First-Year Odyssey

First-Year Odyssey Goals

The following goals were established for 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 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.

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, and 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.
Most students will select three events from those listed on the website; however, some instructors may specify particular events as part of their seminar. The events specified by the instructor will count as FYO events even though they do not appear on the website.
At the end of the semester, students will be asked in the course evaluation which events they attended and asked for their input about the events.