Demystifying the 1st Generation College Student Experience

Consider what it really means to be a “Tommie” and how your classroom can be a more inclusive and welcoming space for those with limited experience in higher education.

Date & Time:

Tuesday, April 10, 2018
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM



St. Paul Campus: OSF room LL 21

As educators, we seek to foster community inside and outside of our classrooms; however, to create community, we must really know our student population. As educators, have we spent time critically thinking about what it means to be a “Tommie?” And how that “Tommie” experience may be different for students with little to no knowledge of higher education. In class, do we assume that all of our students understand how to navigate the college experience, understand the language of higher education, and/or know the steps to reach their career? Many of our first generation college students (students whose parents did not acquire a college degree) are not only dealing with the stressors of our classes, but are additionally trying to understand the ins and outs of what it means to be a college student.  As a community of educators, we can begin to break down some of these additional barriers, allowing our first generation students an easier transition into college and support in our classrooms.  

This workshop will demystify the first generation college experience by:

  1. Presenting current research on first generation college students and highlighting some of the barriers of college completion.
  2. Discussing the intersection of first-generation students and race and class.
  3. Sharing our own stories as first generation college graduates.
  4. Providing classroom strategies to help our first generation college students succeed.

Through storytelling, research and group discussion, workshop participants will be challenged to think about the college student experience, what it really means to be a “Tommie”, and how their classroom can be a more inclusive and welcoming space for those with limited experience in higher education.

This workshop is part of the Inclusive Classroom Institute and is open to all faculty, whether or not you intend to pursue certification.

Workshop Facilitators

Patricia Maddox, Ph.D. is an assistant professor in the Sociology department at St. Thomas.

Jennifer Trost, Ph.D. is a clinical faculty member in the Sociology department in the Dougherty Family College. She is a St. Thomas alum, and has spent time working to increase educational access and success for historically underrepresented communities Dr. Trost conducts research to bring awareness on students in postsecondary who have or are currently experiencing homelessness.

To make an accessibility request, call Disability Resources at (651) 962-6315.