First-Year Faculty Experience

An Athens State University faculty mentor is an experienced and trusted faculty member who works with a first-year faculty member (a.k.a., protégé) participating in the First-Year Faculty Experience.  A faculty mentor serves as an available resource, a supportive and friendly guide, a respectful advocate, and an active listener for the protégé.


The Athens State University First-Year Faculty Experience will become a culture of mentoring faculty members culminating in the long-term success of all faculty members who have participated in the program.


The program provides a supportive framework for its new faculty members (protégés) to achieve success by strategically assigning mentors to protégés leading to a professionally trusting relationship.  Moreover, the First-Year Faculty Experience offers opportunities for protégés to interact across academic departments, colleges, and other university units through engaging, collaborative, informational sessions, and workshops.

Program Goals

  1. To help new faculty members acclimate to the Athens State academic, administrative, and physical environments.
  2. To understand the meaning and the execution of effective teaching at Athens State University
  3. To foster a relationship with a faculty mentor that should be free from scrutiny, creating a relationship in which a new faculty member has a sense of discretion when sharing concerns regarding general or specific aspects of the academic appointment
  4. To provide a forum through which new faculty members discuss how to promote student success
  5. To assist in the retention of good faculty members
  6. To establish a sense of camaraderie among the new faculty members across colleges and appreciation for members of the staff and administration
  7. To educate new mentors about the mentoring process
  8. To establish a desire among faculty to serve as a mentor or serve multiple times as a mentor.

Contact Information

Ronald Merritt Photo

Ronald Merritt

Professor of Mathematics, Department Chair, and FYFE Director

Members of the 2023-24 FYFE Cohort

Mary Ellen Dennis

MaryEllen Dennis

Instructor of Healthcare Management
Dr. Joseph Chandler

Dr. Joseph Chandler

Associate Professor of Psychology
Dr. Nicole Henderson

Nicole Henderson

Assistant Professor of Special Education
Maria Steele Photo

Dr. Maria Steele

Assistant Professor of Nursing
Christopher Nelson Photo

Christopher Nelson, CFE

Assistant Professor of Accounting
Dr. Troy Adair

Dr. Troy Adair

Dean of the College of Business

Dr. Michele Wallace

Assistant Professor of Elementary Education
Blake Hargett

Blake Hargett

Instructor of Early Childhood Education
Dr. Ashley Virgin

Ashley Virgin

Assistant Professor of Special Education
Lourdes Smith

Lourdes Smith

Assistant Professor of Elementary Education