A national honor for commitment to first-generation student success
AMHERST, Mass. – The Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and The Suder Foundation, has selected the University of Massachusetts Amherst as part of its 2021-22 First-gen Forward cohort.
The First-gen Forward designation recognizes institutions of higher education who 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.
“The Center is so pleased to welcome The University of Massachusetts Amherst into the 2021-22 First-gen Forward cohort. Through the application process, it was evident that UMass Amherst 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,” said Dr. Sarah E. Whitley, assistant vice president, Center for First-generation Student Success.
Adam Ortiz, director of Student Success Outreach, and Wilma Crespo, director of the Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success (CMASS) led the effort to identify and catalog existing programs and supports for first-generation college students at UMass Amherst. Their work uncovered a vast network of resources and supports for first generation students. From first-gen designated residential academic programs to FLIP, the First Gen Low Income Partnership – UMass has many initiatives in place to foster the success of first gen students.
As a First-gen Forward Institution, interested faculty and staff will be afforded multiple opportunities to engage with peer 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 slated for early-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.
“First-gen Forward is an exciting opportunity for the University of Massachusetts Amherst 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. We are excited to see a groundswell of activity from the First-gen Forward cohort and know UMass will be a significant contributor,” offered Dr. Kevin Kruger, president and CEO of NASPA.