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 2021-22 FYFE Cohort

Dr. Michael Behring Photo

Dr. Michael Behring

Assistant Professor of Public Health
Toni Carter Photo

Toni Carter

Associate Librarian / Library Director
Dr. Jing Chen Photo

Dr. Jing Chen

Associate Professor of Computer Science
Dr. Donna Pitts Photo

Dr. Donna Pitts

Assistant Professor of Special Education
Dr. Elmer Ragus

Dr. Elmer Ragus

Assistant Professor of Marketing
Dr. Mark Reynolds Photo

Dr. Mark Reynolds

Assistant Professor of Nursing
Laken Smith Photo

Laken Smith

Assistant Librarian / University Archivist
Steve Wang Photo

Dr. Steve Wang

Associate Professor of Advanced Manufacturing Management