PNW Achieves First Generation Forward Institution Designation

March 9, 2022

Purdue Northwest was recently announced as a member of the 2022-23 First Generation Forward Cohort, an opportunity to network with other academic professionals to improve academic outreach and recruitment of first generation students.

Purdue University Northwest (PNW) has earned national recognition for its efforts to help first-generation college students earn a degree.

The Center for First Generation Student Success, an initiative of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA)-Higher Education Student Affairs Administrators and the Suder Foundation, recently announced that PNW would be included in its 2022-23 first-generation Forward cohort.

The First-gen Forward designation recognizes higher education institutions that have demonstrated a commitment to improving experiences and advancing first-generation student outcomes.

In the application process, PNW had to demonstrate that the university had current practices and a campus culture supporting first-generation students. PNW’s successes include hosting a strong TRIO program with a pipeline helping college students prepare for postgraduate programs and fostering collaboration between the Leadership Institute at PNW and the 21st Century Scholars Program.

“First generation students are an important part of our DNA at PNW, and we must continue to unpack what this means to us in terms of programs of interest, tutoring, mentorship, a sense of belonging and confidence. academic,” says Catalina Rodriguez, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Educational Opportunity Programs at PNW. “First-generation college students have a particular set of experiences that require a new lens to support.”

“The First-gen Forward designation is a testament to the great work already done at PNW to celebrate and support our first-gen students,” said Rachel Clapp Smith, acting dean of the College of Business, who helped with the application process for the first-generation Forward designation. “It also opens up opportunities for us to be more focused in our support. Across the lifecycle of a student’s experience at PNW, from Appreciative Counseling to Academic Support to Work Placement, we have a strong foundation to build on as we learn from our peers in the first-generation Forward cohort.The designation will help us continue to build an environment where our students thrive and pursue their dreams.

“First-gen Forward now recognizes and supports nearly 300 diverse institutions across four cohorts, all of which continue to lead the country through their commitment to first-generation student success,” said Sarah E. Whitley, Vice President Associate of the Center for First-Generation Student Success. “We are thrilled to welcome Purdue University Northwest for its long-term commitment and proven strategies to advance first-generation student initiatives.”

As an advanced first-generation institution, interested faculty and staff will have multiple opportunities to engage with peer institutions that are also creating environments that enhance first-generation student experiences and outcomes. Selected institutions will send representatives to the first-generation Forward conference scheduled for early June and participate in monthly calls, virtual professional development, goal setting, blog development, annual reports, and more. After two successful years in the program, institutions are eligible to apply for the Advisory Leadership designation.

“The benefit of being part of a cohort is that you can learn from others at similar universities so that we can share our challenges and our victories in supporting academic outreach for first-generation students,” Rodriguez noted.

Selected institutions benefit from professional development, community development experiences, and a first look at the Center’s research and resources.

The Center for First Generation Student Success

The Center is the premier source of evidence-based practice, professional development, and knowledge creation for the higher education community to advance first-generation student success. Based in Washington, DC, the Center aims to recognize the intersectional experiences of first-generation college students. It provides an outlet to share cutting-edge research and current media conversations, opportunities for engagement through e-learning, conferences and events, and access to a wealth of programs and services aimed at improving first-generation initiatives in higher education.

National Association of Student Personnel Administrators

NASPA is a member-centric association that supports a diverse and passionate network of 15,000 professionals and 1,200 institutions worldwide. It is the professional home for the field of student affairs and is dedicated to cultivating student success in conjunction with the missions of its Institutional Members, a network of colleges and universities representing all sectors of higher education.

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