Campus News

UGA expands first-year, transfer student support

The University of Georgia is moving forward with plans to expand support for first-year and transfer students. The plans follow three recommendations made by the Presidential Task Force on Student Learning and Success in its final report to UGA President Jere W. Morehead.

Included in the plans are the expansion of the monthlong residential Freshman College Summer Experience to support more underserved students, establishment of a campus-wide Council on the First-Year Experience and creation of a working group to bolster resources and programs for transfer students.

“These initiatives build upon our existing successful first-year programs that help acclimate new students to UGA,” said Rahul Shrivastav, vice president for instruction. “This will significantly transform how the university offers support to underserved students.”

The task force recommended steps to make the Freshman College Summer Experience more accessible to first-generation, Pell Grant-eligible and rural students. The university is implementing plans to make this recommendation a reality by summer 2018 as part of a comprehensive approach to facilitate a successful transition for all first-year students.

Following another task force recommendation, Morehead is establishing a campus-wide Council on the First-Year Experience. This new council will foster collaboration among various offices that offer first-year programs and services and provide a centralized information resource for students and their families. The group will be co-chaired by Associate Vice President for Instruction Naomi Norman and Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Michele Howard.

The task force also recommended expanding resources to support transfer students in their transition to the university. Under this initiative, Morehead has charged a working group to implement the specific strategies outlined in the task force report, including increasing collaboration with other system institutions; strengthening communications with transfer students; and enhancing information, resources and outreach provided to these students prior to orientation and during enrollment. The working group will be chaired by Director of Academic Advising Services Judith Iakovou and Associate Dean of Students Jan Barham.

“I’m excited to get started on these foundational pieces to enhance the college experience for our students,” said Victor Wilson, vice president for student affairs. “This will have significant impacts for new students coming to UGA who need help transitioning to a large, Research-1 university.”

The Task Force on Student Learning and Success, co-chaired by Shrivastav and Wilson, was charged last February with taking a fresh look at the university’s undergraduate learning environment to identify new opportunities to further enhance the educational experience for UGA students in and out of the classroom.

“This university will never be satisfied with the status quo, and I am pleased to see the work of the task force beginning to take shape to enhance our learning environment,” said Morehead. “I look forward to announcing additional plans related to the recommendations in the coming weeks.”

The task force, composed of a 20-member committee including senior faculty and administrators from a number of schools, colleges and units, provided 12 recommendations that were organized into three broad objectives: evolving the curriculum, enhancing teaching and learning, and expanding student support and mentoring.

A full copy of the report is available for review at

Transfer Student Working Group 

  • Judy Iakovou (Co-Chair)
    Office of the Vice President for Instruction
    Director of Academic Advising Services
  • Jan Davis Barham (Co-Chair)
    Division of Student Affairs
    Associate Dean of Students
  • Ja’Kyra Austin
    Undergraduate Transfer Student
    Transfer Student and Orientation Leader
  • Julia M. Butler-Mayes
    College of Education
    Director of Student Services
  • Charles Carabello
    UGA Admissions
    Associate Director of Enrollment Management
  • David Eckles
    Risk Management and Insurance Program, Terry College of Business
    Associate Professor, Chair of the Undergraduate Program Committee, Terry College of Business
  • Katherine Field
    Franklin College
    Coordinator of Transfer Academic Services
  • Chase Hagood
    Academic Enhancement
    Director, Academic Enhancement
  • James Kershaw
    Tau Sigma National Student Honor Society
  • Jean Martin-Williams
    Franklin College of Arts and Sciences
    Professor, Associate Dean
  • Nicole McConnell
    Center for Student Activities and Involvement
    Assistant Director

Council on the First-Year Experience

  • Naomi Norman (Co-Chair)
    Office of the Vice President for Instruction
    Associate Vice President and Director of First-Year Odyssey
  • Michele Howard (Co-Chair)
    Division of Student Affairs
    Associate Vice President
  • Linda Bachman
    Office of Experiential Learning
    Director of Experiential Learning
  • Maggie Blanton
    Division of Academic Enhancement
    Director of Student Services
  • Taylor Cain
    Center for Student Activities and Involvement
    Director of Center for Student Activities
  • Don Chambers
    Terry College of Business
    Associate Director of Entrepreneurship Program
  • Al Clarke
    University Health Center
    Clinical Psychologist
  • Lindsay Coco
    Division of Academic Enhancement Assistant
    Director of Initiatives, Freshman College Summer Experience
  • Kali DeWald
    Career Center
    Lead Career Consultant for Undeclared and Exploring Students
  • Jennifer Eberhart
    Academic Advising Services, OVPI
    Director of Exploratory Center
  • Phillip Griffeth
    Office of Academic Honesty and Integrity
    Director of Academic Honesty
  • Melissa Hevener
    Student Government Association
    Undergraduate Student Representative
  • Eddie Higginbotham
    Division of Student Affairs
    Dawg Camp
  • Justin Jeffery
    Division of Student Affairs
    Director of International Student Life
  • Linda Kasper
    University Housing
    Executive Director
  • James McClung
    Office of International Education
    Director of Oxford Program
  • Maria Navarro
    Honors Program
    Associate Director
  • Jennifer Patrick
    Franklin College of Arts and Sciences
    Coordinator of Student Academic Services
  • Dominque Quarles
    Office of Institutional Diversity
    Director of Diversity and Inclusion
  • Rosemary Segreti
    Office of the Registrar
    Senior Associate Registrar
  • Claudia Shamp
    Division of Student Affairs
    Director of Greek Life
  • Cara Simmons
    College of Family and Consumer Sciences
    Director of Student Success and Advising Center
  • Carrie Smith
    Division of Student Affairs
    Assistant Dean of Students for Student Care and Outreach
  • Tiffany Smith
    Division of Student Affairs
    Senior Coordinator of Multicultural Services and Programs
  • Alton Standifer
    Undergraduate Admissions
    Director of New Student Orientation
  • Lori Whitaker
    Office of Student Financial Aid
    Financial Aid Advisor