FREE Professional Development Webinar
Learn how to use the placement process to build more equitable, student-centered colleges using findings from a national research study funded by the Ascendium Education Group.
Female student in jean jacket climbing stairs to academic building with blurry students in background

Staff Perceptions of First-in-Family Students in Higher Education: A Case Study of a Belgian College

Elkin et al. / Journal of First-generation Student Success / March 2024

First-in-family students, otherwise known as pioneers, are crucial in shaping educational spaces globally. This paper investigates staff perceptions of pioneer students in a Belgian college, HOGENT. Semi-structured qualitative interviews with six staff members explored how they perceive and engage with pioneer students, and how HOGENT could better support them. Participant responses revealed themes: culture of HOGENT, unfamiliarity with pioneer experiences, preference for universal design, and suggested interventions. The takeaways of analysis are: tension between universal design and targeted support, framing of obstacles and strengths, culture of asking for help, making implicit ideas explicit, and pioneer students as multi-dimensional.

This journal is a NASPA member benefit. To gain access, please become a NASPA member here.