UHCL recognized for commitment to improving experiences and advancing outcomes for first-gen college students
The Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA and The Suder Foundation, recently announced University of Houston-Clear Lake as one of 76 new members of the First Scholars Network for 2023-24. To be selected as a First Scholars Network member, UH-Clear Lake displayed a demonstrated commitment to improving experiences and advancing success for first-generation college students.
“While each student’s college journey may differ, first-generation students often face unique challenges and obstacles,” said UHCL Vice President for Student Affairs Tina Powellson. “But despite the challenges, and like all students, they have the potential to change the trajectory of their lives, their families, and their communities. The challenges first-generation college students face are real, but so are the rewards. Being a part of the First Scholars Network will emphasize UHCL’s commitment to our first-generation college students, their success, and their great potential to make an impact in our society.”
Powered by the Center for First-generation Student Success, the First Scholars Network is a four-phase approach that allows institutions of higher education to advance student success through establishing communities of practice, gaining knowledge of resources, and establishing peer networks. More than 350 institutions of higher education have entered the Network, representing 49 states and the District of Columbia.
“The Center is pleased to welcome UHCL into the First Scholars Network,” said Dr. Sarah E. Whitley, vice president with the Center for First-generation Student Success. “Through the application process, it was evident that UHCL is not only taking steps to serve first-generation students but is prepared to make a long-term commitment and employ strategies that foster an environment of success for this important population.”
In this first phase of the First Scholars Network, selected institutions participated in the First Scholars Network Virtual Kick-off on June 2, 2023. As a Network Member, interested faculty and staff are afforded opportunities to engage with peer institutions also working to create environments that improve the experiences and success of first-generation students, and will participate in monthly calls, professional development, goal setting, blog development, annual reporting, and more.
After successful completion of the Network Member phase, institutions progress to the second phase, First-gen Forward, after which it is eligible to become a First Scholars Institution. First Scholars is the third phase of the First Scholars Network and serves as the Center’s customized approach to intentional institutional transformation in an effort to advance student outcomes. Ultimately, all Network institutions strive for national leadership as a First Scholars Champion Campus.
“Being named as a Network Member of the First Scholars Network is an exciting opportunity for UHCL to join a dedicated community of professionals prepared to share evidence-based practices and resources, troubleshoot challenges, generate knowledge, and continue to advance the success of first-generation students across the country,” said Dr. Kevin Kruger, president and CEO of NASPA. “We are excited to see a groundswell of activity from the Class of 2023 Network Members and know UHCL will be a significant contributor.”
To learn more about first-generation efforts at UHCL, visit www.uhcl.edu/student-affairs/student-engagement/diversity-equity-inclusion/resources/first-generation-resources. To learn more about the Center for First-generation Student Success, visit firstgen.naspa.org.