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The Connection

The award-winning news site of Cosumnes River College

The Connection

The award-winning news site of Cosumnes River College

The Connection

Umoja program increases completion rates among Black students

Seth Henderson
Students meet, study and hangout in the Black Empowerment Center, located on the first floor of the library building. The center provides resources and support, such as tutoring and counseling, to assist Black students in reaching their academic goals.

Black students in the Umoja program were more likely to transfer or complete their courses than students who weren’t by 10% during the fall 2020-2021 semester, according to the Research and Equity Office at Cosumnes River College.

Umoja Diop Scholars Counselor and Coordinator Teresa Alderedge said the campus hired two new staff members for the Umoja program and developed their Black Empowerment Center, a space for Black students to study, hangout and receive counseling or tutoring. She said the program implemented a “Golden Four” principle and were 20% more likely to transfer, including courses such as, math, English, public speaking and critical thinking.

“We’ve been intentional and deliberate in specifically reaching out to Black students,” Alderedge said. “Getting them, number one, back on campus because what we found was they weren’t successful being off campus, doing that whole remote thing and the students even confessed, ‘This ain’t working for me’.”

CRC Student Senate President and 20-year-old biological anthropology major Miranda Roccucci said she is finishing her third year on campus and has used her time at community college to explore her interests, such as student government.

“It has shaped me to become more of a leader and to be the voice, not only just the students’, but of course for the women or men of color,” Roccucci said. “And it has made me realize that even as a Black woman, all things are possible.”

Roccucci said she plans to attend California State University, Chico and hopes to become a forensic anthropologist.

Alderedge said she wants Black students to know they are brilliant and they belong.

According to the Research and Planning Group for California Community Colleges, Black students who pass transfer-level math and English are 310% more likely to transfer and students passing math are 160% more likely. Black students who pass English are 70% more likely to transfer and students receiving academic counseling are 60% more likely to transfer.

IT Business and Technology Analyst Paul Meinz said the overall completion rate for all students in the fall 2020-2021 cohort was 25%.

“For the 2020-2021 fall cohort of students, Black students who participated in the Umoja program had a 26.7% completion rate relative to a 15.2% completion rate for Black students who did not,” Meinz said.

Sabrina Sencil, dean of institutional effectiveness, research and planning, said the campus’ willingness to respond to students’ needs, such as scheduling, counseling and programs have kept up with the amount of information collected by the research office.

“Getting them into those math and English classes their first year here, making sure they have the level of support they need, so that’s what we’ve been doing,” Alderedge said.

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About the Contributor
Seth Henderson
Seth Henderson, Editor in Chief
Seth Henderson is the Editor-in-Chief for The Connection. He decided to join the Connection because he wants to become a reporter and broadcaster, hoping to work in Las Vegas for the Raiders and the NFL. He was grew up in the Bay Area and is passionate about journalism, music and sports.

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