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You’re Not a Guest, You Belong Here: Transforming First-Year Seminars to Center Social Justice and First-Generation, Low-Income Students of Color

DeJesus, Bianca (2022) You’re Not a Guest, You Belong Here: Transforming First-Year Seminars to Center Social Justice and First-Generation, Low-Income Students of Color. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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There is extensive research that speaks to first-year seminars as an effective high impact practice. However, this inquiry utilized qualitative research to understand the steps needed to make first-year seminars more effective and inclusive with the integration of a social justice curriculum. Specifically, this inquiry consisted of 12 semi structured interviews with current first-year, second term students at the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. The student participants identified as either first-generation, low-income, or a student of color. The additional five interview participants were higher education professionals from the Pittsburgh region who had instructed a course with a social justice focus for undergraduate students. The instructor participants also identified as either first-generation, low-income or individuals of color. These 12 participants shared their recommendations and lived experiences to assist with answering the two inquiry questions: (1) What are the experiences of first-generation low-income students of color in the first-year seminar course at Pitt? and (2) What is the process of syllabus recreation with a focus on social justice? The results of this inquiry indicate resources embedded in the curriculum promote early exposure, racial representation matters, and the role of pedagogy is critical in a first-year seminar with a social justice focus as the key findings. While the recommendations are specific to the first year seminar in the Dietrich School at Pitt, there are elements that may prove helpful and applicable to other institutions striving to create more inclusive first year seminars.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
DeJesus, Biancabid15@pitt.edubid15
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGarcia, Ginaggarcia@pitt.eduggarcia
Committee MemberSchuster, Maximilianschustermt@pitt.eduschustermt
Committee MemberCampbell, Angeladrangelacampbell@gmail.comdrangelacampbel
Date: 6 September 2022
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 27 June 2022
Approval Date: 6 September 2022
Submission Date: 11 August 2022
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 98
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: social justice; first year students; curriculum change; first year seminars
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2022 16:11
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2022 16:11


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