UIW Accepted into First Scholars Network

June 5, 2023

Membership to help bring additional support to First-Generation Students

UIW student holding up the Cardinal signSan Antonio – The University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) is proud to announce that it has been accepted as a member of the First Scholars Network. The Network is a program run by the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, known as NASPA, which is the professional home for the field of student affairs. The First Scholars Network is a community of institutional partners committed to transforming the higher education landscape in ways that elevate potential and advance outcomes for first-generation students today and in the future. Through a number of engagement opportunities, the Network maximizes learning opportunities across a broad, diverse, ever-expanding set of institutions.

“UIW is committed to supporting our first-generation students both in and out of the classroom through the UIW Alpha Committee and the Somos Unidos-One Word Project,” says Monica Jimenez, associate provost of Student Success. “Being accepted into the First Scholars Network Member Class of 2023 will provide the UIW Alpha Committee with access to evidence-based practices, resources and networks across the nation to help improve outcomes for first-generation students.”

The UIW Alpha Committee is a group of faculty and staff committed to understanding the needs of first-generation students, providing professional development in evidence-based practices that support retention and graduation of first-generation students, improve the instructional experience and success of first-generation students and help create processes and procedures that remove barriers for first-generation students.

In the Spring of 2023, UIW received a $180,000 grant for the Somos Unidos – One Word program from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The funds are being used to accelerate student success by supporting innovative ideas in and out of the classroom that promote a sense of belonging and well-being for students, specifically first-generation students. The grant is supporting the establishment of a First-Generation hub that will house supports for first-generation students.

According to Jimenez, benefits of participation in First Scholars include an evidence-based and research-supported framework of actionable priorities supported through intentional and relevant monthly workshops; access to the First Scholars Leadership Academy, diagnostic tools providing critical institutional insight; robust data sharing as part of the national Postsecondary Data Partnership; guidance of expert coaches along each step of the experience; and customized solutions and continuous improvement plans personalized to allow each institution to meet its first-generation student success goals.

For more information, visit the NASPA Center for First Generation website.