CVHEC 2022 Mini Grant funds FPU Tri-Alpha Honor Society for
first-generation students; grant application period now open
NOTE: For the past three years, Central Valley Higher Education Consortium Mini-Grants have been awarded to member institutions in support of CVHEC’s mission to increase degree attainment rates. We are highlighting how our member institutions’ innovative uses for the grants are positively impacting students. Applications for the 2023 cycle are available.
A Central Valley Higher Education Consortium Mini-Grant awarded to member Fresno Pacific University earlier this year has provided the foundation to establish a local chapter of the Alpha Alpha Alpha Honor Society (Tri-Alpha ) that recognizes and engages first-generation college students.
The $6,477 grant funded by the College Futures Foundation enabled the FPU’s new Zeta Sigma chapter of Tri-Alpha to cover student membership fees; hold two induction ceremonies in the 2022-23 academic year that invited members’ families; and host monthly meetings for chapter members by covering speaker honoria and refreshments.
Another element of the FPU proposal includes creating undergraduate research fellowships that will allow the university to provide stipends for students and faculty conducting research together.
“The research, in each researcher’s field of study, will be used to inform future first-generation student services on campus,” said adviser Sarah Micu, FPU Student Success and Equity coordinator.
CVHEC’s Mini-Grant funding also enabled Micu and new chapter adviser, Brianna Martinez, to attend NASPA’s First-Generation Student Success conference in June.
“The conference was great to network with other universities and generate more ideas on how to serve first-generation students at Fresno Pacific University,” Micu reported. “We are excited to continue planning and serving our students!”
Established last fall, FPU’s Zeta Sigma chapter inducted its first group of 63 students, eight faculty and five staff members Nov. 8, (National First-Gen Celebration Day) 2022 at the main campus located in Southeast Fresno. In the spring, another 46 students, seven staff and one faculty member were inducted on April 17, 2023.).
Tri-Alpha — founded March 24, 2018, at Moravian College (now Moravian University) in Bethlehem, PA with more than 130 chapters in 35 states today — defines first generation student as: “neither of the student’s parents, nor stepparents, nor legal guardians, completed a bachelor’s degree (or, for students at a community college, the parents did not complete an associate’s degree).”
Members must also have 30 semester credits and a 3.2 GPA or above.
This society includes faculty and staff who were first-generation students to facilitate relationships/mentorship for members who might otherwise feel alone on their college journey.
Micu said an honor society recognizing first-generation scholars is a natural fit for FPU, where 49 percent of students are the first in their families to attend college or university.
“These students graduate at the same rate as continuing-generation students,” Micu said. “CVHEC funding is helping us build a more robust program for our chapter of the Alpha Alpha Alpha honor society.”
The CVHEC Mini-Grants project provides awards from $5,000 to $7,500 each which faculty from member institutions have creatively used for individual projects that help achieve the consortium’s strategy of increasing degree attainment rates.
Previous Mini-Grants have supported assistance and professional learning associated with Guided Pathways; Math Pathways; implementation of Corequisite English and math; course development; and advancement of Pathways for Associate Degrees for Transfer.
The grants may also incentivize basic needs and equity, race and social justice work
“We commend CVHEC member FPU for expertly using our Mini-Grant funding to achieve its equity framework by supporting first generation students through these valuable Tri Alpha activities,” said Dr. Benjamín Durán, CVHEC executive director.
Mini-Grant Applications Available
Applications for the next Central Valley Higher Education Consortium 2023 Mini-Grant cycle are now being accepted and will continue until funds are allocated. Member institutions are encouraged to apply soon to allow enough time for project completion before the expenditure deadline, said Angel Ramírez, CVHEC operations & finance manager.
Once funds are allocated, grantees have until November 30, 2022 to finalize expenditures.
Fresno Pacific University: Wayne Steffen, firstname.lastname@example.org (559.453.3677)
CVHEC: Tom Uribes, email@example.com (559.348.3278)
Fresno Pacific University story about FPU’s Tri-Alpha Honor Society by Wayne Steffen,
associate director of FPU Publications and Media Relations.
Previous CVHEC Mini-Grants success stories:
- Textbook Award Program Supports Brandman Students in Pandemic Era
- Modesto Jr. College’s Faculty Mentor Plan Supports AB705
- Reedley College’s Motivational Poster Project
- COS Equitable Teaching Institute Supports Faculty Learning
- CHSU Pre-Med Pathway Bootcamp