Date of this Version
Published in Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, Fall/Winter 2015, Volume 16, Number 2.
First-generation students sometimes lack a support network that values higher education. Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA)—a regional, comprehensive university of approximately 13,000 students, located in the piney woods of East Texas—serves a diverse body of students who are nearly 50% first-generation. These students often face financial constraints and have been underexposed to the cultural diversity of the twenty-first-century economy. At the same time, our students know that a university education is vital to their success and have an intense desire to conquer new intellectual landscapes. Thus, while some would consider our student body a challenge, we see it as an opportunity. Because of our unique student body, we at SFA are able to help an underserved population whose success is central to meeting the local, national, and international challenges of the future. To meet these challenges, SFA encourages transformative learning experiences, a culture of engagement, undergraduate research, and a focus on lifelong learning, among other strategies. I value the School of Honors for its high-impact role in helping SFA serve our students and community.