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Faculty receive First-Year Odyssey Teaching Awards

Alan Flurry

First-Year Odyssey Seminars are some of the most important early academic experiences students can have at UGA. Broadly-themed courses taught by senior faculty feed a sense of discovery in students about knowledge, about the world, and importantly, about themselves as students begin to learn and cultivate their own interests.

Four UGA faculty members, two from the Franklin College have received a 2019 First-Year Odyssey Teaching Award in recognition of their success as outstanding teachers in the First-Year Odyssey Seminar program. They were honored on Nov. 20 at the First-Year Odyssey Seminar reception thanking all FYOS faculty:

Leslie Gordon Simons, professor of sociology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, takes topics like eating, sleep and exercise and exposes the scientific research, some of it her own, that supports best practices for each in her seminar, “Come on, Get Happy: The Science of Happiness.” Each week students learn a different strategy on how to be well and are assigned to practice and journal about their personal experiences employing the method.

Amy Trauger is a professor in geography in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and while not an expert in media literacy, uses her background in research in her seminar, “Critical Thinking and Informational Literacy in the Age of ‘Fake News’.” She challenges students to question the information they are fed through social media and other modern forms of news distribution. The seminar requires students to read and share a broad array of articles so that they can build media muscle memory for finding credible and reliable news sources.

These are tremendous courses - the product of innovative thinking on the part of our faculty, designed to develop the intellectual curiosity of our students. The FYOS represent another uniqueness that sets UGA apart, and we are very proud of the many great faculty members who create this compelling dynamic in first-year classrooms. Congratulations to the award recipients.

Welcome to the many fans visiting campus this weekend for the last home game of another stellar season of excellence between the hedges and beyond. And as coach says, "Go dawgs!"

Image: Award winners from left Jane McPherson, Amy Trauger and Jason Peake.

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