What is the UI First-Generation Task Force?



NASPA Center for First-Generation Student Success Blog, October 2019
"Ways to make a difference: Building awareness and celebrating first-generation students"


NASPA Center for First-Generation Student Success Blog, October 2018
"Grassroots Mobilization of Faculty and Staff to Support and Celebrate First-Generation Students"


Want to learn more about the 1stGen@Iowa campus-wide initiative to support and celebrate first-generation students? Click here for more information.


Leadership and Membership

  • Tanya Uden-Holman, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education and Dean of the University College, and Wayne Jacobson, Director of Assessment, are co-directors of the First-Generation Task Force.
  • Angela Lamb, Assistant Director of Academic Support and Retention, chairs the task force and is a functional lead for the 1stGen@Iowa initiative.


Current members of the First-Generation Task Force include: 

Alicia Joens  Pomerantz Career Center
Alicia R. Ambler  ESL Programs
Amy Baumgartner  Residence Education
Anastasia Williams  Office of Teaching, Learning & Technology Center for Teaching
Andrew Beckett  University College
Angela Ward  Distance and Online Education
Angela Lamb  Academic Support & Retention
Anna Flaming  Office of Teaching, Learning & Technology Center for Teaching
Benjamin Hassman  Department of Rhetoric
Blaine Greteman  Department of English
Bret Gothe  Office of the Dean of Students
Carolyn Colvin  Teaching & Learning
Chandler Easley  Student Athlete Academic Services
Cody Pritchard  TRIO Student Support Services
Cynthia Seyfer  Student Financial Aid
Dana Thomann  Department of Rhetoric
Danielle Martinez  Academic Support & Retention
David Johnson  Office of the Registrar
Diane Crosby  Academic Advising Center
Erin Barnes  Rehabilitation & Counselor Education
Jamarco Clark  Office of the Dean of Students
James Ankrum  Biomedical Engineering
Jan Wessel  Psychological & Brain Sciences
Jane Dorman  College of Engineering Administration
Jenay Solomon  Library Administration 
Jenna Yang  Undergraduate Student Government
Kate Torno Fashimpaur  CLAS Administration
Kate Newcomb  Center for Diversity & Enrichment
Katherine McCullough  School of Library and Information Science
Kathryn Stoltenberg  Office of the Registrar
Kim Klinedinst  Public Health Administration
Kristen Stradt Johnson  Tippie College of Business
Kristi Norris  Academic Support & Retention
Linda Varvel  Carver College of Medicine Administration
Lisa Ingram  Academic Advising Center
Logan Williams  Undergraduate Student Government
Maggy Tomova  CLAS Administration
Maria Bruno  Student Life
Martha Kirby  CLAS Administration
Mary Aldugom  Psychological and Brain Sciences
Matt Anson  Office of Assessment
Matthew Miller  Iowa Veteran Education, Transition, and Support (IVETS)
Mirra Anson  Academic Support & Retention
Monica Madura  CLAS Administration
Patrick Rossmann  Student Health and Wellness
Regan Smock  Undergraduate Student Government
Samantha Flores  Academic Support & Retention
Sara Nasrollahian Mojarad  Office of Teaching, Learning & Technology Center for Teaching
Shaun Vecera  UI Honors Program
Tanya Uden-Holman  Provost Administration
Teri Schnelle  Office of the Vice President for Student Life
Wayne Jacobson  Office of Assessment
Xiangheng Li   Undergraduate Student Government



In the past, the University of Iowa has not had integrated campus-wide oversight and direction for coordinating first-generation student initiatives throughout campus, identifying unmet needs, selecting areas for further collaboration, disseminating lessons learned, or advocating for policies and practices that support these students.  However, given that nearly a quarter of undergraduate students at the University of Iowa identify as first-generation, the need for such guidance has become increasingly apparent. As a result, the First-Generation Task Force was created to serve some of these functions.


The First-Gen Task Force was convened in Spring 2017, to follow-up on initial recommendations of the 2016 Student Success Task Force and to further examine ways the institution can better support first-generation students. The Task Force was also specifically charged with considering the unique roles of faculty and staff in supporting the academic success of students with whom they work.


Task-Force Accomplishments

The Task Force began its work by reviewing literature- sharing research and best practices related to supporting first-generation students among its members- and assembling current institutional data. Because the Task Force meets only a few times throughout each semester, much of its work is done through smaller working groups that are assigned a specific task to complete and bring back to the larger group.


As of October 2018, the working groups and task force has worked on these projects:

  • Developed a handout that distills current research and institutional data and provides a brief introduction to the campus community on first-generation student concerns.   
  • Entered a partnership with the UI Undergraduate Student Government to host two "I'm the First" First-Generation Summits.
  • Discussed plans for networking and mentoring opportunities that involve students, faculty, staff, and potentially, alumni. 
  • Initiated conversations on strategic dissemination of a cohesive, data-informed message to faculty and staff through trainings and purposeful discussions that will create systematic institutional change. 
  • Created a website designed to serve as a faculty and staff-facing campus hub of materials that includes critical information and a comprehensive listing of current Task Force events and initiatives. 
  • Collaborated with UI Marketing & Design to create the “1stGen@Iowa” logo and branding identity of the institutional initiative that seeks to inform and educate the campus community, support first-generation students in their academic and career endeavors, and ensure that students ultimately succeed at the University of Iowa. 
  • Led efforts to participate in the annual National First-Generation College Celebration through a week-long, campus-wide series of events every November.
  • Launched plans to recognize and celebrate first-generation students and advocates in an annual First-Generation Award and Recognition ceremony (inaugural event held in November 2019).
  • Worked to increase awareness of and celebrate the first-generation identity on campus through various campus initiatives. 
  • Started recognizing exemplary first-gen students and faculty/staff advocates with the annual 1stGen@Iowa Awards
  • Created the "1stGen@Iowa Celebration Day" t-shirt distribution and coordinated efforts for all t-shirt owners to wear their shirts on the first Thursday of the fall semester, which also coincides with CDE's Community of Color Day.
  • Partnered with Residence Education and Rhetoric to bring back the First-Gen LLC and helped with programming elements.
  • Earned a First-Gen Forward designation, which recognizes institutions of higher education across the country that have demonstrated a commitment to improving experiences and advancing outcomes for first-generation college students.
  • Celebrated first-gen graduates by developing video messages that were disseminated to spring/summer graduates via email.
  • Developed a handout for Fall 2020 to provide information on supporting students during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Convened a 1stGen@Iowa Student Advisory Board, which provides feedback and input on task force efforts to better support first-generation students on campus