Models of support in higher education for low-income, first generation, and racially minority students

SEHD News, 03-25-2021


Kitchen has worked as a co-investigator on a multi-million dollar, mixed-methods, longitudinal study of a comprehensive college transition program serving thousands of low-income, first generation, and racially minoritized (i.e., "at-promise") students at a midwestern state university system. The purpose of the program is to facilitate a successful transition into college for students typically not well-served by higher education. The program offers a comprehensive suite of support including proactive advising, shared courses with a cohort of peers taught by designated faculty, staff advising meetings, a first-year seminar, a scholarship, academic and social activities, and major and career support. Kitchen has led the project in two areas in particular on the project around (a) major and career self-efficacy among at-promise students and (b) ecological and validating support for at-promise students. In both areas, Kitchen and his colleagues have identified the potentially transformative role of college educators who take an ecological and tailored approach to at-promise student support that is both affirming of students' capabilities for success and recognizes their past experiences, identities, and cultures as assets that can be leveraged by educators in proactive ways to help them reach their college and career goals. Kitchen and colleagues have developed models for at-promise student support extrapolated from the effective approaches discovered over the course of the program study that could lead to transformational institutional change in higher education to better serve at-promise students.