Students meeting with a first gen professor


About the Initiative

37% of UC Davis undergraduates are first-generation college students, meaning that they grew up in households without a parent or guardian who had completed a four-year college degree. As they make their way through the unfamiliar landscape of our university, anxieties about belonging may loom large. 

One way to help these students succeed is to create a sense of connection. Knowing that there are faculty and staff who began as first-generation college students can ease the anxiety of asking for help, speaking up in class, and even thinking about careers in research and teaching.

Who is first-gen? 

UC Office of the President defines first generation college students as students with neither parent having a four-year college degree. First gen faculty are first gen college students who went on to become faculty. View the UCOP Policy Brief.

Goals of the First-Generation Initiative:

  • Create awareness of our first-generation students and faculty on campus.
  • Provide a sense of connection, access, and encouragement for first-gen students by sharing stories and resources.
  • Foster connection and community among first-gen faculty.
  • Celebrate the accomplishments of first-generation faculty.
  • Provide resources including research literature, current articles, and educational opportunities for campus departments and organizations to build on these connections for outreach and student success. 
  • Provide resources that allow faculty and staff who so choose to identify themselves to students.

Connect with us.

  • Join the First-Gen Faculty Directory. If you’re not listed, please add your name.

Share your Story. 

Since we began this initiative, we have been overwhelmed with the positive response. We’ve discovered that UC Davis has hundreds of first-gen faculty, and that you have inspiring stories to share. And we've heard from many staff who would like to be involved. Your stories, advice, and encouragement can make a tremendous difference. We’re gathering stories to share on the website or by social media. If you’d like to participate, contact