Loyola receives national honor for its commitment to first-generation student success
| By Jessica Goldstein
Loyola University Maryland was recently selected to join the 2022-23 First-gen Forward cohort by the Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and The Suder Foundation. 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.
“Loyola University Maryland is honored to receive the First-gen Forward designation, as it affirms our deep commitment to equity and inclusion, which includes creating a welcoming environment for our first-generation college students,” said Rodney L. Parker, Ph.D., LCPC, NCC, interim chief equity and inclusion officer. “By joining NASPA's First-gen Forward cohort, Loyola looks forward to further entering the national conversation about how to support, learn from, and build meaningful relationships with our own first-generation students.”
This fall, Loyola welcomed more than 750 first-generation students across class years. The University continues to strengthen its efforts to support first-generation students with campus-wide events like National First-generation College Day, First-gen Friday drop-in meetings with the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies, the First-Gen Student Success Committee, the First-Gen Hounds student organization, the First-gen Ally university-wide program, and a forthcoming “handbook” to provide additional resources.
“Loyola University Maryland's mission-driven approach to caring for and educating the whole person provides the solid foundation on which first-generation students may stand, grow, and thrive,” said Mary Beth Mudric, Ph.D., interim assistant dean of undergraduate studies. “Participation in the First-gen Forward cohort enables Loyola to further welcome and support students who will be the first in their families to attend college.”
“Through the application process, it was evident that Loyola University Maryland is not only taking steps to serve first-generation students but is also prepared to make a long-term commitment and employ strategies that foster an environment of success for this important population,” said Sarah E. Whitley, Ph.D., assistant vice president for the Center.
Institutions selected for the cohort receive professional development, community-building experiences, and a first look at the Center’s research and resources. As a First-gen Forward Institution, Loyola will offer interested faculty and staff myriad opportunities to engage with peer institutions that are also fostering environments that improve and support the experiences and outcomes of first-generation students.
“First-gen Forward is an exciting opportunity for Loyola University Maryland to join a dedicated 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,” said Kevin Kruger, Ph.D., president and CEO of NASPA. “We are excited to see a groundswell of activity from the First-gen Forward cohort and know Loyola will be a significant contributor.”
To learn more about the Center for First-generation Student Success, visit firstgen.naspa.org.