Faculty Tips For First-Gen Students

Career College Central summary:

  • When a U.S. Senate committee sought to highlight successful practices in educating minority and other underserved students at a hearing last month, it turned to officials at an urban two-year institution (Long Beach City College); a historically black university (Fayetteville State University); and Heritage University, a private institution that is located on tribal land in Washington State and where about three-quarters of students are the first in their families to attend college.  
  • Congress isn't the only party poised to benefit from Heritage's experience and expertise with first-generation students. The university's faculty has created a new video series to help college instructors there and elsewhere better-serve such students in the classroom.
  • Much of the work colleges are doing to help first-generation and other historically underserved students thrive in college focuses on tutoring and mentoring, but "there isn’t much to help faculty — there’s very little to help them in their [classroom] role,” says Sister Kathleen Ross, whose Institute for Student Identity and Success created the video series.
  • Ross, who was Heritage's founding president, says the series grew from the idea that students learn many of the practices and skills that lead to academic success subliminally, through socialization, rather than being directly told or taught them.
  • And first-generation students, because they tend to be educated in schools and grow up in homes where such signaling may happen less, often come into college with fewer of those skills.

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