In a Bulletin Board announcement to the campus community, President Welty offered his encouragement for a new undertaking, the First Generation Stories Project. Here is his message: “If you are one of our many faculty and staff who are first-generation college graduates, I write to invite you to contribute to the First Generation Stories Project—a project designed to provide inspiration and role models for our first-generation students.
"Approximately 35% of our new students are the first in their family to attend college. Another 15% have parents who started college but did not graduate. The drop-out rate for first-generation students is higher than the rate for the general student population. As we know, role models can help students feel they belong on campus and give them confidence that they can succeed. Yet, unlike role models from a traditionally underrepresented culture, ethnicity, or gender, first-generation role models are invisible.
"The purpose of the First Generation Stories Project is to make our first-generation faculty and staff visible to students and to let them know that many of their professors, counselors and others have faced obstacles and challenges similar to the ones they are experiencing. I am a first-generation college student and intend to submit my story for this project. I invite you to join me.
"The organizers of this project will collect our stories and edit them for use in student support programs, classrooms, blogs, and other venues. The final product will take several forms, including web, video and hard copy. In the coming weeks, writer’s guidelines, sample stories, and a timeline for the project will be issued. All authors will retain final approval of their story before it is added to the collection. The call for stories will also contain a list of individuals you can contact with questions.
"I look forward to reading the stories contained in this collection and to the contribution it will make to our students.”