I have seen, both at Heritage and at other institutions dealing with a larger population of first-generation students, that more of them did not graduate compared to other students who came from college-going families. We need to figure out a way to get them into the academic culture so they will be able to perform at the level that their intelligence and creativity deserve.
The thing that was missing was a focus on how faculty could adapt what they’re doing to be more effective with these students. Most faculty are from families where someone was college-going, so no wonder they wouldn’t have a sense of what kinds of things they might need to adapt. That’s what turned me on to doing something for and with faculty, and our “Breakthrough Strategies” videos on YouTube came out of that.
I oversee the content and production of these videos in my role as director of the university’s Institute for Student Identity and Success, and we have linked to them from the institute’s webpage.
By interviewing a large number of students, we identified faculty whom the students saw as making a difference for them. Next we went to learn about the strategies from those faculty members, interviewed them, and refined a description of their ideas. <Read more.>