Dear Berkeley City College Community,
I am excited to announce Black Student Success Week is returning April 25th to 29th. This year’s theme is A Vision for Black Student Success: Creating a New Landscape to Succeed focusing on innovative approaches to ensure Black and African American students succeed at California Community Colleges in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. I am inviting all students, faculty, administrators, and staff to register for a host of informative webinars and discussions held throughout the week, including opening remarks from the U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona. It is a wonderful opportunity for students to learn about the resources and programs available to succeed in the community college system; as well as ways our faculty, staff, and administration can better serve our students. I am also proud to say our Transfer and Career Center Coordinator, Andrea Williams, will be present on a panel discussion Wednesday, April 27 titled The Path to Transfer Success through Courageous State Leadership. She will speak about our efforts to support Black students in transfer and career guidance. Congratulations Andrea, we are looking forward to seeing you represent Berkeley City College!
Berkeley City College is committed to equitable student success. As an Aspen Presidential Fellow, I have engaged our institutional data to learn about the ways in which we are successful in supporting students to completion. BCC faculty, staff, and administrators have devoted time and reflection to creating equitable standards of completion for historically minoritized communities. When we look at the data, African American student success, retention and persistence rates are at the standard of other demographics in our student body. Yet African Americans make up 15% of Berkeley City College student body, the fourth largest on campus. Enrollment of African American students is a smaller proportion of eligible students in our service area compared to other demographics. At the state level, 61% of community college students are African American, but unfortunately only 35% of African American Students transfer to four-year institutions even after 6 years of college. We are committed to confronting the brutal facts of the data, as we continue to focus and design structures that lead to equitable student outcomes in our strategic planning efforts. Participating in Black Student Success Week will afford BCC faculty, staff, and administrators with additional perspectives and knowledge to include in our work.
We recognize the pandemic has impacted minoritized communities the most, creating economic and emotional hardships that compound the difficulty of attaining an education. It is incumbent on Berkeley City College to elevate our levels of engagement with the local community and promote the values of pursuing higher education in our community. I am especially proud of the work our Society of Scholars counselors and outreach professionals have done to bring students into the fold, especially the growing Umoja Community at Berkeley City College. Their tireless work is essential to promoting completion and transfer rates, and I thank you for your service.
For updates regarding Black Student Success week, follow @cablackstudents on Twitter and Instagram. Please follow @berkeleycitycollege on Instagram for updates and reminders from us. I am planning to attend as many of these webinars as possible and look forward to hearing students’ experiences and stories with the hope of improving the college experience.
Dr. Angélica Garcia