Recognition and Belonging: Engaging First Generation Students

Richards, Wayne, Elgazarri, Sugg, & Fowler / / January 2017

male mentor with diverse group of students

This paper is based on a reflective journey taken by project members which offers insight into the unique challenges that first generation students face and considers the institutional responses needed to enhance their engagement and experience. The student as academic partner’s project was developed to further explore issues of recognition, belonging and engagement for first generation students - who are the first in their families to attend higher education. Whilst this group of students should be celebrated as pioneers of higher education they are more likely than their counterparts to drop out of their studies or have a difficult transition to higher education because they lack the required social capital.