UND to host expert on First-Generation students on Sept. 7-8


David L. Dodds

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

College of Arts & Sciences


Visit by Allison Hurst part of a joint initiative of Arts & Sciences and Student Affairs to improve support for students who are first in their families to attend college

The University of North Dakota College of Arts & Sciences and the Division of Student Affairs have partnered to bring to campus Allison Hurst , an academic researcher and expert on successes and challenges of first-generation college students.

Hurst, the author of The Burden of Academic Success and College and the Working Class, is slated to visit UND on Wednesday and Thursday (Sept. 7-8), taking part in a panel discussion on Wednesday and a public lecture on Thursday. All events associated with Hurst’s visit are FREE and Open to the public.

“Dr. Hurst has researched the academic journeys and experiences of first-generation students and has ideas on how we can do a better job of supporting them,” said Debbie Storrs, dean of the UND College of Arts & Sciences. “First-generation students are capable and resilient. They simply have different external and internal challenges that require institutions to be more thoughtful and responsive. That’s what UND is doing.”

Wednesday’s panel discussion with Hurst is set for 12:30-1:30 p.m., in the River Valley Room of the Memorial Union, where a group of first-generation college students, faculty and staff members will discuss their experiences. Hurst will moderate the discussion. The public is encouraged to bring a lunch to this event.

Hurst also will present a lecture at 3 p.m., on Thursday in the Memorial Union’s Lecture Bowl. A reception will be held immediately following the lecture.

In the lecture, Hurst is expected to address a number of areas of her research, including class-identity construction and reconstruction among students before and during college; the interplay of class identity, educational success and social mobility; and the psychological and social costs of academic success.

Along with partnering with the Division of Students Affairs to bring Hurst to campus, Storrs said that this fall UND’s College of Arts & Sciences will be launching “UND 1stG,” a first-generation logo that will proudly identify those students who are first in their families to attend college.

“As a first-generation student myself, I know the unique challenges of attending college when no one else in your family has done so,” Storrs said. “We have many first-generation students at UND and we want to ensure they feel supported and their academic needs are met. Luckily we also have first-generation faculty and staff who have successfully navigated college and who want to ensure their students are also successful.”

Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Laurie Betting also remembers what it was like to be a first-generation college student.

“I received support though TRIO (a federal program that ensures equal educational opportunities for all American citizens) and know first-hand the challenges and importance of student-support services,” Betting said.