Campus News

Summer, Maymester courses offer unique learning experiences for UGA students

Maymester 2015-h. Georgia Fishes Field Study
Students in the Georgia Fishes Field Study course watch tiger striped hermit crabs on the beach at night on Sapelo Island. From left: Senior wildlife major Kathryn Buffington

Summer sessions offer students an opportunity to dive into unique subjects in their disciplines, while also helping streamline their time to graduation and reduce the overall cost of their UGA degree.

From hands-on courses where the classroom is in the field to those that immerse students in unconventional topics, here is a list of intriguing summer 2015 courses at UGA.

• The Peabody Awards: Television ­History and Excellence
It’s TV binge-watching with an academic slant. Taught by Shira Chess, an assistant professor of entertainment and media studies in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, this online summer course uses content from the Peabody Awards Archives. Students watch, think about and discuss television content from sitcoms to news, from science fiction shows to crime dramas. Through the lens of a historical examination, students ask what excellence means to this medium.

• Tropical Marine Invertebrates
In this Maymester course, students woke up in the morning, grabbed a cup of coffee and went snorkeling to study anemones, corals and other organisms in the marine environment at the Key Largo Marine Research Laboratory, the home base for this class. Taught by William Fitt, a professor in the Odum School of Ecology, the course gave students the chance to study invertebrates in the Everglades, mangroves, sea grasses and coral reefs.

• Basic Dramatic Writing: Or How to Write a Screenplay in Three Weeks
This class was for students who always wanted to write a TV pilot or short movie but never had the motivation or confidence to give it a try. Taught by John Kundert-Gibbs, an associate professor of film and theatre studies in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, the Maymester course gave students the tools to write a screenplay in a matter of weeks. With a focus on creating character, plot, dialogue, writing action sequences and formatting, the class offered plenty of practical experience reading scripts and a quick way get up to speed as a screenwriter.

• Family Therapy Boot Camp
This graduate elective is an intensive introduction to a four-step model for assessing families and couples in clinical social work. In this “boot camp” held on UGA’s Gwinnett campus, Mary Zorn Bates, a clinical associate professor of social work, teaches family therapy skills through simulated practice sessions with class peers and observation of live streaming of simulated clinical sessions.

• Georgia Fishes Field Study
This Maymester course was taught by James L. Shelton and Susan B. Wilde, assistant professors at the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, and Brett Albanese of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Students learned about fish collection and identification skills for Georgia’s freshwater and coastal fishes. With field trips to take samples at beaches, estuaries, streams and reservoirs within the mountains, Piedmont and Coastal Plain, students got to practice field techniques. (Watch a video about the lab at

• Masters of Small Worlds: Slavery in the Roman Household
Taught by Kate Cooperwill, the 2015 Franklin International Scholar from Manchester University, this summer-session class explores the Roman Empire as a slave society with a special focus on how the central role of slave labor influenced the Roman household from 100 B.C. to 450 A.D. Students will learn how slavery affected the household both as a social space and as a productive unit within the Roman economy.