Diversity & Democracy: Civic Learning for Shared Futures
Diversity Innovations Institutional Leadership and Commitment
Diversity Digest Volume 7, Number 3

Diversity Digest
Volume 7,
Number 3
(2003)

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Diversity News
Diversity and Democracy:
the Unfinished Work
Dimensions of Diversity: Legal Lessons from the Decisions
Institutional Leadership and Commitment
Longhorn Scholars and the Opportunity Scholarship Program
Bridging the Gap: The ACE Program in Arizona
Aimed for Success: Meyerhoff Scholars Program
Campus Community Involvement
UCLA’s Success in Reaching Out
Student Experience
Rallying for Affirmative Action:
A Student Perspective
Research
The Class is Half Empty: Report Supports Class-based Affirmative Action
Resources
Affirmative Action Resources

UCLA’s Success in Reaching Out to California’s Underserved Communities

By Bistra V. Bogdanova, program intern, Wellesley College, Office of Diversity, Equity, and Global Initiatives, AAC&U

AAP students at UCLA

AAP students at UCLA

Since California implemented Proposition 209 in 1997, which prohibits the use of affirmative action policies for admissions and hiring, state colleges and universities have searched for new ways to encourage students from disadvantaged backgrounds to pursue higher education. The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) has been one of the most successful in serving underrepresented populations and diversifying its campus.

For the past several years UCLA has been home to two of the most successful collaborations designed to help underrepresented students transfer from California community colleges to UCLA—the Center for Community College Partnerships (CCCP) and the Academic Advancement Program (AAP). These partnerships comprise more than a half dozen support programs, working closely together to provide the most accurate advice and adequate assistance to community college and transfer students.

CCCP and AAP seek to ensure the successful completion of an undergraduate degree at UCLA by members of underrepresented communities. To achieve this goal, the programs use two strategies: to provide academic support and to establish a welcoming environment for minority and first-generation college students as well as for those who come from low-income and immigrant families.

The programs use two strategies: to provide academic support and to establish a welcoming environment for minority and first-generation college students as well as for those who come from low-income and immigrant families.

The Center for Community College Partnerships
CCCP provides a number of different programs to promising community college students and possible transfer candidates. Among its many initiatives is the Summer Intensive Transfer Experience (SITE), a free, residential program, where approximately 300 students spend six days at the UCLA campus discussing the transfer process, completing the suitable coursework for their desired majors, and learning about financial aid and available scholarships. The staff of SITE also introduces participants to better studying and time management techniques.

CCCP’s other projects include the Transfer Alliance Program (TAP), the University of California Transfer Outreach Program (UCTOP), the Summer Immersion Program (SIP), and the Math/Science Immersion program (MSI). All of these programs utilize workshops to encourage students to challenge themselves with more difficult courses, to give them the access to a university-bound curriculum, and to persuade them to transfer to one of the UC campuses.

The Academic Advancement Program
The Academic Advancement Program provides mentoring and counseling services, as well as information on scholarships and financial aid to AAP students at the UCLA campus. One part of the program is geared specifically toward making academic help available for those students who have not had access to a university curriculum. The other component consists of two types of counseling services: 1) to help students overcome the feelings of alienation and isolation in a student body where the majority of students come from the traditional college-educated family and 2) to disseminate information about financial aid and graduate schools.
Professor Russell Schuh, a linguistics faculty member who also sits on the AAP Faculty Advisory Council explains AAP’s special role on campus, “all students need a sense of place in this mega-university [UCLA], regardless of ethnicity, and it seems to me that AAP has provided a natural focus for underrepresented students, where they could not only feel like they were in the academic enterprise with other students with whom they could identify, but also could see their peers achieving academic success.”

Among its many efforts to aid the underrepresented students, AAP has established the Transfer Alliance Program (TAP), the Transfer Summer Program (TSP), and PLUS—a TRIO Student Support Services program for first-generation, low-income students. AAP has also sponsored the annual TAP Conference: a daylong event at UCLA, where prospective transfer students meet with faculty and staff from UCLA as well as from community colleges to discuss and prepare for a successful transfer process.

Once at UCLA, the transfer students are welcomed by AAP’s Transfer Student Center, which provides a support network and creates a transfer student community. The main purpose of the center is to make transfer students at home in order to facilitate academic and social integration and to augment their success. Among the many avenues of encouragement is the Transfer Student Center dinner and the achievement recognition banquet.

These motivational strategies demonstrate AAP’s commitment to ensuring a successful transfer process and a positive educational experience for all students. It seeks to make the transfer process more than just simple acceptance to a student’s college of choice. The success of the process is also measured by the adjustment the student is able to make in both academics and social interactions.

Collaborations like the AAP and the CCCP provide necessary guidance and support to give every student an equal opportunity at attaining a higher-level education. They are in place not only to provide guidance to the underrepresented population of the student body, but also to make different options visible to the students.

Additional Resources for California Transfer Students
Along with AAP and CCCP, the UCLA’s transfer admission Web site provides valuable information about criteria for admission and successful transferring. The site is updated for each school year and lists all of the requirements that a transfer candidate will need to fulfill before his or her transfer process begins. The site can be accessed at www.admissions.ucla.edu/ Prospect/Adm_tr/tradms.htm.

Another well of vital information for the transfer candidate in California is the ASSIST database, www.assist.org. It is collaboration between the University of California (UC), California State University (CSU), and California’s community colleges. ASSIST is California’s most accurate source of information about transferable courses from a community college to UC or CSU. The database answers many of the questions a transfer candidate may have and it guides the prospective transfer student through the initial steps of the transfer process.

UCLA’s attempt to reach out to underrepresented students reaches the far corners of the educational system in California. Its success comes not only from the efforts to provide a higher education for underserved communities, but also in the benefits that a culturally enriched education offers to all. In a diverse student body, students from all walks of life benefit and learn to adapt to a constantly changing world. These university partnerships contribute to the enrichment of the whole student body at UCLA by broadening students’ cultural, moral, and ethical values. As AAP director Adolfo Bermeo explains, “AAP is living proof that thousands of people of different races and ethnicities are able to experience their differences, come together as a community, and successfully achieve their individual goals. It is from such a community that a new leadership, one sensitive to the needs of all peoples, can emerge to build a society that will provide education, employment, decent housing, and guaranteed medical care for all.”

For more information about UCLA’s transfer programs see www.college.ucla.edu/up.

Questions, comments, and suggestions regarding Diversity & Democracy should be directed to Kathryn Peltier Campbell at campbell@aacu.org.
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