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Monmouth University Receives First-Gen Forward Designation for Commitment to First-Generation Student Success

The Center for First-Generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education) and The Suder Foundation, recently recognized Monmouth University in its 2020-2021 cohort of First-Gen Forward Institutions. The First-Gen Forward designation recognizes institutions of higher education that have demonstrated a commitment to improving experiences and advancing outcomes of first-generation college students. Selected institutions receive professional development, community-building experiences, and a first look at the Center’s research and resources.

In 2017, Monmouth University established a dedicated position to lead campus-wide first-generation initiatives. Now known as First to Fly: First Generation at Monmouth, these initiatives have included the launch of a campus-wide first-generation student mentoring program along with student/staff panel discussions celebrating the successes of first-generation members of the campus community. The First to Fly program, led by Claude Taylor, advisor-in-residence for academic transition and inclusion, hosts educational events throughout the year to continue to raise awareness of critical issues related to first-generation student identity and promote campus-wide student support partnerships.

“The Center is so pleased to welcome Monmouth University into the 2020-2021 cohort of First-Gen Forward Institutions. Through the application process, it was evident that Monmouth University is not only taking steps to serve first-generation students but is prepared to make a long-term commitment and employ strategies for significant scaling and important advances in the future,” said Sarah E. Whitley, Ph.D., senior director of the Center for First-Generation Student Success.

As a First-Gen Forward Institution, select faculty and staff will be afforded multiple opportunities to engage with peer and aspirational institutions who are also creating environments that improve the experiences and outcomes of first-generation students. Selected institutions will send representatives to the First-Gen Forward Workshop to be held in Baltimore in June and will participate in monthly phone calls, virtual professional development, goal setting, blog development, annual reporting, and more. After two successful years in the program, institutions are eligible to apply for the Advisory leadership designation.

“We are so proud of the ways members of the campus community have enthusiastically supported First to Fly and have demonstrated their commitment to the success of students at Monmouth who are first in their families to go college,” Taylor said. “Being among the institutions recognized as First-Gen Forward is a special honor for our campus. For me, as a person who identifies as first generation, it has been gratifying to facilitate initiatives that promote academic success for students whose lives will be changed by earning a bachelor’s degree.”

“The 2020-2021 First-Gen Forward cohort demonstrates a national movement of two- and four-year institutions dedicated to advancing the success of first-generation students; redefining student success as a movement. We commend Monmouth University for their already strong contribution and look forward to engaging more at the First-Gen Forward Workshop and throughout their participation,” said Kevin Kruger, Ph.D., president and CEO of NASPA.

To learn more about first-generation efforts at Monmouth University, contact Claude Taylor at ctaylor@monmouth.edu. To learn more about the Center for First-generation Student Success, visit firstgen.naspa.org.

About NASPA (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education)

Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education is the leading association for the advancement, health, and sustainability of the student affairs profession. Its work provides high-quality professional development, advocacy, and research for 15,000 members in all 50 states, 25 countries, and 8 U.S. territories. Visit naspa.org for more information.

About the Center for First-Generation Student Success 

The Center for First-Generation Student Success is the premier source of evidence-based practices, professional development, and knowledge creation for the higher education community to advance the success of first-generation students. Through four strategic priority areas, the Center drives higher education innovation and advocacy for first-generation student success.