Sept. 23: Helping first-generation students is focus of talk

By Beverly Makhani, Undergraduate Education

freshmenPULLMAN, Wash. – Faculty and staff will gain strategies for helping first-generation students succeed at a professional development presentation at 4:10 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 23, in CUE 202, Washington State University.

About 40 percent of the WSU freshman class self-identified as first-generation, or students whose parents have not completed a bachelor’s degree, said Mary Sanchez Lanier, WSU assistant vice provost.

Eva Navarijo, director of the First Scholars program, and Anna Plemons, director of the Critical Literacies Achievement and Success program, will explain Stereotype Threat Theory. It says that when a person’s social identity (like being the first in their family to attend college) is attached to a negative stereotype, that person will tend to underperform in a manner consistent with the stereotype.

Results may include decreased performance in academic and non-academic domains, increased use of self-defeating behaviors, disengagement and altered professional aspirations, for example.

Host of the event is First-Year Experience, directed by Karen Weathermon and part of WSU Undergraduate Education. The presentation is part of a series for faculty and staff who work with first-year students.