Her mission for the environment and social justice is just getting started, but she’s already built an impressive resume.
The American Talent Initiative (ATI) and the Campaign for College Opportunity have both recognized UCLA for its dedication to helping community college students transfer to and graduate from four-year universities.
ATI’s report The Talent Blind Spot: The Practical Guide to Increasing Community College Transfer to High Graduation Rate Institutions, published in June 2018, features UCLA and CCCP as an example of a university that has created a robust outreach and support system for transfer students, beginning with the outreach programs in CCCP through on campus support structure. The report highlights the breadth and depth of UCLA’s “transfer-friendly ecosystem” as a model for how other universities can scale up their transfer outreach and programming in order to promote student success.
In addition, Alfred Herrera, assistant vice provost for academic partnerships and director of UCLA’s Center for Community College Partnerships, was chosen to receive the Campaign for College Opportunity’s inaugural “Unsung Hero” award at its third annual Champions of Higher Education celebration this December.
“It’s a great honor to be recognized for the work we are doing at UCLA,” Herrera said. “We’ve really tried to demonstrate the need to develop stronger partnerships to support, welcome and transition transfer students to UCLA in order for them to excel and graduate.”
UCLA was one of only three schools that ATI chose to feature in its report as an example of best practices in supporting transfer students. With a transfer population of about 35 percent of all undergraduate students and a four-year transfer graduation rate of 92 percent, UCLA models how a university can guide a large number of transfers to success. ATI also commended UCLA’s commitment to closing equity gaps in transfer student success through the successful partnerships CCCP has with local community colleges and summer programs for prospective students and for incoming transfers.
Herrera said transfers have long been a priority at UCLA. Campus leadership is dedicated to admitting a large cohort of transfers every year and providing a wide range of resources to support them, from transition programs to academic counseling and social activities. Chancellor Gene Block has even visited over a dozen community colleges to discuss new ways the university can partner with them – something that no other top-tier research institution in the country has done, Herrera said.
Admitting and supporting transfer students is a crucial step in increasing low income and underrepresented students’ presence on campus, since these students make up the majority of community college populations, Herrera noted. Students who are members of underrepresented groups – such as parents, former foster youth and undocumented students – offer unique and valuable insights in the classroom that benefit all students’ learning experiences.
But there is still a lot of work to be done. With over 30,000 undergraduates, “UCLA does not need more applicants, we need a different kind of applicant,” Herrera said. “We must understand the importance of the diversity of these students, and we must begin to understand the critical place transfer students occupy in our university.
“In part, we hope this serves as tool for artists, producers, writers, directors and actors who are seeking funding and support for future projects that appropriately and creatively reflect the gender and ethnic diversity of the United States.”
Muriel McClendon has been named Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion for the UCLA College’s Division of Social Sciences. She succeeds Eric Avila, who is now the chair of the Chicana/o Studies Department.
McClendon teaches and writes about the social history of the English Reformation. She serves as Vice Chair for Graduate Affairs in the History Department, was formerly the Chair of the European Studies IDP, and has served on a number of campus committees.
She will serve as the Division’s liaison to Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Jerry Kang. She will interact with others in similar roles in each division and school across UCLA. As Associate Dean, McClendon will assist Interim Dean Laura Gómez in developing strategic plans and evaluating policies and practices aimed at promoting a diverse, inclusive and respectful environment for faculty, staff and students in Social Sciences.
For the second year in a row, no non-white actor was among the 20 acting nominations for the Academy Awards. NPR’s Kelly McEvers talks about the awards and Hollywood’s struggles with diversity with Darnell Hunt, director of UCLA’s Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies.
UCLA alumna Christine Simmons, chief operating officer of the Los Angeles Sparks basketball team, welcomed new African-American students to UCLA at the 10th annual Black Convocation and urged them to tap into opportunities afforded by their enrollment and serve interests beyond their own.
The Legislative Assembly of the UCLA Academic Senate has given final approval to a proposal requiring all UCLA College undergraduates to complete a course focused on diversity.
Faculty of the UCLA College have approved a proposal requiring all College undergraduates to complete a course focused on diversity.