For Discussion Leaders

Dear PRP Discussion Leaders (current and prospective):

Welcome to the Penn Reading Project! Every year since 1991, Penn's incoming freshmen have come together in small groups with faculty to discuss a selected text specifically for that class. The Penn Reading Project (PRP) is a major feature of New Student Orientation, and the first opportunity students have to interact with faculty in an intellectual discussion.

Many faculty and academic staff have joined us during this time—some for many years. We strive to provide a valuable, satisfying experience for students and leaders. I often hear from Discussion Leaders that in addition to the small group discussions with students that are a core of the program, they really enjoy the chance to meet with colleagues from other schools, who also serve in the program.

This year's selection is Walter Isaacson's The Innovators, which will support the Year of Innovation (2017-18). For information on the project, visit:

If you are ready to sign up—and I hope you are—click the link below, which will take you to a form. Once filled, out, you’ll get periodic updates through the summer, and of course, we’ll ultimately send you a list of participants in your group.  We will also send you a printed copy of The Innovators—you will also have access to the online version, where starting in early July, incoming Penn freshman students will be reading and communicating with each other.  Some key dates and events are listed below.

Thank you so much for your support of PRP!

David Fox
Director, New Student Orientation and Academic Initiatives / 215.573.5636

Penn Reading Project 2017 – The Innovators by Walter Isaacson

  • March (ongoing) — Printed copies of The Innovators delivered to Discussion Leaders
  • May - June — The Innovators online reading site opens to Discussion Leaders. You will be able to annotate the text and view other public annotations.
  • July 5 — The Innovators reading site launches for incoming Penn Freshmen
  • July-August — Every participant (Discussion Leaders and students) assigned a private, online reading group.  All participants will be able to annotate text, communicate with reading group members, and have access to group and public annotations.
  • August 17 (12pm-1:00pm) — Optional prep session for PRP discussion leaders in Cohen Auditorium
  • August 25 (11:30am or 1:30pm) — Presentation on The Innovators and Year of Innovation.
  • August 25 (3:30pm-4:30pm) — PRP small group discussions
  • August 25 (4:30pm-6pm) — Reception for PRP discussion leaders
Click here to register as a PRP Discussion Leader on Friday, August 25. This registration is for Discussion Leaders only!
Enter your 8-digit PennCard number to find information about your room the day of the Penn Reading Project and the students that will be attending your session. Coming Summer 2017!
The Discussion Leader Archives contains important emails that are sent out throughout the summer as well as the recording of the Prep Session if you are unable to attend on Thursday, August 17.