Campus News

Faculty, staff, students begin implementation plan for new First-Year Odyssey Seminars

Laura Jolly
Laura Jolly

Under the direction of Vice President for Instruction Laura Jolly, a team of faculty, staff and students has begun work on building the infrastructure that will support the implementation of First-Year Odyssey Seminars taught by tenured and tenure-track faculty to be offered to all incoming freshmen starting in fall 2011.

The seminar program is the focus that was decided on for the Quality Enhancement Plan that the university is required to develop as part of the process for seeking reaffirmation of accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. SACS requires institutions to develop a QEP that will significantly improve student learning and the environment supporting student learning.

The focus of UGA’s QEP was determined through a grassroots process that spanned three years and involved extensive input from the campus community and alumni. The University Council Curriculum Committee and the full Council voted last fall to establish a university-wide requirement for the one-credit-hour seminars and to introduce a new FYOS 1001 course designation.

Since the Council vote, the implementation team has gotten to work on the task of setting up an organizational structure to carry out the seminar program and developing processes and procedures to ensure its success.

“Faculty and staff support will be critical throughout the implementation of the program,” said Jolly, who plans to set up an FYOS Advisory Committee to provide input and guidance and a Faculty Proposal Review Committee to review and recommend approval of FYOS proposals.

Existing committees such as the Instructional Advisory Committee for the Center for Teaching and Learning and the University Council Curriculum Committee also will be called on for assistance with aspects of the program such as faculty development and course requirements.

Student feedback will be solicited through the Freshman Forum and Freshman Board.

The FYOS program will be staffed by a program director, expected to be named this semester, and an assistant director and administrative assistant. The director will report to the vice president for instruction.

A review team from SACS will visit campus March 1-4 as part of the reaccreditation process. Bob Boehmer, associate provost for academic planning and SACS liaison, said he expects that the QEP will definitely come up for discussion.

At a January meeting of administrators and faculty preparing for that visit, Jolly provided an update on implementation plans, noting that a series of FYOS workshops will be offered through the Center for Teaching and Learning starting Feb. 8 and continuing throughout the semester. They will be repeated as needed throughout the summer.

The workshops will help faculty plan an FYOS, create an FYOS syllabus, facilitate discussion in an FYOS and use widely available technology for multimedia assignments. Since the seminars are to include a writing component, one of the workshops will focus on writing as a means to improve student-faculty interaction.

The implementation team also has set up a listserv to communicate with tenured and tenure-track faculty and established an e-mail address ( A website will be launched this semester that will include proposal application guidelines and an online portal for submission. Responses to frequently asked questions about the seminars have been developed and will be available on the site.

Jolly also noted that some 400 courses have been entered into the course offering registration system, ensuring that rooms are saved and enough space is available for the seminars this fall.

Detailed information about the development of the QEP focus, desired student learning outcomes and the implementation plan was submitted to SACS in December. The report, which runs to 100 pages, can be accessed online at