Freshman Kent Mallett was able to get a head start on college in early July and even discuss his intended major with a landscape architecture professor, thanks to UGA’s Freshman College Summer Experience and the mentoring efforts of Emeriti Scholar Sylvia Hutchinson.
Mallett was one of 275 first-year students who enrolled in the four-week residential Freshman College, an initiative of the Office of the Vice President for Instruction. In addition to taking two classes for course credit, Freshman College students participated in “Beyond Class” programs focused on UGA’s many extracurricular options. Faculty mentors provided students with one-on-one support and guidance.
“This is a spectacular group of students who are very interested in academic opportunities,” said Hutchinson, a retired professor of reading education who has been a faculty mentor since the Freshman College program began in 2000. “They are very focused and have a sense of why they are here and what they want to do.
It is very satisfying to me that I can connect students to campus resources and help them find their niches,” she said.
“As a retired faculty member it’s also a wonderful way to stay in touch with the younger generations,” added Nancy Canolty, Emeriti Scholar and retired professor in foods and nutrition, who joined the faculty mentors this year.
Like most of the mentors, Hutchinson had weekly lunches with her students to discuss how they were adapting to UGA. Sometimes guest speakers such as a faculty member from the Honors Program or the president of the Roosevelt Institution, a student-run think tank, were invited.
Although Hutchinson originally signed up to take on five mentees, six more joined her group because of her enthusiasm, dedication and compassion in helping students.
“Both the faculty involved with Freshman College and the faculty mentors provide connections with students that contribute to building the kind of learning environment that we seek at UGA,” said Del Dunn, vice president for instruction.
“I commend the students who are drawn to this enriching experience as well as the faculty who take the time to create a better learning experience for them.”