Mission Statement

Umoja, (a Kiswahili word meaning unity) is a community and critical resource dedicated to enhancing the cultural and educational experiences of African American and other students. We believe that when the voices and histories of students are deliberately and intentionally recognized, the opportunity for self-efficacy emerges and a foundation is formed for academic success. Umoja actively serves and promotes student success for all students through a curriculum and pedagogy responsive to the legacy of the African and African American Diasporas.

Organizing Principles

Our community:

  1. shares a name with a core set of pedagogies and promising practices;
  2. supports the academic success of all students
  3. supports the persistence and retention of all students toward defined educational goals: transfer, certificate, associate degree;
  4. integrates both instructional and student services;
  5. integrates direct instruction of information and technology literacy;
  6. integrates sound assessment strategies and a set of core benchmark measures;
  7. includes recruitment and regular training of students, staff and faculty through seminars, conferences, and other professional development;
  8. facilitates the sharing of resources: financial, curriculum, methodologies, pedagogies, materials, and contacts;
  9. commits to collaborating with campuses at a local level so that there is integration of the core Umoja community with the particular college mission, goals, strategic plan and student equity efforts.


Educational Philosophy

Umoja is a community of educators and learners committed to the academic success, personal growth and self-actualization of African American and other students. The Umoja Community seeks to educate the whole student–body, mind and spirit. Informed by an ethic of love and its vital power, the Umoja Community will deliberately engage students as full participants in the construction of knowledge and critical thought. The Umoja Community seeks to help students experience themselves as valuable and worthy of an education.

The Umoja Community gains meaning through its connection to the African Diaspora. African and African American intellectual, cultural, and spiritual gifts inform Umoja Community values and practices. The Umoja Community seeks to nurture knowledge of and pride in these treasures. The learning experience within the Umoja Community will provide each individual the opportunity to add their voice and their story to the collective voices and stories of the African Diaspora.

African American students are inextricably connected to global struggles for liberation throughout the African Diaspora. In light of this, the Umoja Community views education as a liberatory act designed to empower all students to critique, engage, and transform deleterious social and institutional practices locally and globally. The Umoja Community will practice and foster civic engagement so that all its participants integrate learning and service. Likewise, the Umoja Community will instill in our students the knowledge and skills necessary to enable them to make positive differences in their lives and the lives of others.


Background and History

The Umoja Community movement began at the Umoja I conference held at Diablo Valley College in October of 2006. In March 2007 a follow-up conference, Umoja II, was held at Chaffey College in southern California. At that time there were fifteen identifiable programs in the California Community College system using culturally relevant African American student success practices. Some of these programs were longstanding and some were relatively new. In the summer of 2007 a Steering Committee of twenty-three faculty, administrators and classified volunteers came together and began to intensively collect, research and organize information from eleven of these colleges in order to develop a statewide model program. A leadership team of five of the program coordinators was also formed to further the development of a statewide program. The original twenty-three member Steering Committee also had as their goal to become an expansive curriculum/professional development resource for community colleges wishing to better serve underachieving African American students. The leadership team and the Committee logged thousands of hours working together, largely on a volunteer basis, connecting with partners and working across the state to research, develop, pilot and gain recognition for a statewide core program and resource focused on culturally responsive curriculum and practices effective for African American students.

The Umoja Community Consortium was also conceived and established by the original twenty-three member Steering Committee for the purpose of creating a way for colleges and districts to support the Umoja movement via a financial contribution. It was also envisioned at the time that the CEO’s of those institutions would serve as an advisory board to assist with program implementation. The membership fee to join the Consortium was set at $1000 annually and the Foundation for California Community College was selected to serve as the fiscal agent for the Umoja Community.

Upon developing the core program model and the process for implementation of new programs through pilot colleges, Umoja III was held in October 2007 and the Steering Committee accepted applications for additional colleges that were interested in developing pilot programs. Twenty colleges completed applications to work with the Committee as pilot colleges. After scoring the applications based on institutional readiness to start a program, the Committee chose four pilot colleges—San Diego City College, San Bernardino Valley College, West Los Angeles College and Long Beach City College. Each of these colleges signed MOUs, completed extensive self assessments and shared all of their college planning documents. Each college was visited twice during the 2007-2008 academic year by an Umoja Community team who met with the president, program administrators as well as staff and students to collect information, ask questions related to program feasibility, rationale and sustainability, establish short term and long term goals, and establish working relationships with the college Umoja team. Between site visits the Umoja Community teams maintained regular communication with the local college teams. The Umoja Community team also wrote and submitted very detailed site visit reports to each college that included critical recommendations on program design and implementation. The pilot college program highlighted and underscored the need for colleges to have additional training to meet the needs of their students as envisioned by the original twenty-three member Steering Committee. As a result, an intensive five day training, the Summer Learning Institute (SLI), was conceived and developed to train faculty and staff on Umoja best practices, curriculum and program design. The first SLI was held in July of 2008.

In addition to the four pilot colleges, the Committee invited four other colleges to attend the 2008 Summer Learning Institute. The four colleges, which the Committee developed close working relationships with, demonstrated a high level of institutional readiness to launch an Umoja Community program in the fall of 2008. These colleges were De Anza College, Los Medanos College, Sierra College and Napa Valley College. Each of these colleges were pilot colleges during the 2008-09 academic year. The 2008 weeklong Summer Learning Institute was a substantial and profound training experience. The Committee provided a wide array of training sessions on pedagogy, finances, learningcommunity design, and team building.

During 2007 and 2008 the original twenty-three member Umoja Community Steering Committee also worked diligently to strategically cultivate name recognition and partnerships by presenting at the annual conferences of various statewide CCC associations and/or committees including: the Community College League, the Chief Instructional Officers and Chief Student Services Officers Joint Conference, the Basic Skills Initiative (BSI) Professional Development committee, the College Board, the Equity and Diversity Taskforce, the Statewide CCC Academic Senate, and the Tillery Institute. The presentations ranged from simple overviews of the Umoja Community program model to discussions of effective pedagogy with high-risk students, to inquiries into equity in the community college system, and to strategies for integrating student services and instruction. Each presentation lead to more colleges wanting to join the Umoja Community movement.

On January 14, 2008 the Umoja Community leadership team presented the Umoja Community model to the California Community College Board of Governors (CCCBOG) and the Umoja Community was officially recognized by the Board of Governors as a legitimate statewide student success program. The leadership team was asked to return for a follow up presentation in July 2008 to provide a status report on the progress of the Umoja Community movement. At that meeting the CCCBOG prompted the Committee to work with the California Community College System Office to write a Budget Change Proposal to request minimal State funding to sustain the work of the Committee and ultimately to build Umoja into a statewide program. That proposal was adopted by the Board of Governors as a component of the System’s budget request for the 2009-10 fiscal year. Unfortunately, due to the economic status of the State, funding has not yet materialized.

The original twenty-three member Steering Committee also developed key partnerships with community-based organizations and other CCC programs. California Tomorrow (CT) supported the Committee’s work by, providing a facilitator for the initial summer retreat in 2007 where the Umoja philosophy, principles, documents and core program design were crafted. California Tomorrow provided planning and assessment tools, a mailing address and professional consultation on program direction and evolution, and sent a representative to attend the 2008 Summer Learning Institute. The California African American Alliance of Educators (CAAAE) hosted Umoja Community presentations at its conferences, provided key contacts with the K-12 system, and advised the Committee on funding strategies. The Digital Bridge Academy (formerly ACE) also acted as a partner in serving at-risk non college bound students by attending Umoja Community regional symposia, hosting the Umoja leadership team at its summer training sessions, collaborating on two joint publications concerning model student success programs, sharing curriculum and strategizing on program scalability.

The Committee also cultivated a partnership with Leadership Excellence, Incorporated, (LE, Inc), a nonprofit organization based in Oakland, CA, that works with at-risk youth in Oakland and had a desire to branch into community colleges. Leadership Excellence facilitated the first day of the 2008 Summer Learning Institute by providing a simulated experience of the Middle Passage (African Holocaust). Umoja Community representatives have also participated in the California Community College system Basic Skills Initiative Professional Development Regional Workshops and one of the Steering Committee leaders, Dr. Donna Colondres of Chaffey College, served as one of the statewide Student Services Project Coordinators.

Upon recognizing the need to have a more formal platform to advance the work of the Umoja Community, the leadership team formulated plans to transform the Steering Committee into a Governing Board. Bylaws were written and the Umoja Community Governing Board was established in the spring of 2009. In June of 2010, incorporation papers were filed with the California Secretary of State and the organization formally became the Umoja Community of California Community Colleges, Incorporated.

The Umoja Community continues to serve as a critical resource to existing programs as well as to colleges preparing to launch Umoja programs via the Summer Learning Institute. In addition, an annual conference is held each fall and regional symposia are held in northern and southern California each spring. These professional development opportunities are the means through which Umoja pedagogy, practices and philosophy are shared.

Finally, the System Office for the California Community Colleges provides support in the form of strategic guidance, staff time to edit funding proposals and advocacy from the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor of Student Services and Special Programs Division in supporting the program among various organizations. In addition, the Systems Office developed a special population data element which collects data on all Umoja Community programs.


Statement of Problem

California Community Colleges (CCC) are the main gateway to higher education, and CCC students make up 64% of all undergraduates in the state of California (California Tomorrow, 2008). Since CCCs are the most affordable option for higher education in California, they also serve the neediest students with the greatest socio-economic disadvantage. The system has the highest proportion of students from the lowest income group in the nation. Seventy-five percent of all first-time Latino, African American and Native American college students get their start in California community colleges. Sixty-five percent of students are students of color in the CCC system, the highest proportion in the country (California Tomorrow, 2008). These students come to the CCC the least academically prepared. A query of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction data quest reveals that the 2011 Academic Performance Index (API) of African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Hispanic/Latino and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander students is significantly lower than the API for white, Asian and Filipino students at every level: elementary, middle, and high school. A closer examination of this data finds that African American students are at the bottom across all grade levels for any ethnic group and income level.

African American, Latino, Native American and Pacific Islander students are theoretically on par with white and Asian students when it comes to gaining access to the community college system. However once African American students are in the system, their outlook for academic success is dismal. A research query of the California Community Colleges Management Information Systems Data Mart reveals that African American students consistently earn lower grade point averages, have lower rates of success in their courses, and persistence from term to term is lower as compared to all other ethnic groups.

African American student success rates in basic skills courses mimic the same trends as other academic success indicators for this population. Although African American students comprise 7.49% of the total unduplicated headcount for the California Community College system they make up 17.6% of the total enrollment in Credit and Non-credit Basic Skills courses (Board of Governors, California Community Colleges, 2011). The chart below shows course success rates for basic skills courses one level below transfer and two levels below transfer for both English and math in the 2010-2011academic year. In both scenarios, African American students have markedly lower success rates than their Asian and white counterparts (Board of Governors, California Community Colleges, 2012).


California Community College

Basic Skills Course Success Rates in 2010-2011


English Basic Skills

Math Basic Skills

One Level Below Transfer

Two Levels Below Transfer

One Level Below Transfer

Two Levels Below Transfer
















Success is defined as having an enrollment grade of A, B, C or P.


The problem of dismal academic performance has become more important to address as a result of California’s Great Recession which has resulted in fewer classes and cutbacks in other resources designed to support student success. Also, as of July 1, 2012 students new to college must have a high school diploma or successfully complete the GED in order to qualify for federal financial aid. Thus, fewer course offerings and limited financial resources are nudging out many African American and other marginalized students.

Researchers have identified several factors that contribute to the lack of academic success of African American students within the United States. Much of the research points to specific issues within the academic institution that remain largely unexamined and unaddressed by college administrators and faculty. Low teacher expectations, negative teacher perceptions, and minority stereotyping lead directly to feelings of alienation and abandonment in the classroom for African American students (Lee, 2004; Steele, 1999). Other research points to the lack of an early intervention program within the first few weeks of the semester as a factor of underachievement (Fenske, et. al. 1997).


Evidence of Success

Many Umoja Community programs have demonstrated their effectiveness in improving the retention and success of African American students. The chart below provides student success data on several programs. When compared to African American students who do participate in an Umoja community, Umoja students:

  • are 25% more likely to remain in community college;
  • have a higher grade point average;
  • and, are more likely to pass basic skills courses and be ready for transfer-level work in a shorter time frame




Allen, B. A., & Boykin, A. W. (1992). African American children and the educational process: Alleviating cultural discontinuity through prescriptive pedagogy. School Psychology Review, 21(4), 586-596.

Board of Governors, California Community Colleges. (2008). Report on the System’s Current Programs in English as a Second Language (ESL) and Basic Skills. Sacramento, CA: Chancellor’s Office, California Community Colleges.

California Tomorrow (April, 2008). Access & Equity Factsheet. Oakland, CA: California Tomorrow.

California Tomorrow (October, 2010). California’s Prospects: Reclaiming the Promise of Access and Equity in California’s Community Colleges. Oakland, CA: California Tomorrow

California Tomorrow (March 2010). California Community Colleges Access & Equity Issue Brief: How the Great Recession is Creating a Crisis of Equal Opportunity in California’s Community Colleges. Oakland, CA: California Tomorrow.

Engstrom, C. and Tinto, V. (2007). Pathways to student success: The impact of learning communities on the success of academically under-prepared college students. New York: Syracuse University.

Fenske, Robert, Gerianos, Christine, Keller Jonathan, & Moore, David. (1997). Early intervention programs: Opening the door to higher education. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No 6. Washington, D.C.: The George Washington University, School of Education and Human Development. ED 412 863.

Gay, G. (2000). Culturally Responsive Teaching: Theory, Research, and Practice. New York: Teachers College Press.

Gay, G. (2002). Preparing for culturally responsive teaching. Journal of Teacher Education, 53(2), 106-116.

Gollnick, D. M., & Chinn, P. C. (2002). Multicultural education in a pluralistic society (6th ed.). New York: Merrill.

Jenkins, D. (2006). What community college management practices are effective in promoting student success? A study of high- and low-impact institutions. New York: Community College Research Center Teachers College, Columbia University. http://ccrc.tc.columbia.edu/DefaultFiles/SendFileToPublic.asp?ft=pdf&FilePath=c:\Websites\ccrc_tc_columbia_edu_documents\332_419.pdf&fid=332_419&aid=47&RID=419&pf=Publication.asp?UID=419

Ladson-Billings, G. (1994). The dreamkeepers: Successful teachers of African American children. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Lee, S.J. (2004) Up against whiteness: Students of color in our schools. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 35(1), 121-125.

Shulock, N. and Moore, C. (2007) Beyond the open door. Sacramento, CA: California State University, Sacramento

Steele, C.M. (1999). Thin ice: “Stereotype threat” and black college students. The Atlantic Monthly, 284(2), 44-54.

Superintendent Jack O’Connell’s California P-16 Council. (2008). Closing the achievement gap. Sacramento, CA: California State Department of Education.

Thompson, G. (2007). Through ebony eyes: What teachers need to know but are afraid to ask about African American students, San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass


Umoja Community Design

Colleges interested in adopting the Umoja Community model will strive to implement a Learning Community and/or Cohort of students. The Umoja Community model is intentionally flexible both in order to accommodate variations at the local level and to allow colleges to grow their own expression of the Umoja Community over time.


Learning Community Model

(Umoja students taking two or more linked classes)

  • Guidance/Counseling Courses (1st & 2nd semester)
  • English Course
  • Math Course
  • Library Information Literacy Course
  • Other course with African American Emphasis


Cohort Model

(Umoja students enrolled in classes within the general population)

  • Guidance/Counseling Courses (1st & 2nd semester)
  • Other identified course(s) with African American emphasis


Other Program Options

  • Mentoring Program (staff/community mentors)
  • Peer Mentoring
  • Tutoring/Supplemental Instruction
  • Service Learning


Note: Students are required to participate in the Guidance courses and will be encouraged to participate in other courses as determined by their local college program. There will be continued service to a student who meets the minimum requirements until that student reaches their educational goal.


Umoja Community Basic Components

The following list reflects all components currently in existence. Each component should serve as a guide to assist local colleges in implementing the Umoja Community model. These components make up a comprehensive program and statewide resource that will be accountable and sustainable over time. The Umoja Community Founding Steering committee intentionally designed these components to enable campus based Umoja communities to grow, learn and develop over time.


Umoja Village

The Umoja Village is a component that requires colleges to seek out a dedicated space where students feel welcomed. It is a space designed by students and staff that nurtures academic success. The Umoja Village should provide opportunities to increase exposure to historical and cultural experiences from the African Diaspora. The Umoja Village is also a place for the expression and celebration of students’ voices. Another purpose of the Umoja Village is to intentionally cultivate relationships within the broader institution to help support students succeed beyond the classroom. Deep thought, conversation and critical thinking should abound in this space.


Student Component

  • Complete application/intake form
  • Complete mandatory orientation
  • Enroll in Guidance/Counseling courses
  • Participate in diagnostic assessment
  • Address basic skills needs necessary for success in college-level work
  • Develop/update comprehensive Student Educational Plan
  • Meet with a counselor twice per semester
  • Participate in core Umoja sponsored program activities


Instructional Component

  • College Guidance Courses
  • English Reading and Writing Courses
  • Mathematics Courses
  • Library Information Literacy Courses
  • African\African American-Centered Courses
  • Accelerated Courses
  • Supplemental Instruction


Support Services Component

  • Orientation
  • Financial Aid/Scholarships
  • Academic Support
  • Cultural Activities
  • Mentoring
  • Tutoring
  • Counseling Services (Intrusive Counseling)
  • Workshops
  • Field Trips
  • Incentives
  • Student Club/Organization
  • Social Media/Networking


Administrative Component

  • Budget (based on formulas)
  • Cost per Full Time Equivalent Student(FTES)
  • Staffing (based on formulas)
  • Coordination Duties
  • Outreach/Recruitment
  • Research
  • Student Learning Outcomes (SLO’s) and Assessment


Statewide Organizational Component

  • Professional Development (Annual Conference; Trainings; Regional Symposia)
  • Pedagogical Practices (Umoja Practices)
  • Memorandum of Understanding(MOU)
  • Umoja Program Site Visits
  • Umoja Community Governing Board
  • Umoja Community Executive Committee
  • Umoja Community Advisory Committee
  • Transfer Agreements with Historically Black Colleges and Universities
  • Mentor Guidelines
  • Funding Strategies



Umoja Community’s Links to Basic Skills Initiative

Currently, African American students are disproportionately represented in basic skills courses when compared to white students. The Umoja Community addresses most, if not all, of the effective practices highlighted in the 2007 Basic Skills as a Foundation for Students Success in the California Community Colleges. The Umoja Community program components that link directly to effective practices outlined in the report are as follows:


  • Umoja is based on a clearly articulated mission and purpose which includes overarching values and beliefs. (A.2)
  • Umoja is highly centralized and coordinated. (A.5)
  • Umoja facilitates and supports student completion of coursework as early as possible within the educational sequence. (A.4)
  • Umoja includes a comprehensive system of support services with a high degree of integration among academic and support services. (A.5)
  • Umoja consistsof faculty and advisors who are both knowledgeable and enthusiastic about developmental education and the academic success of African American students. (A.6)
  • Umoja includes a mandatory orientation, assessment, and course placement. (B.1)
  • Umoja includes regular program evaluations and the use of data as mechanisms to improve practices.(B.2)
  • Umoja provides counseling support which is substantial, accessible, and highly integrated into academic courses. (B.3)
  • Umoja disseminates financial aid information to support all of their students. (B.4)
  • Umoja encourages and supports faculty development. The improvement of teaching and learning is connected to the program goals. (C.1-5)
  • Umoja instructional practices are intentionally designed to address the holistic development of all aspects of their students. (D.3)
  • Umoja is fundamentally based on culturally responsive teaching. (D.4)
  • Umoja includes a high degree of structure within the educational courses. (D.5)
  • Umoja employs a variety of instructional methods to meet the needs of African American students. (D.6)


  • Umoja aligns student entry skill level and course content to college-level performance requirements. (D.7)
  • Umoja involves instructional strategies that are shared between participating faculty. (D.8)
  • Umoja faculty and advisors closely monitor student performance and student progress. (D.9)
  • Umoja has in place comprehensive academic support mechanisms that include: trained tutoring, counseling, academic success workshops, and learning style assessments. (D.10)


Umoja Community’s Alignment with Student Success Task Force Recommendations

In “Advancing Student Success in the California Community Colleges,” the Student Success Task Force asserts that “improving overall completion rates and closing achievement gaps among historically underrepresented students are co-equal goals.” Umoja Community practices align with the Student Success Task Force’s fundamental recommendations. Below are the Task Force recommendations followed by the corresponding Umoja practices.

SSTF Recommendation 1.1: Collaborate with K-12 education to jointly develop new common standards for college and career readiness that are aligned with high school exit standards.

Umoja Practice: Continue to build k-12 alliances with underserved populations of students to build a bridge of hope and success. Students will take College Guidance courses and other college preparatory courses to prepare to enter local Umoja Programs in the community college system.

SSTF Recommendation 2.2: Require all incoming community college students to: (1) participate in diagnostic assessment and orientation and (2) develop an education plan.

Umoja Practice: Umoja Community students are required to take the college assessments; complete a program application/intake form; complete a mandatory program orientation; enroll in a guidance/college success course; complete a comprehensive student educational plan; meet with a counselor twice per semester; participate in core Umoja-sponsored program activities; complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and Board of Governors Fee Waiver (BOGW) application.

SSTF Recommendation 2.4: Require students whose diagnostic assessments show a lack of readiness for college to participate in support resources, such as a student success course, learning community, or other sustained intervention, provided by the college for new students.

Umoja Practice: Umoja Community students participate in either a learning community or cohort model program that provides support services and appropriate intervention strategies. A college guidance or college success course serves as the anchor course for either program design. In addition, students are provided counseling services throughout their time on campus until they reach their educational goal.

SSTF Recommendation 2.5: Encourage students to declare a program of study upon admission, intervene if a declaration is not made by the end of their second term, and require declaration by the end of their third term in order to maintain enrollment priority.

Umoja Practice: Umoja Community students are required to complete and update a comprehensive student educational plan and are required to meet with a counselor twice per semester. Students declare a program of study at the initial counseling appointment and are provided follow-up counseling until they reach their educational goal.

SSTF Recommendation 3.4: Community colleges will require students to begin addressing basic skills needs in their first year and will provide resources and options for them to attain the competencies needed to succeed in college-level work as part of their education plan.

Umoja Practice: Umoja Community programs require students to complete their campus diagnostic assessments for placement recommendations into appropriate basic skills courses. Umoja Community programs with learning community models that include English and/or Math components immediately enroll students into the appropriate basic skills courses.

SSTF Recommendation 5.1: Community colleges will support the development of alternatives to traditional basic skills curriculum and incentivize colleges to take to scale successful model programs for delivering basic skills instruction.

Umoja Practice: Umoja Community programs are designed to address the needs of the student at the local level. Umoja Community programs provide mandatory tutoring, study hall sessions, an early alert warning system, mid-term progress reports; university and college tours; peer mentoring, cultural enrichment activities, student leadership development; service learning, mentoring, supplemental instruction, culturally-responsive curriculum and pedagogy to close the equity gap. Umoja provides students access to computer resources and incorporates social media to facilitate outreach and in-reach to new or continuing students. Several Umoja Community programs use accelerated basic skills models which significantly decrease the number of units and courses students must complete to reach transfer level work. These Umoja Community accelerated pathways demonstrate dramatic increase in students successfully completing transfer level math and English.

SSTF Recommendation 6.1: Community colleges will create a continuum of strategic professional development opportunities, for all faculty, staff, and administrators to be better prepared to respond to the evolving student needs and measures of student success.

Umoja Practice: Umoja Community provides annual professional development opportunities for faculty, staff and students including regional symposia, campus site visits, a week-long Summer Learning Institute and an annual conference.

SSTF Recommendation 6.2: Community Colleges will direct professional development resources for both faculty and staff toward improving basic skills instruction and support services.

Umoja Practice: Umoja Community provides regional workshops and trainings for faculty and staff in the Basic Skills Initiative. Umoja Community programs are directed to Basic Skills funding sources.

SSTF Recommendation 7.3: Implement a student success scorecard.

Umoja Practice: Umoja Community programs are given a special populations MIS data element which captures statewide data by individual programs on all of the matrixes suggested in the student success score card. Umoja Community programs are required to update their metric every year. Umoja Community programs already demonstrate better success rates along those matrixes as compared to African American students not in an Umoja Community program.


Umoja Consortium Members

Fiscal Period 2011-12

  •  American River College
  • Chabot – Las Positas Community College District
  • Chaffey College
  • College of Alameda
  • Cosumnes River College
  • Contra Costa College
  • De Anza College
  • Diablo Valley College
  • El Camino College
  • Fisk University
  • Fresno City College
  • Fullerton College
  • Long Beach City College
  • Los Medanos College
  • Los Angeles Community College District
  • Marin Community College District
  • MiraCosta College
  • Moreno Valley College
  • Mt. San Antonio College
  • Napa Valley College
  • Norco College
  • Pasadena City College
  • Riverside Community College District
  • San Bernardino Valley College
  • San Diego City College
  • San Diego Mesa College
  • San Jose City College
  • Santa Monica College
  • Sierra College
  • Skyline College
  • Solano Community College


Umoja Governing Board Members 2010-2012

  • Dr. Teresa Aldredge, Cosumnes River College
  • Dr. Erin Charlens, San Diego City College
  • David Coleman, De Anza College
  • Dr. Donna Colondres, Chaffey College
  • Tom deWit, Chabot College
  • Carla Epting-Davis, Sierra College
  • Jeri Marshall, American River College
  • Dr. Judy Mays, American River College
  • Dr. Jennifer Mendoza, San Mateo College
  • Dr. A’kilah Moore, Los Medanos College
  • Elaine Moore, El Camino College
  • Clyde Phillips, Orange Coast College
  • Dr. Matthew Powell, Diablo Valley College


Umoja Community Founding Steering Committee

  • Dr. Teresa Aldredge (Cosumnes River College)
  • Caritha Anderson (Evergreen Valley College)
  • Debbie Anthony (Monterey Peninsula College)
  • Keith Aytch (Evergreen Valley College)
  • Brenda Bias (College of Alameda)
  • Jackie Boboye (Chaffey College)
  • Dr. Edward Bush (Riverside Community College)
  • Kendra Cabrera (Monterey Peninsula College)
  • Dr. Donna Colondres (Chaffey College)
  • Tom deWit, Chabot College
  • Terence Elliott (Contra Costa College)
  • Lisa Fitch (Los Angeles City College)
  • kyzyl fenno-smith (CSU East Bay)
  • Dr. Wanda Fulbright-Dennis (Mt San Antonio College)
  • Debbie Green (College of Alameda)
  • Jeri Marshall (American River College)
  • Denise Marshall-Mills (Cosumnes River College)
  • Dr. Judy Mays (American River College)
  • Elaine Moore (El Camino College)
  • kim morrison (Chabot College)
  • Clyde Phillips (Orange Coast College)
  • Dr. Matthew Powell (Diablo Valley College)
  • Gerri Scott (Sacramento City College)
  • Antoine Thomas (Mt. San Antonio College)
  • Dr. Cindy Vyskocil (Fullerton College)
  • Barbara Worthington (Chabot College)


Umoja Community Founding Consortium Leaders

  • Dr. Helen Benjamin, Chancellor, Contra Costa Community College District
  • Dr. Susan Cota, Chancellor emeritus, Chabot-Las Positas Community College District
  • Dr. Jerome Hunter, Chancellor emeritus, North Orange Community College District
  • Dr. Joel Kinnamon, past Chancellor, Chabot-Las Positas Community College District


Joining the Consortium

Chancellors and presidents from across California Community Colleges act as a consortium to actively advise the Umoja Governing Board on program implementation and provide critical feedback and support in promoting Umoja, and generate ideas for securing additional program funding.

Colleges wishing to join the Umoja Community may send a check for $1000 made payable to the Foundation for California Community Colleges and mail it to the address below. The Foundation for California Community Colleges, a California nonprofit corporation, tax exempt under Internal Revenue Code Section 501c (3) has supported the efforts of the Umoja Community from its inception. For more information on joining the consortium contact, please contact:

Simon Lee, Senior Accountant, Foundation for California Community Colleges

1102 Q Street, Suite 3500, Sacramento, CA 95811, 916.325.0119




Umoja Consortium

Members as of 4/08

Joel Kinnamon, Chancellor
Chabot-Las Positas CCD

Henry Shannon, President
Chaffey College

Michael J. Viera, President
Citrus College

Cecilia Cervantes, President
College of Alameda

Francisco Rodriquez, President
Cosumnes River College

Helen Benjamin, Chancellor
Contra Costa CCD

Judy Walters, President
Diablo Valley College

Thomas Fallo, President
El Camino College

David Wain Coon, President
Evergreen Valley College

Ned Doffoney, President
Fresno City College

 Mark Drummond, Chancellor
Los Angeles CCD

Peter Garcia, President
Los Medanos College

John S. Nixon, President
Mt. San Antonio College

Christopher McCarthy, President
Napa Valley College

Jerome Hunter, Chancellor
North Orange County CCD

Paulette J. Perfumo, President
Pasadena City College

Debra Daniels, President
San Bernardino Valley College

Michael L. Burke, President
San Jose City College

Mark Rocha, President
West Los Angeles College

For Immediate News Release Contact:
Lisa Fitch
March 7, 2008 323.953.400 ext. 2375


Community Colleges Board of Governors

Supports New Student Success Program

During its January 14 – 15 meeting, the California Community Colleges Board of Governors passed a resolution supporting the expansion of the Umoja Community, a grassroots,faculty volunteer-driven effort to improve the success and retention of African American and other students.

After a presentation from Umoja Community steering committee members and during discussion, the board noted that community colleges have access to Basic Skills money, state funds meant for just such projects.

“I move that this board go on the record as authenticating and endorsing Umoja,” said Board Member Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. “I don’t want it to be a stepchild.”

Student Reginald James gave the Board a personal testimony of his trials and tribulations without the benefits of such a program at College of Alameda, which lead to his first dropping out. Then, he praised the campus connections that have made a difference in his current educational career.

African-American themed success programs are open to all students, but there are just a few – only 15 of the 109 California Community Colleges that have such programs that teach basic skills and enhance the cultural experiences of students.

The Umoja Community (Umoja is a Kiswahili word meaning unity) will bring together various African American student success programs throughout the state and unify them with a common purpose, curriculum and pedagogy responsive to the legacy of the African Diaspora. The California Community Colleges is the largest higher educational system in the nation comprised of 72 districts and 109 colleges with more than 2.6 million students per year. For more information about the community colleges system, please visit http://www.cccco.edu/.

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Academic Senate for

California Community Colleges


3.01 Support for the Efforts of the Umoja Community

Beth Smith, Grossmont College, Equity and Diversity Action Committee Equity and Diversity

Fall 2008

Topic: Equity and Diversity

Whereas, Umoja (a Kiswahili word meaning “unity”) is a community and critical resource that serves as an umbrella for several efforts and groups dedicated to enhancing the cultural and educational experiences of African-American and other students as well as to increasing student retention, persistence, and success;

Whereas, The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges in Resolution 13.03 S07 called for an investigation into “successful statewide and national models which include both instructional and student services designed to encourage the persistence and retention of African-American and other underrepresented students;” and

Whereas, The Umoja Community is one of many culturally responsive instructional approaches to learning, with faculty who are both knowledgeable and enthusiastic in addressing the academic support needs of all students;

Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges recognize the Umoja Community as an established organization and successful model for enhancing student success and include Umoja along with the other programs the ASCCC supports such as Puente; Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA); Extended Opportunity Program and Services (EOPS); and Disabled Student Programs and Services (DSPS).

Disposition: Board of Governors, Consultation Council, Chancellor’s Office, Local Senates

Assigned to: President

Fall 2008 Adopted Resolutions



7.01 F08 Umoja Community

Marlene Hurd, Laney College

Whereas, The Umoja Community for Student Success needs the voice of the Student Senate for California Community Colleges to further the progress in developing and expanding statewide efforts to improve success and retention of African American, basic skills, and other at-risk students;

Whereas, The Umoja Community’s work is essential to addressing the equity strand contained in the current Basic Skills Initiative Professional Development Grant;

Whereas, At the January 14-15, 2008, Board of Governors meeting, the Board expressed its unanimous support for Umoja and encouraged the Umoja Community to seek funding through the system’s budget request process;

Whereas, The Student Senate for California Community Colleges committed to addressing equity and diversity issues, and the defining of terms and principles at the Fall 2007 General Assembly resolutions in 3.01 F07;

Resolved, That the Student Senate for California Community Colleges work with the Umoja Community to share project information with the local senates across the state;

Resolved, That the Student Senate for California Community Colleges offer its assistance to the leadership of the Umoja Community to support its work; and

Resolved, That the Student Senate for California Community Colleges work with groups such as the Umoja leadership, the Black Caucus, local senates, and other constituencies to communicate information about Umoja, including its effectiveness for African American, basic skills, and all other at-risk students.

MSC Disposition: Board of Governors, Chancellor’s Office, Local Senates, Umoja Leadership

Assigned: President, Equity and Diversity Committee working with the Governmental Relations Committee