The Capstone Center for Student Success was recently selected to participate in the 2022-2023 First-gen Forward cohort by the Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators.
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 Capstone Center for Student Success is thrilled about the opportunity to join the First-gen Forward cohort,” said Dr. Amy Salazar, executive director of the Capstone Center for Student Success. “We hope this is both a synergistic opportunity to coalesce first-generation support efforts across campus, but also use it as a catalyst for identifying new and innovative ways to maximize our impact for first-generation students.”
As a First-gen Forward institution, UA 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 and participate in monthly 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.
The Capstone Center for Student Success offers several support programs for first-generation students. Legacy Scholars is a first-year initiative program that provides peer and faculty and staff mentoring along with monthly community building opportunities.
The TRiO Student Support Services program, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, serves students who are first generation, low income or students with disabilities throughout their time at UA with wrap-around support services including supplemental advising, tutoring, cultural events and career preparation. UA’s TRiO program is one of the longest funded TRiO programs in the nation and boasts high graduation and academic achievement rates for its students.
A number of first-generation students take part in the Alabama REACH Program that supports current and former foster youth, legal orphans, students raised in kinship/guardianship care and homeless youth.
The center is also home to several highly selective scholarship programs that are externally funded by both corporate and private donors to support the success of first-generation students.
In addition to the support from the Capstone Center for Student Success, strong partnerships across campus benefit first-generation students within various colleges and departments. Several campus partners will also take part in the First-gen Forward initiative.
“I hope that those that are currently engaged in first-generation student support efforts see a recognition of their work at a larger scale, but I also hope this process brings new supporters to the table to help us extend the reach of our current programing and create something even more impactful for our students,” said Salazar.
Bryant Welbourne, UA Strategic Communications, email@example.com