Diversity at the UW

Tri-Campus Support

Many outstanding efforts are underway to support and elevate the experiences of first-generation students at the University of Washington. Below are a few highlights from throughout our campuses:

UW Bothell

  • Since 2007, Dr. Jane Van Galen, herself a first-generation student and professor in Educational Studies, has led digital storytelling workshops and courses for faculty, staff and students, to showcase how first-generation students navigate the social and cultural norms of higher education.
  • One of the more popular programs is the Academic Transitions Program. Sponsored by Coca-Cola, this program identifies and supports dozens of first-gen students with financial aid, special programming, mentoring and high impact learning experiences.
  • Students are also welcomed into the Bothell community through the First Generation Network, a program supported by Orientation & Transition Programs in Student Affairs.

Seattle Campus

  • Established in 1968, the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity (OMA&D) has a long history of providing access and academic support for thousands of first-generation students on campus and across the state. Especially notable are federally-funded TRIO programs administered through OMA&D such as Upward Bound, Educational Talent Search, Student Support Services, and the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program.
  • In Spring of 2019, the UW was selected as part of the inaugural national cohort of NAPSA’s First Forward program. The program recognized 80 institutions for their current commitment to first-generation student success and goals to improve the experiences of students in the future.
  • Produced by the UW Alumni Association, the fall 2018 issue of Viewpoint Magazine features the experience of first-generation students and alumni.

UW Tacoma

  • The First Generation Student Initiatives Office: Through our programs and services we seek to support first-generation students to successfully transition into college life and provide opportunities for the academic and personal success of all our first-gen students on campus.
  • The “We are First Generation” campaign celebrates students, faculty, and staff who are the first in the family to attend college, and the diverse experiences and strengths they bring to our learning community.
  • The Office of Student Advocacy and Support provides referral and support services to students, using a case management model. The purpose of this office is to assist students in developing strategies to overcome and address barriers that prevent them from achieving their educational goals.
  • The Center for Equity & Inclusion (CEI) aims to enhance campus education, develop community partnerships, and cultivate our diverse campus community. Current programs like the Real Talk Series, supports the social and academic success of first generation college students by engaging them in critical discussions on current social justice topics, and encouraging them to explore their intersecting identities through the arts.

Tri-Campus Graduate Student Support

  • Core Programs, housed in The Graduate School’s Office of Graduate Student Affairs, kicked off its fourth year of programming this fall with the First-Gen Grad Student Initiative. Along with a student advisory board, the initiative creates opportunities for master’s and doctoral students who are first-generation to come together to form community, connections and learn from each other.