Learn about a cross-divisional collaboration to coordinate an on-campus first-generation student success summit to enhance the sense of belonging and overall success of this diverse and growing population at the University of San Diego (USD). The First-Generation Action Team’s (FGAT) original purpose was to engage and support the first-generation undergraduate and graduate student experiences proactively to attain retention and graduation rates equal to, or greater than, the University’s average through a multi-layered holistic plan.
After two years of offering year-round programs, the First-Generation Action Team decided to coordinate a First-Generation Student Success Summit for the USD campus community titled “Enhancing a Sense of Belonging for USD’s First-Generation Students: Practical Strategies for Faculty and Staff.” Building off of the success of the first summit, the FGAT designed a second summit titled “Practical Strategies to Cultivate USD First-Generation Student Success.” These summits are scaffolded to include quantitative data and analysis of USD’s first-generation enrollment patterns and key demographics of the various intersecting identities followed by findings from qualitative research to inform the understanding of the first-generation student experiences on our campus. The Student Success Summits have become an annual occurrence, evolving into conferences just for first-generation students.
Beyond hosting a summit, participants will learn additional ways to reach out to faculty with readily implementable ideas and resources to support first-generation students’ success and sense of academic belonging. Lisa Nunn will offer some tips from her 2020 award winning book 33 Simple Strategies for Faculty, a Week-by-Week Resource for Teaching First-Year and First-Generation Students. Drawing from her 2021 book College Belonging: How First-Year and First-Generation Students Navigate Campus Life, she will also share ideas on ways to alert faculty to pay attention to the first-generation students in their classes as well as understand how to recognize both the strengths first-generation students bring with them as well as some common challenges they face.
- identify key details in developing a collaborative student success summit centered on supporting the first-generation college student population; and
- list ways to reach out to faculty with readily implementable resources to support first-generation students’ academic success and to foster academic belonging.
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