UVU receives national First Forward designation



The First-Year Experience and Student Retention Office at Utah Valley University has received the “First Forward” designation. It’s an honor from The Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA (the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education) and The Suder Foundation. This designation currently recognizes only a small number of institutions who have demonstrated a commitment to improve experiences and advance outcomes of first-generation college students.

I Am First is a community of students, staff, faculty and other key stakeholders that seeks to provide the crucial support needed for first-generation students to thrive at the university. This is just one of the many programs that have come from UVU’s First-Year Experience and Student Retention Office.

Some of the experiences that the I Am First group offers are a mentor program that connects first-generation students with staff and faculty mentors, leadership development for freshmen, customized orientations, learning lunches with staff and faculty, and many scholarship opportunities.

“We are excited to be joining this group of institutions focused on supporting first-generation student completion. Here at UVU, we have strived to build a comprehensive completion initiative that provides support for our first-generation students from before they register all the way to graduation day,” Marcy Glassford, director of first-year experience and student retention, said.

Dr. Kevin Kruger, president of NASPA, said, “First Forward is an exciting opportunity for Utah Valley University to join an elite 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. We are excited to see a groundswell of activity from the First Forward cohort, and know UVU will be a significant contributor.”

Last year UVU President Astrid S. Tuminez announced a $15 million initiative aimed at raising funds for scholarships and programming that supports UVU’s first-generation students. Since this announcement, a renewed emphasis has been placed on ensuring success for first-generation students attending UVU.

Currently, 36 percent of UVU’s enrollment are first-generation students and 1,406 first-generation students just graduated with the Class of 2019.