To read this content please select one of the options below:

Tapping into the assets of first-generation students during times of transition

Africa S. Hands (Department of Interdisciplinary Professions, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA)

Information and Learning Sciences

ISSN: 2398-5348

Article publication date: 10 June 2020

Issue publication date: 10 August 2020




This paper aims to present research on the assets of first-generation college students and offer asset-based practices that can be implemented to support students during emergency transitions.


This paper reviews the literature related to first-generation college students and cultural wealth and then details practices for implementation by librarians working to enhance the transition to online learning for this student group.


The author identified in the literature six assets of first-generation college students: reflexivity, optimism, academic resilience, goal-orientation, civic-mindedness and proactivity. These assets coupled with Yosso’s concept of community cultural wealth provide a frame of reference for examining and implementing services and programs to enhance the educational experience of first-generation college students during emergency transitions.


Whereas existing literature on first-generation college students assumes a deficit lens, this paper puts forth the cultural assets of this population that may be leveraged by librarians. Student assets are positioned alongside forms of capital that also may be utilized to guide the work of librarians.



The author expresses thanks to the reviewer for their comments and suggestions on this manuscript.

This article is part of the special issue, “A Response to Emergency Transitions to Remote Online Education in K-12 and Higher Education” which contains shorter, rapid-turnaround invited works, not subject to double blind peer review. The issue was called, managed and produced on short timeline in Summer 2020 towards pragmatic instructional application in the Fall 2020 semester.


Hands, A.S. (2020), "Tapping into the assets of first-generation students during times of transition", Information and Learning Sciences, Vol. 121 No. 7/8, pp. 611-618.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles