PANEL & ROUNDTABLE: First Generation Faculty Forum: Supporting First Generation Faculty and Students (40 mins)
Nearly 40% of Mason students are first generation college students. This group faces a unique set of challenges, particularly around understanding the implicit norms and expectations on our campus and academia generally. This panel proposes to discuss the unique concerns and experiences of first generation faculty members at Mason and how those impact teaching, mentoring, and advising practices at Mason. Each panelist is a member of Mason’s faculty who was once a first-generation college student who successfully navigated academic institutions and a pathway to the professoriate. By sharing experiences, insights, and current research on strategies that faculty can use to support students and support one another, this panel will also work toward solutions that help improve student access as well as faculty wellness, recruitment, and retention across the University. Some of the questions we will address in our discussion include the following: · What is the current size and scope of faculty who were first generation college students at George Mason? How many faculty members identify as fitting this criteria? What disciplines/departments are they in? What positions do they occupy (assistant/associate/full prof; concurrent admin roles; term)? · Are there trends across their educational experiences that they feel positively impacted their choice to pursue a faculty position? To work at George Mason specifically? · Are there trends across their work and professional practices--in the kinds of labor practices they report in their departments; their teaching, advising, and mentoring practices; or in their research or disciplinary involvement? · Are there professional resources that leadership at George Mason can provide first generation faculty and students to help facilitate and sustain success? · How can we help first generation students understand different ideas about what “work” looks like and the different ways to be transparent about different pathways for structuring work? · How can we help first generation students work recognize that internalized notions of what “success” is and the ways that those ideas can both enable us to find creative solutions and constrain options or even be paralyzed by not knowing? · How does gender impact the expectations that first generation students’ families have and the support that they receive for moving forward on an academic pathway?