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BW recognized for commitment to first-generation college students

The Center for First-generation Student Success has chosen BW for membership in the national First Scholars Network.



Baldwin Wallace University is among the newest members of the First Scholars Network, chosen for participation in the 2023-24 class by the Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) and The Suder Foundation.

According to a news release, BW was named to the First Scholars Network because of "a demonstrated commitment to improving experiences and advancing success for first-generation college students."

"We are honored to be selected as a First Scholars Network Member because BW prioritizes students who are first in their families to pursue higher education," said Dr. Timeka Rashid, vice president for student affairs.

"First-generation students on our campus can count on specialized support as a hallmark of the BW experience, including our new student-driven First-Gen Advisory Council and programming, such as our first-gen retreats and career conferences, that recognize the unique challenges and needs of this population. We look forward to expanding and further strengthening those resources."

Powerful network support

Attendees at BW’s spring First-Generation Retreat, left to right, are Fahima Taher, Gloria Mireles, Mylonne Sullivan, Alyssa Guzman, Charlize Bernhardt, VP for student affairs Dr. Timeka Rashid, Haley Stalnaker, Yana Kryvyak, Daisjah Brown, Mia Basit-Hightower, Sarah Griffin, Jenavieve Parks and Anthony Tosatto.


The First Scholars Network involves a four-phase approach that aims to advance student success through communities of practice, resources and peer networks. BW joins more than 350 participating institutions of higher education.

"The Center is pleased to welcome BW into the First Scholars Network," said Dr. Sarah E. Whitley, vice president with the Center for First-generation Student Success. "Through the application process, it was evident that BW 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."

According to Rashid, more than a quarter of BW students identify as first-generation.

Building new resources

With a First-Gen Faculty Staff Advisory Committee also in place, staff in the BW Division of Student Affairs (DSA) recently took part in a 2023-24 First Scholars Network virtual kick-off event. Moving forward, they will participate in monthly calls, professional development, goal setting, blog development, annual reporting and more.

After successful completion of the Network Member phase, BW will progress to phase two, known as First-gen Forward, which eventually culminates with eligibility to become a First Scholars Institution. The ultimate goal is to become a First Scholars Champion Campus.

"Being named as a Network Member of the First Scholars Network is an exciting opportunity for BW 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," said Dr. Kevin Kruger, president and CEO of NASPA.

To learn more, visit the Center for First-generation Student Success.

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