The First-Year Odyssey Teaching Award recognizes outstanding instructors who have demonstrated creativity or innovation in instruction, connection of seminar content to the instructor’s research and incorporation of FYOS program goals into the seminar.
Kevin Burke is an associate professor of language and literary education in the College of Education. He uses his background in ethnography in his Schooling Masculinities seminar to explore with his students how masculinity and gender directly and indirectly influence everyday life.
As part of the course, Burke requires students to do several activities that contribute to their acclimation to the university and write a response on a deadline of their choosing to teach them to think and plan independently.
Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor, professor of TESOL and World Language Education, immerses students in improvisational theater games and embodied approaches to creative conflict resolution in her seminar Theatre for Embodied Personal and Social Change.
Her students rehearse personal and social change and prepare for an interactive improv event with youth at the State Botanical Garden. Most of the assignments are geared to an individual understanding, as well as tied to the campus and community experience.
Jamie Cooper, an associate professor of food and nutrition in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, uses her research on reducing obesity to give her students a scientific framework for nutrition, along with skills and tools for healthy eating as part of her seminar Healthy Eating: Exploring Truths and Myths.
She also successfully engages her students in a meaningful way with scientific research and critical reading by having them use particular library resources to research and critique scientific articles.
Michael Robinson, an assistant professor in the School of Social Work, believes that students should get out of the classroom and into life. In his FYO seminar Photo Elicitation: A Day in the Life of A UGA Student: A Cultural Perspective, students interact with five individuals from different cultures using pictures to elicit conversation in an effort to explore diversity and how the definition of diversity is always changing. Each participant develops a presentation using pictures and narration to compare three perspectives with their own.
Marshall Shepherd is the Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor of Geography and Atmospheric Sciences. His uses his FYO seminar Hurricanes, Tsunamis and More: Studying Planet Earth from the Vantage Point of Space to expose students to an array of Earth System Science topics (e.g., hurricanes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, fires, floods, drought, landslides) from the vantage point of space. Their in-class work is enhanced by virtual lectures given by NASA scientists.
—Tracy N. Coley