, but these systems can be duped by advertisers. Additionally, auto-pilot thinking is influenced by implicit biases, which can lead to biased actions. We’ll use this documentary and implicit association tests to launch a discussion about these critical topics.

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?

The Common Experience paves the way for first-year students to engage with each other, with faculty, and with course material during their first-year and beyond at UMW.

VOLUNTEER TO BE A FACILITATOR

The Common Experience comes alive during New Student Arrival when first-year students meet to discuss this documentary together with the university community. Toward that end, we are looking for volunteers from the university community to facilitate these discussions.

EXPECTATIONS FOR FACILITATORS

  • Common Experience 2021 Discussion will run from 9 am to 11 am on Friday, August 20
  • Facilitators are asked to arrive by 8:30 am

TRAINING FOR FACILITATORS

  • Training session is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 17th time TBD.
  • Facilitators are encouraged by not required to attend training session.
  • In-person and Zoom Training Sessions are available.
  • If you cannot attend the scheduled training session you can view the zoom recording.

RESOURCES FOR FACILITATORS

HOW TO GET INVOLVED

If you have any questions, contact Dr. April Wynn, Faculty Director of the First-Year Experience at awynn@umw.edu.