Sept. 8: Expert on first-generation students visits campus

und-1st-gThe College of Arts & Sciences and the Division of Student Affairs have partnered to bring to campus Allison Hurst, an academic researcher and expert on successes and challenges of first-generation college students.

Hurst, the author of The Burden of Academic Success and College and the Working Class, is on campus Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 7 and 8, taking part in a panel discussion on Wednesday and a public lecture on Thursday. All events associated with Hurst’s visit are free and open to the public.

“Dr. Hurst has researched the academic journeys and experiences of first-generation students and has ideas on how we can do a better job of supporting them,” said Debbie Storrs, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. “First-generation students are capable and resilient. They simply have different external and internal challenges that require institutions to be more thoughtful and responsive. That’s what UND is doing.”

Hurst will present a lecture at 3 p.m. on Thursday in the Memorial Union’s Lecture Bowl. A reception will be held immediately following the lecture.

In the lecture, Hurst is expected to address a number of areas of her research, including class-identity construction and reconstruction among students before and during college; the interplay of class identity, educational success and social mobility; and the psychological and social costs of academic success.

Along with partnering with the Division of Students Affairs to bring Hurst to campus, Storrs said that this fall the College of Arts & Sciences will launch “UND 1stG,” a first-generation logo that will proudly identify those students who are first in their families to attend college.

“As a first-generation student myself, I know the unique challenges of attending college when no one else in your family has done so,” Storrs said. “We have many first-generation students at UND and we want to ensure they feel supported and their academic needs are met. Luckily we also have first-generation faculty and staff who have successfully navigated college and who want to ensure their students are also successful.”

Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Laurie Betting also remembers what it was like to be a first-generation college student.

“I received support though TRIO (a federal program that ensures equal educational opportunities for all American citizens) and know first-hand the challenges and importance of student-support services,” Betting said.

For more information regarding UND 1stG, check out the website and follow on Facebook (UND 1st G) and on Twitter (@UND1stG).

— Tanya Butler, College of Arts & Sciences, 777.6240,