Texas Tech University

Texas Tech University Receives First-Gen Forward Advisory Institution Designation

Lucy Greenberg

June 21, 2021

Diverse hands

The designation is a national honor for commitment to first-generation student success.

The Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA – (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education) and The Suder Foundation, recently elevated 12 First-gen Forward Institutions – one of them being Texas Tech University – to the Advisory Institution designation.

“Being a First-Forward Advisory Institution is a testament to the tremendous collaboration with our campus partners, our dedicated leadership team, and the many years of continuing to advance first-generation student support across campus,” said Jade Silva Tovar, senior director for the Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. “I look forward to continuing to make an impact and expanding our ability to intentionally serve our diverse first-generation student population at Texas Tech and serve First-gen Forward regional institutions.”

The First-gen Forward Advisory Institution 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 center's research and resources.

“The Center is so pleased to acknowledge Texas Tech University as a First-gen Forward Advisory Institution,” said Sarah E. Whitley, senior director of the Center for First-generation Student Success. Texas Tech continues to be a leader in the field, and we look forward to working closely with them as they support their respective regional community.”

Texas Tech University's First-Generation Transition & Mentoring Program (FGTMP) has been instrumental in helping the university achieve this designation. Founded in 2002, it exists to support first-generation college students in their transition into higher education. They do this by pairing incoming students with an upper level First-gen peer mentor.

The program also hosts TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) which provides one-on-one advising for wholistic academic success. The Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion also supports the McNair Scholars Program, which is a program for first generation college students who desire to earn a doctorate by providing research and graduate school preparation early in their collegiate experience.

As a First-gen Forward Advisory Institution, select faculty and staff will be afforded multiple opportunities to engage with peer and aspirational institutions who also are creating environments that improve the experiences and outcomes of first-generation students. Selected institutions participated in a virtual 2021-22 First-gen Forward Workshop on June 9 and will stay engaged through monthly phone calls, virtual professional development, goal setting, annual reporting and more.

“We are so excited to receive this designation,” said Brandon Cruz, director for Transition & Mentoring Programs at Texas Tech. “To be an Advisory Institution within the First-gen Forward program, positions Texas Tech in a way to support and serve other universities across the state of Texas as they scale out their support services. It is an opportunity to be creative and thoughtful about the work we are doing and recognize the potential we have to affect our students' lives by making their first-gen experience a meaningful and transformative one.”

Texas Tech boasts nearly 25% first-generation college students, displaying the tremendous success of these programs.

To learn more information about first-generation efforts at Texas Tech, visit the Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion website. Visit firstgen.naspa.org/ to learn more about the Center for First-Generation Student Success.