The University of Nevada, Reno has been named as a 2020-21 First-gen Forward Institution by the Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA (the organization of Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education) and The Suder Foundation.
The First-gen Forward national 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 organization’s research and resources.
“The First-gen Forward designation reflects the University of Nevada, Reno’s commitment to help all students take advantage of the affordable, high-quality education we provide,” Shannon Ellis, Vice President for Student Services, said. “The University places a high priority on helping students become the first in their families to graduate from college as a pathway to career and life success.”
The University’s Student Services’ First Generation Student Center offers a menu of services tailored for first-generation students at the University, as well as for high school students with college aspirations. The center’s programs assist these students in pursuing a baccalaureate degree, including help for income-qualified students in overcoming class, social and academic barriers to higher education.
Currently, the center serves 246 Upward Bound and Upward Bound Math and Science program participants attending eight Reno area high schools, along with 629 University of Nevada, Reno undergraduate students. This spring, 74 high school and 162 University undergraduates will receive their degrees. The national First-gen Forward recognition reflects the commitment of departments and services across the University to encourage and support students in becoming the first in their family to graduate from a four-year institution.
“Now, in its second year, First-gen Forward recognizes institutions who continue to lead the nation by their commitment to first-generation student success,” Dr. Sarah E. Whitley, senior director of the Center for First-generation Student Success, said. “The 2020-21 cohort consists of 77 diverse institutions across the nation and we are pleased to welcome the University of Nevada, Reno in recognition of its long-term commitment and demonstrated strategies for scaling first-generation student initiatives.”
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 Baltimore later this year to attend the First-gen Forward Workshop. They will also participate in monthly phone calls, virtual professional development, goal setting, blog development, annual reporting and more.
“The 2020-21 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,” Dr. Kevin Kruger, president and CEO of NASPA, said. “We commend The University of Nevada, Reno for its already strong contribution and we look forward to engaging more at the First-gen Forward Workshop and other opportunities through the University’s participation.”