Independence Community College Receives First-gen Forward Designation; National Honor for Commitment to First-generation Student Success

Independence Community College Receives First-gen Forward Designation; National Honor for Commitment to First-generation Student Success

Independence, Kansas (March 2, 2021) - The Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and The Suder Foundation, recently announced the 2021-22 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. 


“We have a robust population of first generation students at ICC, so it is important that we continue to strengthen the programs that contribute to their academic and professional success,” said Interim President Cordell Jordan. “Being designated a First-gen Forward Institution gives ICC a chance to highlight new and existing opportunities that better serve our students.”


“The Center is so pleased to welcome Independence Community College into the 2021-22 First-gen Forward cohort. Through the application process, it was evident that ICC 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. 


Vincent Bowhay, vice president for student affairs, and Taylor Crawshaw, dean for tutoring and accessibility/Registrar, led the effort to identify and catalog existing programs and supports for first-generation students at ICC. Their work uncovered a vast network of resources and supports for first generation students at the College. Examples include the free Pirate Pantry, to free academic tutoring and coaching, and a wide variety of services and events hosted through the ICC Trio and student success programs.


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 phone 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 Independence Community 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 ICC will be a significant contributor,” offered Dr. Kevin Kruger, president and CEO of NASPA. 

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