The population of first–generation college students (FGS) is increasing in an ever–tightening economy, a time when employers demand a college degree even for an initial interview. According to a 2007 study by UCLA?s Higher Education Research Institute, nearly one in six freshmen at American four–year institutions is firstgeneration. However, FGS often straddle different cultures between school and home, and many feel socially, ethnically, academically, and emotionally marginalized on campus. Because of these disparities, FGS frequently encounter barriers to academic success and require additional campus support resources. Some institutions offer increased financial aid and loan–free aid packages to FGS, but these remedies?although welcome?do not fully address the diverse and complex challenges that these students experience.
Responding to these complexities, this volume?s chapters extend previous research by examining the multiple transitions experienced by both undergraduate and graduate FGS. This volume?s cuttingedge research will help college and university administrators, faculty, and staff work better with FGS through more effective pedagogy and institutional programs. Ultimately, this volume affirms how learning communities are strengthened when they include diverse student populations such as FGS and meet their particular emotional, academic, and financial needs.
1. Introduction: Shall We Gather in the Classroom? 5Teresa Heinz Housel, Vickie L. HarveyThe volume′s coeditors discuss the increasing number of firstgeneration college students at higher–education institutions today.
However, academic personnel do not always understand why FGS struggle academically, socially, and emotionally on campus; thus, this volume extends the existing FGS–related literature and offers ways to help FGS achieve college success.
SECTION ONE: THE NEW PATTERN: FIRST–GENERATION COLLEGE STUDENTS AS GRADUATE STUDENTS
2. When First–Generation Students Go to Graduate School 13Brett LuncefordFGS often navigate through higher education using a system of trial and error. Refl ecting on his errors in applying to graduate schools, Lunceford offers practical step–by–step advice for other FGS who wish to pursue graduate study.
3. First–Generation Latina Graduate Students: Balancing Professional Identity Development with Traditional Family Roles 21Valerie Lester LeyvaLike many FGS, Leyva was unprepared for the stratifi ed social structure and expectations of campus culture; this lack of preparation is often compounded for ethnic minorities. Leyva uses ethnographic interviews to examine how Latina women in her university′s department manage gender and familial roles with college demands.
4. Learning a New World: Refl ections on Being a First–Generation College Student and the Infl uence of TRIO Programs 33LaKresha GrahamGraham emphasizes the TRIO programs′ important role in supporting FGS as they navigate unfamiliar academic culture. The chapter asserts that Upward Bound, Student Educational Support Services, and the McNair Scholars Program are increasingly important as more FGS pursue graduate studies.
SECTION TWO: FIRST–GENERATION STUDENTS JOIN THE UNDERGRADUATE RANKS
5. Faculty Perceptions of the First–Generation Student Experience and Programs at Tribal Colleges 41Jacqueline J. Schmidt, Yemi AkandeThe authors examine barriers to success that Native–American FGS face at tribal colleges, and offer specifi c recommendations for improved student services based on the authors interviews with faculty at five tribal colleges.
6. Understanding the First–Generation Student Experience in Higher Education Through a Relational Dialectic Perspective 55Russell Lowery–Hart, George Pacheco Jr.Russell Lowery–Hart and George Pacheco Jr. use interviews and focus groups with FGS to examine the tensions they often experience due to lack of family support, fi nancial worries, poor academic preparation, and other barriers. Because support programs often isolate and further marginalize FGS, Lowery–Hart and Pacheco argue that college personnel must realize that the failure to "fit in" can lead to students incapacity for positive relationships with the college and peers.
7. First–Generation Issues: Learning Outcomes of the Dismissal Testimonial for Academically Dismissed Students in the Arts & Sciences 69Jennifer Brost, Kelly PayneStudies indicate that FGS drop out of college at higher rates than non–FGS. To extend the existing research, Brost and Payne conducted surveys with FGS who are on academic dismissal to examine what specific issues led the students to fail academically.
8. A Social Constructionist View of Issues Confronting First–Generation College Students 81Stephen CoffmanCoffman uses interviews with FGS to argue that race and class are two areas in which students experience tension when transitioning into campus culture. When college personnel understand the social influences on FGS′ college experiences, they can better assist the students through appropriate support programs.
9. Critical Compassionate Pedagogy and the Teacher′s Role in First–Generation Student Success 91Richie Neil HaoHao asserts that critical compassionate pedagogy allows him to better meet the pedagogical needs of FGS. He advocates for this pedagogical perspective, arguing that many instructors do not consider the different pedagogical needs of underserved student populations such as FGS.
10. Gathering Ourselves and Our Students: Concluding Remarks 99Vickie L. Harvey, Teresa Heinz HouselIn this concluding chapter, Harvey and Heinz Housel refl ect on the book s contribution to the research on FGS, discuss common questions that FGS have about attending college, and assert the need for effective campus support programs.