The University of New Mexico was recently declared a First-generation Forward Institution by the Center for First-gen Student Success. The designation recognizes institutions of higher education who have demonstrated a commitment to improving experiences and advancing outcomes of first-generation college students.
“At UNM, we pride ourselves on encouraging a culture of contrast,” said UNM Provost James Holloway. “First-gen students are pivotal to helping achieve this because of the perspective they bring to our campus – one of resilience, tenacity and determination. This First-generation forward designation reflects our campus community’s dedication to the success of first-gen students through on-campus programs and resources.”
UNM has many resources to support First-gen students in their journey. The College Enrichment Program (CEP) has four advisors students can make appointments with regarding any college struggles they may have. Those in need of support can contact CEP at firstname.lastname@example.org. Another example is the Peer Learning Facilitator program. This program hires students that are low-income, First-gen, or both, to assist in classrooms. The program enables undergraduate students to help others with in-class work or prep, while providing instructors with insights into how to help students succeed.
“I encourage all Lobos to take advantage of all our support resources, whether they are First-gen or not,” Holloway said. “We want to see our students succeed and these programs are ready and willing to help make that happen.”
The Center for First-gen Student Success is an initiative of NASPA, Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, and the Suder Foundation. The center improves First-gen initiatives cross higher education by offering an outlet to share research, media conversations, and opportunities for engagement.
As a First-gen Forward Institution, interested faculty and staff at UNM 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 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.