Campus News

New Faculty Orientation provides keys to success at UGA

(Photo by Andrew Davis Tucker/UGA)

This semester, 239 new faculty members will join the university, including 115 tenured or tenure-track scholars

The University of Georgia welcomed new faculty Aug. 1-2 during New Faculty Orientation, which highlighted information, skills and resources designed to jumpstart faculty members’ teaching, research and service at UGA.

“Welcome to UGA, and congratulations on being selected from among the best and brightest scholars in your fields,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead, who opened the event at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education and Hotel with an overview of recent university initiatives. “UGA is on an extraordinary trajectory. It is an exciting time to be part of this institution, and I appreciate everything that our faculty are doing to make these historic achievements possible.”

This semester, 239 new faculty members will join the university, including 115 tenured or tenure-track scholars. Many of the new faculty were recruited through a series of presidential hiring initiatives.

UGA continues to attract leading scholars in data science and artificial intelligence through an ambitious initiative to hire 70 faculty members by the end of 2024. A presidential hiring initiative in brain and behavioral health has recruited interdisciplinary researchers in neuroscience, epigenetics, bioinformatics and translational medicine to study Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. The university also has recruited faculty through a presidential hiring initiative in integrative precision agriculture, a field that harnesses the power of technology and big data to sustainably provide food and fiber for the world’s growing population.

“This infusion of talented faculty will help UGA build upon its momentum as one of the nation’s leading public universities,” said S. Jack Hu, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “Through their teaching, research and service, our faculty are seeking solutions to some of the world’s most complex challenges while providing a world-class experience for our students.”

Hu noted the university will soon launch a new faculty hiring initiative to recruit 10 leading scholars in the field of electric mobility.

During the two-day orientation program, 155 new faculty members gained insights on excellence in instruction, research and service from some of UGA’s most distinguished faculty members.

A session on research excellence, for example, featured Naola Ferguson-Noel, a professor in the department of population health in the College of Veterinary Medicine and a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors; J. Marshall Shepherd, Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor and director of the atmospheric sciences program in the department of geography, and a member of the National Academy of Science, the National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; and Nora Benedict, an assistant professor of Spanish and digital humanities in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. Benedict has attained prominence as a scholar of Latin American literature and culture while developing methodologies and tools for digital humanities research.

During another panel discussion, participants gained insights on cultivating instructional effectiveness from a group of award-winning professors. The panel included Santanu Chatterjee, a Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor in the department of economics and the associate dean for diversity, international and master’s programs in the Terry College of Business; Paula Lemons, a Sandy Beaver Teaching Professor in the department of biochemistry and molecular biology and an associate dean in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences; and John Maerz, a Josiah Meigs Distinguished Professor in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources and an adjunct professor in the Odum School of Ecology.

Other sessions focused on UGA’s public service and outreach mission, developing student engagement, mentoring, and the university’s Active Learning Initiative.

For the first time this year, New Faculty Orientation included a student panel featuring representatives from the Arch Society, the UGA Athletic Board and the Student Government Association.

“New Faculty Orientation is designed to offer a clear perspective on UGA’s mission and priorities while building excitement about being a part of those priorities,” said Elizabeth Weeks, associate provost for faculty affairs. “We provide new faculty with tools and resources that they can put into play immediately.”

The orientation kicks off Keys to UGA, a series of workshops geared toward incoming faculty but open to all faculty and staff. Future sessions will focus on topics such as introducing active learning in the classroom, utilizing UGA Libraries’ resources, launching research activities, teaching-related policies and UGA’s Innovation District.

For more information or to register for Keys to UGA, visit