Aiming for Alignment

Faculty and Student Perspectives on Effective Teaching for First-Generation Students


  • Leila Ansari Ricci California State University, Los Angeles
  • Rebecca French California State University, Los Angeles



first-generation college students, faculty practices, student perspectives


First-generation college students comprise a sizable number of the student population in colleges and universities across the nation. As faculty are tasked with teaching and supporting these students in their courses, it is important to consider the alignment of faculty perspectives and the needs of first-generation students. This study explored the perspectives of 176 post-baccalaureate students and 54 faculty at a large, urban Hispanic-serving university in California, with nearly 77% of the campus population consisting of first-generation students and 65% of Latinx students. Data collection consisted of surveys completed by faculty as well as first-generation and non-first-generation students. Although first-generation and non-first-generation students did not differ significantly in their ratings of faculty’s teaching practices, the means were lower for more items among the first-generation students. Findings also indicate that greater alignment is needed between how faculty teach and what first-generation students need to succeed, most notably in the lower ratings of faculty teaching by students versus faculty themselves and the differing themes emerging from qualitative analyses of participants’ responses.