First Year Odyssey


First Year Odyssey Goals

Goal 1: Introduce first-year students to the importance of learning and academics so that we engage them in the academic culture of the University.

Seminar assignments and discussion will encourage reflection on the topic of the seminar and will encourage students to develop self-awareness about the reason for study and the importance of self-directed learning.

Goal 2: Give first-year students an opportunity for meaningful dialogue with a faculty member to encourage positive, sustained student-faculty interactions.

The small seminar format will promote dialogue and discussion of ideas. A key element of each seminar should be that faculty members introduce students to their own personal and educational backgrounds, describing the experiences that led them to their research interests. Although faculty will have considerable freedom in developing their seminars, every seminar should include one or more written exercises that document the intellectual dialogue between the instructor and the student. The purpose of these exercises should be to guide students in thinking -- and rethinking -- issues related to the academic focus of the seminar. Examples of such exercises could include a written paper, journals, blogs, and written documentation of intellectual dialogue between the faculty and student in the preparation of a poster presentation, an oral presentation, a mathematical proof, or other sorts of projects.

Goal 3: Introduce first-year students to the instruction, research, public service and international missions of the University and how they relate to teaching and learning in and outside the classroom so that we increase student understanding of and participation in the full mission of the University.

Faculty may highlight some aspect of the mission of the University by exploring how they contribute to instruction, research and/or public service in their academic area. First-Year Odyssey Seminars will also serve as a gateway to critical intellectual programs and resources at the University, including undergraduate research, service-learning, study abroad, and the libraries. The University wants students to become intentionally engaged in the intellectual life of the University. To assist faculty in accomplishing this aim, the University will develop podcasts or other materials that faculty can use in their seminars. These materials will provide an overview of the instruction, research, public service, and international missions of the University and will be developed in consultation with the corresponding offices (e.g., Offices of the Vice President for Instruction, Research, Public Service and Outreach, and Office of International Education). Faculty can access such podcasts through eLearning Commons, the University’s course management system.

Students enrolled in the seminars will be required to attend at least three campus events during the semester that highlight some aspect of the mission of the University. Examples might include a theatrical performance or musical performance, a department research seminar, service to the community through VolunteerUGA, or attending the annual Study Abroad Fair. The FYO program will work with campus groups to provide opportunities for students to learn about various opportunities on campus (e.g., undergraduate research, service-learning, study abroad). The program will also develop a web portal that makes all faculty and students more aware of the activities on campus that might particularly interest participants in the Seminar program. Additional information will be provided before the seminars begin.