University of Memphis Receives First Forward Designation;National Honor for Commitment to First-Generation Student Success

Memphis, TN (5/1/19) - The Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and The Suder Foundation, recently announced their inaugural cohort of First Forward Institutions. The First 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 Center is so pleased to welcome The University of Memphis into our inaugural cohort of First Forward institutions. Through the application process, it was evident that the University of Memphis is not only taking steps to serve first-generation students but is prepared to make a long-term commitment and employ strategies for significant scaling and important advances in the future," said Dr. Sarah E. Whitley, senior director of the Center for First-generation Student Success.

"The University of Memphis has a strong culture of supporting first generation students. We are growing a comprehensive model to support first generation student success and this will help us achieve the goals we have for retention, persistence, and graduation. The opportunities provided through First Forward will also help us determine additional ways to support students' academic, career, and psychosocial goals. We are so grateful for this opportunity!"-Dr. Dan Bureau, Associate Vice President of Student Academic Success.
As a First 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 the First Forward Workshop to be held in Orlando in June and will participate in monthly phone 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.

"First Forward is an exciting opportunity for the UofM to join an elite community of professionals prepared to share evidence-based practices and resources, troubleshoot challenges, generate knowledge, and continue to advance the success of first-generation students across the country. We are excited to see a groundswell of activity from the First Forward cohort and know the UofM will be a significant contributor," offered Dr. Kevin Kruger, president of NASPA.

To learn more about first-generation efforts at The University of Memphis visit www.memphis.edu/firstgen. To learn more about the Center for First-generation Student Success, visit firstgen.naspa.org.

NASPA–Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education is the leading association for the advancement, health, and
sustainability of the student affairs profession. Its work provides high-quality professional development, advocacy, and research for 15,000 members in all 50 states, 25 countries, and 8 U.S. territories. Visit naspa.org for more information.

The Center for First-generation Student Success is the premier source of evidence-based practices, professional development, and knowledge creation for the higher education community to advance the success of first-generation students. Through four strategic priority areas, the Center drives higher education innovation and advocacy for first-generation student success.

Jaclyn Rodriguez Center for First-generation Student Success, NASPA
jpsavell@memphis.edu | First-gencenter@naspa.org