Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Selected to ‘First Scholars Network’ due to Commitment to First-Gen College Students

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi has been selected by the Center for First-generation Student Success as a new member of the First Scholars Network for 2023-24. To be selected as a First Scholars Network member, the Island University displayed a demonstrated commitment to improving experiences and advancing success for first-generation college students.

“We are extremely honored to be selected as a First Scholars Network Member,” said Dr. Clarenda Phillips, TAMU-CC Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “TAMU-CC recognizes the unique challenges and opportunities that first-generation students face. Our affiliation with the First Scholars Network will complement our ongoing efforts to provide supportive programs, financial assistance, mentorship, and college readiness workshops to empower students to thrive academically, socially, and personally.”

Powered by the Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA and The Suder Foundation, the First Scholars Network is a four-phase approach that allows institutions of higher education to advance student success through establishing communities of practice, gaining knowledge of resources, and establishing peer networks. More than 350 institutions of higher education have entered the Network, representing 49 states and the District of Columbia.

“Being named as a Network Member of the First Scholars Network is an exciting opportunity for Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 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. “We are excited to see a groundswell of activity from the Class of 2023 Network Members and know TAMU-CC will be a significant contributor.”

As a Network Member, interested faculty and staff are afforded opportunities to engage with peer institutions also working to create environments that improve the experiences and success of first-generation students, and will participate in monthly calls, professional development, goal setting, blog development, annual reporting, and more.

“Almost 50% of the TAMU-CC student population is first-generation,” said Dr. Jerel Benton, TAMU-CC Associate Vice President, Student Success. “We have had great success serving this population over the years. We are committed to continuing to serve first-generation students by continuing to scale our programs and services to enhance their experience and provide the social capital needed to be successful.”

After successful completion of the Network Member phase, institutions progress to the second phase, First-gen Forward, after which it is eligible to become a First Scholars Institution. First Scholars is the third phase of the First Scholars Network and serves as the Center’s customized approach to intentional institutional transformation in an effort to advance student outcomes. Ultimately, all Network institutions strive for national leadership as a First Scholars Champion Campus.