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FAQs for Instructors

If your question is not on this list or if you want more information about these questions, contact the FYO team at We are always happy to answer your questions or help you navigate this website.

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General Information

What is the First-Year Odyssey Seminar requirement?

All first-year undergraduate students must complete (with a grade of D or better) a First-Year Odyssey seminar to graduate. This policy includes dual-enrolled students but excludes transfer students.

What is the events requirement?

As part of the First-Year Odyssey Seminar program, we want students to be aware of all the resources available on campus and to become engaged in the cultural and intellectual life of the University; therefore, they are required to attend three FYO events. There are many events to choose from, including musical performances, films, academic lectures, and presentations by visiting speakers. In addition, students may participate in five hours of service to the community through VolunteerUGA as one event. These events appear online on the FYO website at under the Events tab. At the end of the semester, students will be asked in the course evaluation that the program distributes which events they attended and to provide input about the events they attended.

Who is eligible to teach an First-Year Odyssey seminar?

FYO seminars are taught by tenured, tenure-track, clinical, and retired tenured UGA faculty.

What is the enrollment cap for an First-Year Odyssey seminar?

FYO seminars typically enroll between 15 and 18 students. Some seminars, for example, those associated with a Learning Community, may slightly exceed this cap.

Why should I teach an First-Year Odyssey seminar?

  • Teaching a seminar provides an opportunity to introduce first-year students to you, your research, and your discipline.
  • Faculty who have taught seminars in the past have had overwhelmingly positive experiences. Read what your faculty colleagues say about their experiences teaching an First-Year Odyssey seminar.
  • Faculty will receive $3,500 per seminar as compensation.

Faculty Compensation and Support

What compensation will I receive for teaching a First-Year Odyssey seminar?

You will receive $3,500 per seminar as either extra compensation in your paycheck or as research/scholarly support (for travel, supplies, computers, or other equipment).

How do I request the $3,500 compensation for teaching an First-Year Odyssey seminar?

After your seminar proposal is approved, complete the First-Year Odyssey Seminar Program Compensation form (PDF available here). Because teaching in the FYO program requires approval of your department head and dean, you need to submit the form to them to sign as well. After you have obtained all necessary approvals and signatures, email the form to, at least two weeks prior to the first day of the semester during which you will teach the seminar. Your business manager should be able to help you with this process.

If I select extra compensation, will taxes be taken out?

Yes, taxes will be taken out. For specific information on the amount of the tax, please contact the Payroll Department at 706-542-3431.

If I select scholarly support, do the funds have to be spent by a certain deadline?

Yes, the funds must be spent before the deadlines for the fiscal year. Your business manager should be able to help you with this process.

If I select scholarly support and purchase equipment (e.g., computer, laptop), who owns these items?

UGA will own the items regardless of whether they are inventoried or not. If they meet the inventory threshold, Property Control will affix an inventory barcode.

If I teach a First-Year Odyssey seminar, will I receive release time?

No. You will still be responsible for teaching your normal course load.

Goals and Assessment of the First-Year Odyssey Seminar Program

What are the goals of the First-Year Odyssey Seminar program?

The following goals are an integral part of the First-Year Odyssey Seminar program and should be included in your course syllabus:

  • Goal 1: Introduce first-year students to the importance of learning and academics so that they are engaged 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 there is increased 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.

How will my seminar be assessed and evaluated?

The First-Year Odyssey program staff will send your students an end-of-course evaluation. The evaluation will ask them about the three events they attended, how well the seminar addressed the three goals of the program, and their thoughts about their FYO seminar. Based on past evaluation responses, 5-year and 10-year impact reports demonstrate that the program has been successful in meeting the three goals established for it.

The Logistics

Do seminars fill up on a first-come, first-served basis?

No, a limited number of seats in every seminar are released gradually throughout the summer just before every Orientation session. A student has an equal chance of getting into the seminar of their choice whether they attend the first or the last Orientation session. This means that you will not know how many students are taking your seminar until right before classes begin and again after the drop-add period. Please take this into account when you send out messages to your students before the semester begins.

How do I submit a proposal to teach an FYO seminar?

Instructions are posted here.

What criteria are used to evaluate my proposal?

Evaluation and approval are based on how well the proposal ties the seminar to both your scholarship and the goals of the program. Additional criteria are 1. diversity of offerings across schools, colleges, and departments and 2. whether or not other faculty who have submitted a proposal have had an opportunity to teach a seminar in the past.

When will I teach my seminar? How do I reserve a classroom?

You will decide where and when to teach your seminar. You may select from a predetermined list of days, times, and locations or provide a preferred location with days and times. The FYO team will help you reserve a classroom or you may work with the scheduling officer in your department to handle this.

Does my seminar have to meet for one hour each week for fifteen weeks?

Seminars must meet for a minimum of 15 hours per semester, but flexible scheduling is allowed. For example, a seminar may meet for a 2-hour class period once a week for half a semester or for a 1-hour class period twice a week for half a semester to accommodate the seminar content. Please note, however, that if you choose to meet during a 2-hour block of time for half a semester, some of your students may be unable to register for other classes that they need in their first semester.

If I decide to teach on a Tuesday or a Thursday, do I have to meet for the entire 75-minute period, or may I meet for only 50 minutes?

Seminars are only required to meet for 50 minutes, but you may choose to teach for the entire period. Many instructors have reported that they like to have the extra time for discussion.

Who orders books or other supplies for my seminar?

As with other courses, you or your departmental liaison will order books and/or supplies for your seminar.

The Syllabus

Is there a standard syllabus that I must use?

There is no standard syllabus because each seminar is unique to you, your scholarship, and/or service. However, your syllabus should include:

  • Title and CRN of the seminar
  • Your contact information and how you want students to contact you
  • Your office hours
  • The three goals of the FYOS Program
  • Information on how you will grade your seminar, including the scale you will use, how you will weight elements of the seminar, and information on how you want your students to fulfill the events requirement
  • Outline and schedule for the seminar
  • Homework assignments
  • Information about the Honor Code and Mental Health resources mandated by UGA

Will syllabi be posted online?

If you upload your syllabus at, it will be accessible online in the under the course listing FYOS 1001. To view an individual syllabus, choose the faculty/instructor from the drop-down menu at the bottom of the course listing.

Are funds available for out-of-class activities? How will instructors be reimbursed?

Yes, funds are available for both out-of-class activities with your current students and for reunion events with your former students. Go here for more information and instructions on requesting reimbursement.

Grades, Final Exams, and Evaluation of a Seminar

How should I grade my First-Year Odyssey seminar?

You must grade your seminar on an A-F scale, with a D required for successful completion. You will decide what constitutes A-work vs. B+-work, what scale you will use, and how you will weigh the elements of your course. Make sure that you articulate that information clearly on your syllabus.

If I choose to give a final exam, must it be scheduled during finals week?

Yes,you should give your final exam during finals week in accordance with the final exam schedule published each semester by the Registrar's Office and published here.

How will students evaluate my seminar?

When the seminar ends, the FYO staff will email your students an online course evaluation to complete and submit. To view a sample evaluation form, click here.

What feedback will I receive from the student evaluations?

You will have access to the student evaluations. Instructions to access the evaluation results will be emailed to faculty each semester after they submit their grades.

Will I have an opportunity to provide feedback about my seminar and the First-Year Odyssey program?

Yes, at the end of the semester, you will receive an evaluation form via email to provide feedback to improve the program. In the past, this feedback has been used to make significant improvements to the program.

When will my students be able to see my seminar in eLC?

By default, courses are available to students the day before classes begin and until 14 days after grades are due.

Is eLC use required?

No, however, all UGA faculty are strongly encouraged to use eLC, especially the Grade Book, so students know where they stand throughout the semester.

Scheduling and Athena

When will the seminars be offered?

Seminars will be offered fall and spring semesters. No FYO seminars will be offered during Maymester or summer terms.

Who will load the seminar schedule?

The First-Year Odyssey staff will load all FYO seminars in Banner and on the FYO website.


How do incoming students learn about the First-Year Odyssey requirement?

Information about the requirement is included in recruitment materials and highlighted during Orientation. Academic advisors will explain the FYO requirement during Orientation advisement.

What information about the seminars is provided to students and advisors so they can make an informed decision about which seminar to take?

The seminar title, seminar description, and name and brief biography of the faculty member teaching the seminar are available on the FYO website. The website also provides search and filtering options for students to review and select seminars.


Will any students other than first-year students be allowed to register for a seminar?

No, the seminars are for first-year students only.

Should students take a seminar in their first semester? Will there be a penalty for students who do not register for a seminar in their first year?

Students are encouraged to take a seminar in their first semester. Students who do not take a seminar in their first semester will be required to register for the seminar in the following semester.

May students take more than one First-Year Odyssey seminar?

No, students may only complete one FYO seminar.

May students audit a seminar?

No students, including transfer students, are allowed to audit an FYO seminar.

How will this requirement impact transfer students?

All transfer students are exempt from fulfilling this graduation requirement.

Are students able to withdraw from their seminar ?

Yes, students may withdraw from their seminar if necessary. Students are encouraged to contact their instructor before doing so.

What about a student who fails their FYO seminar?

If a student fails their seminar in the first semester they are enrolled, they should register for another seminar during the following semester. If a student fails to complete a second seminar, they should contact the FYO office at for assistance.

Are students able to appeal their grade?

Yes, as with any UGA course, students may appeal their grade. The process is described here.

Does the Morehead Honors College accept the FYO seminar as part of the requirements for applying to Honors after the first semester?

Yes. Since FYOS 1001 is graded A-F, it counts. For additional information, see