In 2019, Washburn University was one of 80 colleges nationwide recognized as a leader in first-generation initiatives. Designated a First Forward institution by the Center for First-Generation Student Success, Washburn University is more committed now than ever to improving the educational outcomes and experiences of first-generation college students. Historically, students who are the first in their families to attend college retain and graduate at lower rates than those of continuing generation students. However, with the right programming and supports, Washburn University is living its open access mission and closing these achievement gaps, helping students earn post-secondary degrees regardless of the challenges of their particular background.
Looking to scale its initiatives for first-generation students, the Center for Student Success and Retention has partnered with Residential Living to create a First-Generation Learning Community, which will launch in fall 2020. Learning communities are small, highly collaborative units that integrate curricular and co-curricular activities into one cohesive learning experience. Beginning in fall 2020, interested first-generation students will have the opportunity to live in a learning community with other first-generation students and take one course together each semester. Living together while taking the same classes strengthens students’ intellectual interaction between faculty and fellow students, especially as they engage with the “big questions” of those courses that stretch beyond the classroom. Learning communities forge a group identity, cultivate a deeper understanding of self and combat so-called imposter syndrome where many first-generation students feel they do not belong at college.
Help us launch this exciting new First-Generation Learning Community. Your transformative gift will support unique learning opportunities for first-generation students that promote their academic performance, retention, on-time graduation and overall satisfaction with the university experience.