JSU Invited to Join First Scholars Network


A student shows off a promo sticker given away at a reception for first-generation college students on the Quad in 2019. Photo by Abigail Read.

The Center for First-generation Student Success has invited Jacksonville State to join its First Scholars Network due to the university's commitment to improving experiences and advancing success for first-generation college students.
“We are extremely honored to be selected,” said JSU Dean of Students Joshua Robinson. “Approximately 34 percent of our students identify as first-generation students. JSU has always prided ourselves in supporting first-generation students. Now we have the opportunity to work with other colleges and universities to enhance support for first-generation students at JSU and across the country.”

First Scholars Network Logo. An initiative of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) and The Suder Foundation, the Center for First-generation Student Success is dedicated to effectively and equitably driving first-generation student success across education, career and life. Its 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.

“The center is pleased to welcome Jacksonville State University into the First Scholars Network,” said the center's vice president, Dr. Sarah E. Whitley. “Through the application process, it was evident that Jacksonville State University 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.”
In this first phase of the First Scholars Network, JSU faculty and staff will be afforded opportunities to engage with peer institutions also working to create environments that improve the experiences and success of first-generation students - participating in monthly calls, professional development, goal setting, blog development, annual reporting and more.
When JSU progresses to the network's second phase, First-gen Forward, it will become eligible to be known as 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.
“Being named as a network member of the First Scholars Network is an exciting opportunity for Jacksonville State University 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 Jacksonville State University will be a significant contributor.”