Welcome to fall semester at UGA! On behalf of the Office of the Vice President for Instruction, we are excited and proud to have you here, and we are ready to support your academic success during your time at UGA.
On behalf of all the OVPI units and programs that support student and faculty success, welcome back! And a very special welcome to our new faculty, more than 100 or so of whom I met at orientation last week. We know you received a lot of new information, so if at any point you have questions, please feel free to get in touch with me or any of our units in the Office of the Vice President for Instruction.
Summer is a very busy period in the OVPI and this summer has been no exception. Undergraduate Admissions just completed the last orientation session this week for more than 5,400 first-year students in what is likely to be another very diverse and highly qualified class of students. We're also wrapping up our Freshman College Summer Experience program aimed at transitioning high school students to college.
For the first time ever on the University of Georgia campus, students will have a central place to go for advising assistance for deciding on majors for career choices that are the best fit for them. The new Exploratory Center for academic advising, which officially opens on the first day of fall semester classes on Aug. 11 on the first floor of the Tate Student Center, will house 13 advisors specifically trained to help students with undecided majors or who want to change their majors, and ultimately help them figure out a career path.
UGA is the place to be this summer! Thanks to all your efforts, our preliminary data indicate that our total enrollment this summer has increased over 9 percent compared to 2015. We are offering nearly 2,300 unique courses, including over 300 online classes (an increase of about 85 percent over last year).
Congratulations! We made it to the end of a year of great academic achievement. Thanks for all your contributions over the last several months to improve student learning and setting the bar higher for our incoming students. We couldn't have done it without you!
Congratulations on another great year! We are so proud of your diligence and academic achievement. As we begin to prepare for another year, we are excited to share the progress we've made on various initiatives. Here are some things to look forward to.
Even as we prepare to graduate the Class of 2016, many faculty members and colleagues all across campus are anticipating the official launch of the experiential learning initiative later this year. Much has been accomplished to prepare for this launch, and we continue to build the infrastructure to support this major initiative for our students.
In keeping with Honors Week, we recently honored five faculty whose teaching has impacted first-year student engagement at UGA. Stephen Hajduk, Melissa Harshman, Michal Mengak, Anneliese Singh and Robert Warren each received a First-Year Odyssey Teaching Award for innovative teaching in their FYO courses. Their success in engaging their students, providing them with a strong connection to the university through their research, and tying their curriculum directly to FYO Seminar program goals makes a big difference in ensuring that our students become more successful at UGA.
Spring is generally the time we reflect on and celebrate the successes of the past several months. One of the most exciting opportunities I have in the OVPI is to honor our outstanding faculty who are dedicated to innovative instructional practices and in ensuring that our students receive the maximum benefit from their own experience, knowledge and expertise through the OVPI's Creative Teaching Awards. This year we paid surprise visits to five outstanding faculty, to let them know personally how much we value their efforts.