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Catawba College Receives First-gen Forward Designation National Honor

March 2, 2022

Category: Catawba Impact, Students

FirstForward_Institution_Color.jpgThe Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education - and The Suder Foundation, recently announced the 2022-23 First-gen Forward cohort. The First-gen Forward designation recognizes institutions of higher education who 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. 

A person is considered a first-generation student if their parent or guardian did not earn a bachelor’s or higher degree. About 35% of Catawba’s first year class qualifies as first-generation students.

“We are honored to receive the First-gen Forward designation from NASPA’s Center for First-generation Student Success,” said Jared R. Tice, senior vice president for the college experience & dean of students at Catawba College. “This designation formally recognizes Catawba College’s long tradition and recent strategic initiatives of serving first-generations students and families.”

Catawba supports first-generation students in variety of ways. They may choose to enroll in a First Year Seminar designed especially for them and taught by first-generation faculty members.  A first-generation honors society, AAA, was initiated and Catawba was deliberate in selecting a first-generation faculty member and housing director in Student Affairs as the co-advisors. Catawba also offers the Catawba Promise Opportunity Scholarship for qualified students to increase access and residency experiences for first-generation students.

 “The Center is pleased to welcome Catawba College into the 2022-23 First-gen Forward cohort. Through the application process, it was evident that Catawba 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. 

As a First-gen Forward Institution, 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. Selected institutions will send representatives to the First-gen Forward Workshop slated for early-June and will participate in monthly 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. 

“First-gen Forward is an exciting opportunity for Catawba College 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. We are excited to see a groundswell of activity from the First-gen Forward cohort and know Catawba will be a significant contributor,” offered Dr. Kevin Kruger, president and CEO of NASPA. 

About Catawba College
Founded in 1851, Catawba College is a four-year, private, liberal arts college conveniently located in Salisbury, N.C. Ranked as one of the best regional colleges in the South, Catawba is a learning community providing students unique opportunities to discover their vocation, calling, passions, and purpose as they prepare to reach their highest potential. The College offers more than 70 undergraduate and three graduate programs allowing students to explore diverse interests and create their own academic pathway. Additional information is available at

The Center 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. Based in Washington, DC, the Center aims to acknowledge the intersectional experiences of first-generation college students. It offers an outlet for sharing cutting-edge research and current media conversations, opportunities for engagement through online learning, conferences, and events, and access to a bevy of programs and services intended to improve first-generation initiatives across higher education.

NASPA is a member-centered association supporting a diverse and passionate network of 15,000 professionals and 1,200 institutions across the globe. It is the professional home for the field of student affairs and is dedicated to cultivating student success in collaboration with the missions of its institutional members—a network of colleges and universities representing every sector of higher education.

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