Generation One Trailblazers

2016

The purpose of this project is to provide first generation students at Columbus State with support through the Generation One Trailblazers (GOT) – a faculty driven resource group established in 2010.  First generation students – those who are among the first in their families to attend college – are a cohort identified by colleges and student success advocates (such as Achieving the Dream) as individuals who face academic obstacles that “traditional" students do not usually face. Through GOT we aim to support our first generation students (currently in excess of 6,000 students) via education of proper academic expectations, awareness of college procedures and resources, promoting a sense of community, and enhanced connectivity with peers, faculty, and the college as a whole. In short, connectivity through GOT enhances academic success and helps our students “blaze a trail" for themselves and their families.  For the 2014/15 year, we enrolled 6,700 student in the Blackboard community, 120 students attended community events, 58 students were paired with mentors, and 30 students attended First Generation Movie night. For Autumn 2015, 62 students participated in GOT events with an overall successful completion rate of 80.7% and withdraw rate of 4.1%, and with an average number of credits completed at 9.1, while the college overall experienced a 72.2% success rate, 7.2% withdraw rate, and average number of credits completed at 6.45: 12_outcomes_generation_one_trailblazers_au15.pdf

2017 Update

GOT continues to host events and resources that help our first generation students navigate the path towards college success.  The following is a list of events we held this past academic year.

  • GOT is responsible for soliciting and reviewing applications for the college’s first generation scholarships.  We awarded 12 scholarships each totaling $1000.  We began by advertising the scholarships via our college website (cscc.edu/got), our Blackboard organization, and official Facebook page. As a result, we received approximately 300 applications.  We then implemented a review process involving the lead members of GOT and the AcademicWorks web platform in order to determine the winners.  (SU16) 
  • ​On September 27, 2016, we hosted a GOT Welcome Event for first generation students.  This event served basically as a social mixer, providing students with a forum in which they can meet and chat with other first generation students.  We offer pizza, desserts, and drinks during the event.  During the event, we gave a short presentation sharing all the resources available to the students to help them in achieving their goals.  Approximately 60 students (along with a handful of GOT faculty contacts) attended the event. 
  • We partnered with the new Students Striving 4 Success (SS4S) first generation student club, to promote events and together reach the first gen students on campus.  For example, on March 22, 2017, we sent GOT Contact delegates to the SS4S “stress buster” event at the CSCC Library Multimedia Studio. 
  • Offered the workshop titled “First Generation Students and Belonging” as part of the College Resources for Advanced Faculty Training (CRAFT) program.  CRAFT is a collection of faculty- and staff-led workshops that support faculty professional development.  The workshop was offered twice in the AU16 semester, and twice again in the SP17 semester.  The goal of the workshop is to educate faculty and staff on how to identify first generation students in the classroom, their plight, and what we can do to help. 
  • On February 27, 2017, GOT Intervention Leader presented to a COLS 1100 class at the Delaware campus to educate the students about first gen student status and the resources available.   
  • On April 27, 2017, we held a First Generation Scholarship workshop in order to share with students more information on the college’s first generation scholarships and how to best apply for them. ​

Based on surveys from previous years, we’ve determined that the social mixers we’ve been hosting were good for students to meet other first generation students.  However, we felt that there needed to be more substance at these gatherings.  In addition, we wanted to make them aware of GOT and other resources at the beginning of the semester (rather than towards the middle).  So, this year we held a GOT Welcome Event at the WD conference center during the first month of the AU16 semester.  While we still served food and allowed for some fraternizing, we then shared a formal presentation on all the resources that were available to first gen students. 

 Another change this year was to provide more professional development opportunities for faculty and staff as it relates to the plight of the first generation student.  So, we partnered with Rich James and the college’s professional development efforts and offered a workshop educating others about first generation students as part of the college’s CRAFT series.  The goal is to spread the word about the challenges of first generation students so that we might include helpful interventions in our pedagogy. 

Finally, we added a new event based on the perceived needs of our target cohort.  Specifically, in the previous year we had approximately 300 students apply for the first generation scholarships, but we noticed that many of the applications weren’t well put together.  In particular, students were struggling in writing a proper personal statement.  So, this year we provided a How to Apply for First Generation Scholarships workshop in the SP17 semester.  During this workshop we shared tips on how to apply, how to ask instructors for letters of reference, and how to write a strong personal statement.  The need for this type of workshop was obvious based on the strong attendance at the workshop; we had to bring in extra chairs as we cleared the room’s capacity.  

 Our plan for the upcoming year is to continue to provide opportunities for first generation students to succeed while at CSCC.  This plan includes, but is not limited to

  • Autumn semester welcome event
  • Autumn and spring social mixers
  • Student and faculty workshops
  • More scholarship related promotion and education
  • Continuing of the online mentor program
  • Adding more helpful content to the GOT website (www.cscc.edu/GOT)
  • Creating more assessment opportunities (e.g., organizational survey)

2017 Outcomes

  • Students enrolled in the GOT Blackboard organization: 10,204 students
  • Students who have access the Bb site: 2,687
  • Students who applied for the 2016-17 first generation scholarships: 300 (approximate)
  • Students who attended the AU16 Welcome Event: 42
  • Students in the online mentor program: 26
  • Students who attended the SP17 scholarship workshop: 36 
ID 16865

To contact this college about this intervention, take note of the ID above, ID #16865, and then fill out the intervention contact request form

Please note that for security purposes, contact information can only be provided to known contacts at active Achieving the Dream institutions.

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