UW-Green Bay honored by the First Scholars Network for its commitment to first-generation student success
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 29, 2024
The Center for First-Generation Student Success has selected UW-Green Bay to engage in a multi-year institutional transformation
Green Bay, WI — The Center for First-Generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA and The Suder Foundation, announced the advancement of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay to the First Scholars phase of the First Scholars Network. UW-Green Bay was chosen based on its demonstrated commitment to advancing the outcomes of first-generation students through improving both first-generation student success initiatives and institution-wide approaches.
“We are honored to be selected as a First Scholars Institution by the Center for First-Generation Student Success. We pride ourselves in empowering all of our students through the education we provide,” said UW-Green Bay Chancellor Michael Alexander. “It is exciting for us to be recognized for helping students who have never had a parent or guardian graduate college. As an access institution, this is an important way we can show we are making a difference to the lives of our students and the communities they return to after they graduate.”
Powered by the Center for First-Generation Student Success, the First Scholars Network is a four-phase approach that allows institutions of higher education to advance outcomes by establishing communities of practice, gaining knowledge of resources, and establishing peer networks. To date, 349 institutions of higher education have entered the Network, representing 49 states and the District of Columbia. The Center recently announced a commitment to serving over 700 institutions through the Network in the next five years.
Through their outstanding work, UW-Green Bay has been selected to join the third phase of the Network journey—First Scholars. This phase signals an unprecedented commitment to serving first-generation students. UW-Green Bay First-Generation students like Adan Cordova cite the commitment and support gained from professors and advisors alike, empowering him to reach his goal of becoming a physician. Adan was also the first recipient of the First Gen Impact Student Leader Award in November of 2023.
“When a first-generation student attends an institution that is developed with them in mind, and has appropriate supports and resources, outcomes will improve,” said Dr. Sarah E. Whitley, vice president with the Center for First-generation Student Success. “First Scholars institutions have demonstrated this commitment at the highest level on campus.”
First Scholars serves as the Center’s customized approach to international institutional transformation to advance student outcomes. This work establishes an environment where direct student supports can be established, scaled, and sustained.
“After seeing such exciting Network progress and leadership, the Center is pleased to welcome UW-Green Bay as a new First Scholars institution,” Whitley continued. “Through every step, it was evident that UW-Green Bay is not only invested in serving first-generation students, but is prepared to make a long-term commitment to radically change the way first-generation students are served and to employ strategies for sustainability and scale that result in intentional impact.”
Through a phased approach designed to scaffold learning and achievement of institutions over time, First Scholars provides institutions with the opportunity to engage in student-centered, systemic transformation through an ecosystem of resources. Benefits of participation in First Scholars include:
- An evidence-based and research-supported framework of actionable priorities supported through monthly workshops
- Diagnostic tools providing critical institutional insight
- Robust data sharing as part of the national Postsecondary Data Partnership
- Guidance of expert coaches along each step of the experience
- And customized solutions and continuous improvement plans personalized to allow each institution to meet its first-generation student success goals.
“First Scholars provides a unique balance of bringing first-generation student initiative scaling into focus while drilling down into how UW-Green Bay recalibrates institutional systems to elevate potential and advance outcomes for first-generation students, positioning them to be a real leader in first-generation student success,” said Dr. Kevin Kruger, president and CEO of NASPA. “I look forward to seeing their success as they drive national change and advance success outcomes for first-generation students.”
To learn more about first-generation efforts at UW-Green Bay, visit www.uwgb.edu/first-gen/. To learn more about the First Scholars Network and the Center for First-generation Student Success, visit firstgen.naspa.org.
About UW-Green Bay
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is a school of resilient problem solvers who dare to reach higher with the power of education that ignites growth and answers the biggest challenges. Serving 10,300 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students as well as 67,500 continuing education learners annually, UW-Green Bay offers 200 academic degrees, programs, and certificates. With four campus locations in Northeast Wisconsin, the University’s access mission welcomes all students who want to learn, from every corner of the world. Championing bold thinking since opening its doors in 1965, it is a university on the rise — Wisconsin’s fastest growing UW. For more information, visit www.uwgb.edu.