Background paper: Diversity and campus climate
Diversity is a core value of UCLA, enabling the kind of broad, enriching educational experience for which the campus has long been known. UCLA has established a wide array of programs and activities to address the special needs and interests of its diverse student populations, ranging from veterans and the economically disadvantaged to students with children, graduate students and others with specific needs.
UCLA programs begin with community outreach and early academic preparation — the so-called "pipeline" efforts — and continue through the admissions process and beyond. On campus, there are a wide variety of programs that provide students with a positive, supportive, inclusive educational experience.
The listings below provide a sampling of some of the programmatic highlights in these various areas.
Chancellor visits city schools and community colleges
Chancellor Gene Block has reached out to schools throughout the city and to community colleges across the state to encourage students to regard an education at UCLA as a viable possibility for them.
Chancellor meets with task forces
Chancellor Block meets regularly with the American Indian Undergraduate Task Force. The UCLA Department of Undergraduate Admissions has established a Native American recruiter/liaison.
The chancellor also meets regularly with the Alliance for Equal Opportunity in Education, which has been active in helping UCLA reinvigorate its relationship with African American communities.
The program is designed to provide college-access information and career-exploration opportunities to several thousand young people from community groups, faith-based groups and local schools.
The center develops and strengthens academic partnerships between UCLA and California community colleges, particularly those with large disadvantaged student populations. It aids community colleges in developing a "transfer culture," working closely with administrators, faculty and staff to strengthen and diversify curricula, create strong academic support programs, improve students' academic competitiveness for admission to the university, and increase the diversity of UCLA's transfer-admit pool.
Recruitment, admissions and yield
The Early Academic Outreach Program provides services to nearly 20,000 economically disadvantaged middle and high school students and their families to boost interest in attending college and develop the skills needed to become eligible for a UC school or other four-year institution. BruinCorps provides tutoring in underserved communities, including literacy skills for K–5 students and math and science skills for middle school students.
The Community Programs Office serves as the umbrella organization for 24 UCLA community service and outreach programs working throughout the city. The Student-Initiated Access Committee oversees multiple student organizations that offer mentorship, cultural enrichment and college preparatory services, as well as activities that connect youth from surrounding communities with the UCLA campus.
Annual youth conferences, organized by a number of student organizations, bring youth from underserved and diverse communities to the campus for college-preparation workshops and activities.
In November 2001, the UC Regents adopted the comprehensive-review admissions policy for freshman admissions, which went into effect in fall 2002. Starting with the 2007–08 freshman class, UCLA began using the "holistic" method of reviewing applications, in which applicants are assessed in terms of the full range of their academic and personal achievements, viewed in the context of the opportunities and challenges each has faced.
"Yield" activities are designed to encourage students who are admitted to UCLA to accept the admissions offer. Student organizations, with the support of the Division of Undergraduate Education and the Office of Student Affairs, have developed comprehensive hosting programs that bring students and families to campus, arrange for UCLA "buddies" and sample classes, and create opportunities for admitted students and their families to meet faculty, current students and key support staff. These efforts are further enhanced by alumni scholarships for new admits and by phone-calling efforts by a diverse group of students, faculty, staff and alumni.
Campus climate programs and activities
The program encourages and promotes academic achievement and excellence by providing tutoring; summer bridge programs for freshmen and transfer students; academic, personal and career counseling; graduate mentoring; scholarships and stipends; and research opportunities.
The center works with more than 900 registered student organizations and groups so that students can find and deepen their interests and engage in cultural programs and community outreach.
The group offers a variety of classes that feature facilitated dialogue among students from different identity groups — for example, male and female students, international and domestic students, and multiracial students. The aim is to increase understanding and promote tolerance and productive communication between groups.
UCLA's four ethnic studies centers — the American Indian Studies Center, the Asian American Studies Center, the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies and the Chicano Studies Research Center — celebrated their 40th anniversary in 2009. The centers have earned worldwide recognition for their scholarly output, archival work and lasting contributions to the vibrant intellectual community on the UCLA campus and in Los Angeles. Today, UCLA remains the only university with dedicated centers in all four areas.
The center, which celebrates its 15th anniversary in April 2010, has been a primary resource for outreach to campus departments, not only on LGBT issues but also on issues of diversity and social justice in general.
The office offers students a choice of "theme floors" in campus residence halls, including floors devoted to African diaspora studies, Chicano/Latino studies and the transfer experience. Residents of theme floors have the opportunity to live among a community of neighbors who share their interests in deepening their knowledge and exposure to these topics.
The new Bruin Resource Center offers specialized services to five student populations that face a range of challenges within the campus community: student veterans, undocumented students, parenting students, students from foster care and transfer students. Center advisers and student interns provide guidance and assistance in identifying resources specific to each group's particular needs and challenges and work with campus colleagues to develop systemic solutions to those challenges.
The center offers a wide variety of programs and workshops, advising and referral services, and a drop-in center.
UCLA hosts its first-ever program presented by the nonprofit LeaderShape Institute in spring 2010 for approximately 60 emerging student leaders. The six-day, off-site program focuses on leadership development and includes a strong diversity component intended to give students from a variety of backgrounds the opportunity to interact in a unique developmental setting.
The Economic Crisis Response Team includes members from departments across the campus who assist students in extreme financial distress and whose academic careers may be in jeopardy. The team provides referrals to resources for short- and long-term loans or other financial aid, housing, counseling and academic support.
Community Programs Office 'food closet'
The food closet is an informal service completely supported by food donations from campus staff. Its clients are students who are in dire economic straits and may not be able to afford to buy food on a regular basis.
Community Programs Office | Campus Retention Committee
The Campus Retention Committee — through Student Retention Center projects — has been instrumental in recognizing and addressing critical issues such as academic difficulties and cultural and social transition. The goal is to increase retention and graduation rates.
The website was revised and updated in January 2010 to provide a mechanism through which students or other members of the campus community can make confidential reports of offensive behaviors that threaten a student's or a community's sense of safety and well-being. Reports are directed to the Office of the Dean of Students for appropriate follow-up, referral or outreach.
Chancellor's direct communications with students
Chancellor Gene Block meets regularly with a number of student groups and holds breakfast meetings with different student groupings from all parts of the campus.
This instrument is completed by graduating UCLA seniors in the College of Letters and Science each year. The survey gathers information related to students' academic experience, broad campus experiences, developmental experiences related to diverse populations, campus activities and interactions, academic experiences, and other topics.
The UC's Undergraduate Experience Survey is a system-wide survey that collects a wide array of demographic data, as well as experiential reports on academic and campus experiences and diversity-related topics. UCLA administers the survey every other year. In spring 2010, the UCLA Office of Student Affairs will implement a graduate student survey with a focus on student services and campus climate.