Texas A&M University-San Antonio receives First-gen Forward designation; national honor is for commitment to first-generation student success

By University Communications

Wednesday, 07 07 2021

SAN ANTONIO – Texas A&M University-San Antonio has been selected as a member institution of the First-gen Forward cohort, a designation of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA). The honor recognizes the University’s commitment to advancing the success of first-generation students through evidence-based practices and academic support resources. Approximately 71 percent of A&M-SA’s students are first-generation college students.

The First-gen Forward designation recognizes institutions of higher education that 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 research and resources of NASPA’s Center for First-generation Student Success.

“The center is so pleased to welcome A&M-San Antonio into the 2021-22 First-gen Forward cohort. Through the application process, it was evident that A&M-San Antonio is not only taking steps to serve first-generation students but is prepared to make a long-term commitment and employ strategies that foster an environment of success for this important population,” said Dr. Sarah E. Whitley, assistant vice president, Center for First-generation Student Success.

Among the support first-generation students receive from A&M-San Antonio is assistance finding the right people, departments and resources they need throughout their college journey through the University’s First Generation Center, part of the Student Academic Success Center. Services include help navigating the admissions process through applying for graduation and everything in between.

“In addition to our concerted focus on the academic success of our first-generation students, the University has many programs and opportunities available to engage students in the social fabric of our campus community and beyond, including our First Generation Jaguars student organization and other interest groups and clubs,” says Dr. Mari Fuentes-Martin, A&M-San Antonio’s vice president for student success and engagement.

As a First-gen Forward institution, interested faculty and staff will be afforded multiple opportunities to engage with peer institutions that 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 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.

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About NASPA and the Center for First-generation Student Success

NASPA – representing 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 across 50 states, 25 countries, and eight U.S. territories. Visit www.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 and to drive higher education innovation and advocacy for first-generation student success. To learn more about the center, visit firstgen.naspa.org

Texas A&M University-San Antonio
Established as a stand-alone university in 2009, Texas A&M University-San Antonio is a comprehensive four-year public university that reflects the culturally diverse, heritage-rich community it serves. Situated on nearly 700 acres in south San Antonio, A&M-San Antonio is a Military Embracing™ institution offering 30 undergraduate degrees and 14 graduate degrees to nearly 6,800 students. The University is home to the Henry G. Cisneros Institute for Emerging Leaders and the Cyber Engineering Technology/Cyber Security Research Center. A&M-San Antonio holds the Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) designation. Military Times ranks the University No. 35 in the nation for “Best for Vets: Colleges.” Visit tamusa.edu for more information. #onamission