This blog frequently features articles and resources for understanding and helping students whose parents did not go to college. Such students don’t come to us with the cultural capital that helps them navigate higher education comfortably. They may not know the conventions of addressing a faculty member; they may not know how to get what they need from various campus offices. They may worry about going to faculty office hours, may not understand how to get tutoring or career advice.
But they do not come to us a bundle of deficits–they bring a critical perspective to what we do, helping us to see old practices anew, to understand the impact of policies we never questioned. They grow in exciting ways when they realize all the many opportunities offered on our campuses. When you’re a new faculty member at an institution with lots of first-gen students, look around for the services aimed at them, and notice which students benefit and which don’t. Be part of the effort to make sure that students get what they need.
Have look at this article from the Chronicle for some thoughts on first-gen students.