Campus News

Harshman named new faculty director for UGA’s First-Year Odyssey Seminar program

Melissa Harshman

Athens, Ga. – Melissa Harshman, an associate professor in the University of Georgia’s Lamar Dodd School of Art, has been named faculty director of the First-Year Odyssey Seminar program. Through the program, small-group academic seminars taught by tenured and tenure-track faculty are offered to all incoming freshmen. Harshman follows Tim Foutz, who served as director in the founding year of the program from 2011-12.

“Melissa is dedicated to student learning and engagement. Her experience teaching an FYO seminar, commitment to instructional excellence and administrative experience make her an ideal choice for this role,” said Laura Jolly, UGA’s vice president for instruction. “Melissa brings creativity, a collaborative style and a student-centered focus to the First-Year Odyssey program. We are thrilled to have her on the FYO team.”

Harshman has been a faculty member at UGA since 1993, teaching both undergraduate and graduate level courses. She served for two years as the graduate coordinator for the art school and has been chair of the printmaking and book arts department for 12 years. For the last two years, she has taught the FYO course, “The Fine Art of Printmaking,” which, in addition to her extensive involvement at UGA, has provided her with a solid foundation to lead the program.

“The First Year Odyssey program not only allows freshmen to work with some of the most distinguished faculty on campus, but also introduces them to the myriad of exciting opportunities at the University of Georgia,” said Harshman. “I’m delighted to be leading such an auspicious program.”

As faculty director, Harshman will be responsible for recruiting faculty; serving as a liaison to faculty groups; serving on the advisory committee; and, as a member of the FYO team, providing leadership for improving and sustaining the FYO program.

Harshman has received numerous faculty teaching awards at UGA. In 2009, Harshman was elected to UGA’s Teaching Academy and was selected as a UGA Senior Teaching Fellow. She is a 1996 Lilly Teaching Fellow with the UGA’s Center for Teaching and Learning. She received the university’s Sandy Beaver Teaching Award in 2011. In addition, Harshman is a member of the University Council and serves on the Faculty Affairs Committee, as well as the Instructional Advisory Committee for the Center for Teaching and Learning.

The First-Year Odyssey Seminar program was established in 2011 and provides students with an introduction to academic life at UGA by engaging them with faculty and other first year students in a small class environment. Students learn about UGA’s unique academic culture through lectures, social events and learning opportunities outside the classroom. There are more than 300 courses in varying topics from which students may choose, from “Animal Forensic CSI” to “The Science of Chocolate” to the “Zombie Plague.”

For more information on the First-Year Odyssey Seminar program, see