ERIC Number: EJ809694
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
First-Generation Students, Social Class, and Literacy
Snell, Theron P.
Academe, v94 n4 p28-31 Jul-Aug 2008
The author works as an academic adviser and adjunct instructor at a small, public, four-year university that provides the usual spread of bachelor's degree programs, as well as several master's degrees. He has done similar work at a private liberal arts college and at a branch campus of a large state school. He brings to this work not only a PhD in American studies but also experience teaching English in a Colombian high school for two years and teaching English as a second language in a language institute in Bogota, Colombia, for a year. At each of the U.S. institutions at which he has worked, administrators and faculty alike have worried about and studied first-generation college students, looking at specific academic and social challenges these students face and how best to ensure student success. In this article, the author looks at this concern about first-generation students from the perspective he has gained from working at a smaller, regional university and from teaching cross-culturally. Although faculty members and administrators invoke first-generation status to explain many of the academic problems they perceive, his experience suggests that social class and local social environment, particularly their respective effects on literacy, are just as crucial indicators of success. Class, in fact, may act as a multiplier to first-generation status.
Descriptors: State Schools, First Generation College Students, Social Class, American Studies, Social Environment, Liberal Arts, Faculty, English Instruction, Literacy, Reading Ability, Academic Failure, Academic Achievement
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States