Two students walking in quadRegis College has been designated a First-gen Forward institution 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 higher education institutions that demonstrate a commitment to improving experiences and advancing outcomes of first-generation college students.

“As an institution that prioritizes diversity, equity, and inclusive excellence, this First-Gen Forward designation is a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with other institutions who share Regis’ values,” said Regis College President Antoinette Hays, PhD, RN. “We strive to make our community a place where our first-generation students can thrive and be proud of their identity."

Over the past few years, Regis College has made significant strides in prioritizing first-generation student success. The university created professional staff positions, a taskforce, and several programs focused on enhancing the experience of first-generation students and their families.

  • Partners in Excellence (PIE), the Regis mentoring initiative, provides personal guidance and support to first-year students of color and first-generation students through the assignment of trained peer, faculty, staff, and graduate mentors. PIE also helps close achievement gaps and build a sense of belonging at Regis.
  • The First Pride Program connects first-generation college students to academic resources, faculty, staff, and student leaders to learn more about the Regis College community. Students are given the opportunity to move onto campus earlier than their peers for an additional week to acclimate to the campus environment and navigate the university’s offerings and programs.
  • The annual First-Gen Pride Week celebrates the first-generation college student identity through various programming efforts. Students, staff, and faculty are encouraged to share their first-generation student story in an annual photo campaign.

“I am very proud of how the Regis community, including students, faculty and staff, have worked together to increase the visibility, voice and identity of our first-generation students,” said Helen Consiglio, assistant professor of psychology, who has spearheaded a number of key initiatives for first-generation students at Regis. “Their stories of success and challenge within and outside of the classroom have laid the foundation, and now the real work begins.”

As a First-gen Forward institution, Regis will receive professional development, community-building experiences, and a first look at the Center for First-generation Student Success’ research and resources. Interested faculty and staff will be afforded multiple opportunities to engage with peer institutions who are also creating environments that improve the experiences and outcomes of first-generation students. After two successful years in the program, institutions are eligible to apply for the Advisory leadership designation.

“The Center is so pleased to welcome Regis College into the 2021-22 First-gen Forward cohort,” said Dr. Sarah E. Whitley, assistant vice president, Center for First-generation Student Success. “Through the application process, it was evident that Regis College 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.”

To learn more about first-generation efforts at Regis College, visit First-Generation Students. To learn more about the Center for First-generation Student Success, visit NASPA First-Generation Student Success.