March 25, 2020

First-gen virtual chats now offered twice a week

Students looking for assistance and resources can connect through Zoom chats every Tuesday and Thursday

Author: Sandra Baltazar Martínez
March 25, 2020

The Office of Undergraduate Education’s first-generation program will be hosting calls with first-generation students twice a week.  

The goal is to remind them that support and services are still available — students just need to call or email. The first-gen student Zoom chats started on Tuesday, March 24; the virtual chat sessions will be offered every Tuesday and Thursday until April 30. 

“I wanted to remind students that just because they are not on campus to physically walk into the office, it does not mean the offices are not there to help,” said Thomas Dickson, assistant vice provost of Undergraduate Education, whose office is leading UCR’s first-gen initiatives. 

First-generation students tend to struggle with asking for help, so the sessions will provide an opportunity to reach out. Students can connect via Zoom or telephone, Dickson said. On days when no sessions are offered, students can still call 951-888-1031, a Google phone message system, to leave their questions, Dickson said. 

Thomas Dickson, assistant vice provost of Undergraduate Education. (UCR)

Students will need to log in to Zoom using their campus identification, and the chats have recording features to track participants to ensure there are no issues with abuse.  

“This is meant to allow students to express themselves, to share how they are feeling,” Dickson said. “We want to still be able to build community, even if it’s connecting virtually with them.” 

Earlier this month, UCR was recognized as a First-gen Forward Institution by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, known as NASPA. This national recognition acknowledges UCR’s efforts to support first-gen students, meaning they are the first in their families to attend a four-year university, with neither parent or guardian having graduated with a four-year degree in the United States. 

Each session will be co-hosted by Dickson, along with first-gen students Precious Fasakin and Alejandro Meza-Aguilar. Dickson also has a lineup of guest speakers who will address various topics, including study tips, tutoring, and graduate school.

Dani Cook, UCR Library’s director of Teaching and Learning Services, is scheduled to be the guest speaker during the session on Thursday, March 26. 

First-gen student Zoom chats 

Zoom: Students will need to download Zoom and log-in using their UCR single sign-on credentials. 

Call: 951-888-1031

Time: 8-9 p.m., PST, on Tuesdays and Thursdays 

Guest speaker lineup: 

March 26: Dani Cook from the Library’s Teaching and Learning Services

March 31: Lauren Horn Griffin from XCITE

April 2: Rena Burton from the Academic Resource Center 

April 7: Devon Sakamoto from The Well


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