The Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of the NASPA—Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and The Suder Foundation, recently elevated 11 First-gen Forward Institutions, including the University of Nevada, Reno, to the Advisory Institution designation. The First-gen Forward Advisory Institution designation recognizes institutions of higher education that have demonstrated a commitment to improving experiences and advancing outcomes of first-generation college students.
“The Center is so pleased to acknowledge the University of Nevada, Reno as a First-gen Forward Advisory Institution. The University of Nevada, Reno continues to be a leader in the field, and we look forward to working closely with them as they support their respective regional community,” Dr. Sarah E. Whitley, senior director of the Center for First-generation Student Success, said.
As a First-gen Forward Advisory Institution, select faculty and staff at the University of Nevada, Reno will engage with peer and aspirational institutions who are also creating environments that improve the experiences and outcomes of first-generation students. In addition, the University will co-lead regional monthly calls and will participate in virtual professional development, goal setting, annual reporting and more.
“We are so pleased to be recognized as a regional leader for our commitment to providing top-notch services for first-generation students,” Ellen Houston, executive director of the University of Nevada, Reno Student Services’ First-Generation Student Center (FGSC), said. “This is a point of pride for both student and faculty recruitment.”
To earn the First-gen Forward Advisory Institution designation, institutions must first be recognized with NASPA’s First-gen Forward designation. The University earned the First-gen Forward designation in 2019, based on the initiatives, programs and services offered at the University for first-generation students.
Many of the efforts were led by the FGSC, which offers 10 programs providing free academic and personal support to over 800 first-generation high school and University students each year. The FGSC also coordinates a campus-wide First-Generation Coalition, comprised of faculty and staff seeking to increase retention and success of first-generation students, and it co-hosts multiple events with other campus partners for first-generation students.
The designation also recognized the Dean’s Future Scholars program, housed in the College of Education and Human Development, which helps just over 500 middle school, high school and college students and their families prepare them to successfully to enter and complete higher education. The College of Education and Human Development is also home to the Nevada First-Gen Network, which is dedicated to providing relief for first-generation students affected by COVID-19 through community building, micro-grant distribution and professional development on a statewide level.
“The University was awarded this designation thanks to the dedication, initiative and cross-campus collaborations actively working to bring awareness and high-quality services to students who identify as the first in their family to pursue a baccalaureate degree,” Houston said.
The University has been a leader in serving first-generation and income-qualified students since 1967 through continuously funded federal TRIO programs such as Upward Bound and Student Support Services (TRIO Scholars).