By Jim Biros
SUPERIOR, Wis. – The University of Wisconsin-Superior has recently been recognized as one of 76 new members of the First Scholars Network for 2023-24 by the Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) and The Suder Foundation. To be selected as a First Scholars Network member, UW-Superior displayed a demonstrated commitment to improving experiences and advancing success for first-generation college students.
“It is an honor to be recognized for the commitment that our institution has made to serving First Generation students,” said Harry Anderson, UW-Superior associate vice chancellor for Student Affairs. “Becoming a member of the First Scholars Network is recognition of our faculty and staff who work diligently to help our students not only achieve but thrive. Being a member of the Frist Scholars Network will allow us to bolster our support of our first-generation students and further enhance student success.”
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 student success through establishing communities of practice, gaining knowledge of resources, and establishing peer networks. More than 350 institutions of higher education have entered the network, representing 49 states and the District of Columbia.
“I am really excited for our opportunity to participate in the First Scholars Network and continue moving forward first-generation student success initiatives at UW-Superior,” said Monte Stewart, UW-Superior TRIO McNair Scholars program director. “Since almost half of our undergraduate students each year are first-generation, it is important for us to be intentional about our support efforts, programming, and services we provide this important student population. The First Scholars Network provides us with the opportunity to expand these first-generation student efforts and initiatives, ensuring we are leading the way in our advocacy for overall student success.”
In this first phase of the First Scholars Network, selected institutions participated in the First Scholars Network Virtual Kick-off on June 2. As a network member, interested faculty and staff are afforded opportunities to engage with peer institutions also working to create environments that improve the experiences and success of first-generation students, and will participate in monthly calls, professional development, goal setting, blog development, annual reporting, and more.
After successful completion of the Network Member phase, institutions progress to the second phase, First-gen Forward, after which it is eligible to become a First Scholars Institution. First Scholars is the third phase of the First Scholars Network and serves as the Center’s customized approach to intentional institutional transformation to advance student outcomes. Ultimately, all Network institutions strive for national leadership as a First Scholars Champion Campus.