Dr. Robert K. Toutkoushian led a Dialogues in Diversity Lunchtime session on first-generation college students (FGCS) on October 24. The series, coordinated by the UGA Office of Institutional Diversity, invites scholars to introduce a topic and encourage several dozen people from across campus to discuss particular issues in diversity that relate to higher education. Toutkoushian, professor and associate director at the McBee Institute, has a background in economics and has conducted research on first-generation student access to and success in postsecondary education throughout his career.
Toutkoushian’s presentation focused on how institutions can help first-gen students navigate the admissions process and support students through college. He noted that institutions and programs define FGCS differently, but students whose parents have no college experience are least likely to take the SAT, complete applications or enroll. Once enrolled, FGCS are less likely to earn four-year degrees.
After providing an overview of research findings, Toutkoushian invited participants to engage in small groups and discuss ways to reach and support this student group with targeted programs. He prompted them to consider the how they would define FGCS and devise strategies to address the underlying causes of gaps in access and completion.
Other Dialogues in Diversity sessions are posted at: https://diversity.uga.edu/faculty_and_staff/individual_opportunities/dialogues_in_diversity/