Research Team Leads
Freddie Sánchez, PhD
Dr. Freddie Sánchez serves as the Associate Director for Programs and Inclusion at the University Student Union at California State University, California (CSUN). He earned his PhD in Education with a commitment to research on democratic schooling, social justice and equitable educational outcomes for all students from the Joint San Diego State University and Claremont Graduate University program. Dr. Sánchez oversees the University Student Union’s diversity, equity and inclusion areas including the DREAM Center, Pride Center, Veterans Resource Center, Diversity & Inclusion and USU Programs departments. He also serves as a lecturer for the First-Year Experiences program and the Educational Leadership & Policy Studies Department at CSUN.
Marquita Gammage, PhD
Dr. Marquita M. Gammage is a Full Professor in the Africana Studies Department at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). She earned her PhD in African American Studies from Temple University. Dr. Gammage's research explores racial equity and academic success of African American students, high impact practices and asset-based pedagogy. Additionally, her research examines the calculus of media effect on the sustainability of anti-African racist ideologies through the intersection of race, gender, and media. By analyzing current popular media productions (reality TV, television dramas, social media, etc.) paired with an Afrocentric historical and cultural lens, her research demonstrates how the continued misrepresentations of Black womanhood in the media can be predictive of future public policy initiatives that endanger the freedom and liberties of African Americans.
Student Research Assistants
Kaylee X. Josefina
Kaylee X. Josefina is a graduate student in CSUN’s Michael D. Eisner College of Education. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Higher Education Administration and Leadership. During her undergraduate studies at California State University, Channel Islands, she served as a national Transfer Student Ambassador for NISTS in 2020. Kaylee believes firmly in expanding access to undergraduate research opportunities for underrepresented students. Kaylee is also an advocate of creating welcoming environments that are inclusive of everyone, regardless of gender, race, orientation or faith.
Naim Muhammad is a 5th year senior majoring in Africana Studies. He is an advocate for developing equitable opportunities at CSUN. Naim developed an interest in African American history in 2016 when his high school Hip-Hop culture teacher educated him on the history of Africa before colonialism and the contributions of African people in America. As an Africana Studies major, he was an active organizer in a non-violent protest to keep ethnic studies as a graduation requirement. He was also one of 20 students chosen amongst over 100 applicants in Ethnic Studies Pathways Project (ESEPP). ESSEP is a program that connects students to K-12 teachers and counselors with Ethnic Studies backgrounds in order to prepare them to pursue careers in education.M
Tracee Porter is a senior at California State University, Northridge where she is majoring in Africana Studies with a concentration in Social Sciences. Her interest in Africana Studies began in 2007 when she took her first Black Studies class at Los Angeles Valley College. She learned about the rich and vibrant history of African Americans and the inequities and inequalities facing not only African Americans, including people from African descent across the diaspora. In Fall of 2020, Tracee started her studies at CSUN and has conducted research on the needs for African American Mental Healthcare professionals, the need for Identity-Based Resource Centers, and how gentrification is destroying Black Los Angeles.
Kamau Pruitt is a senior at California State University Northridge majoring in Africana Studies. He is a proud first-generation EOP (Educational Opportunity Program) student who began his higher education journey at CSUN in 2017, three weeks after graduating from high school. He was motivated to continue his education because of the effect he had with his family, peers, and strangers when articulating inner-city issues with clarity and charisma; it gave him the confidence to believe higher education was possible.
Current CSUN Identity-Based Resource Centers & Cultural Houses
California State University, Northridge is home to various identity-based resource centers and cultural houses that support the student experience on campus. Currently, CSUN operates four resource centers that honor the student experience and cultivate an environment where students are empowered to be themselves. Current resource centers include: DREAM Center, Pride Center, Veterans Resource Center and the Women’s Research & Resource Center. The university also operates cultural houses connected to the ethnic studies department and academic colleges: The Black House, Chicano House, Glenn Omatsu House and La Casita. These various resource centers and houses have diverse reporting, staffing and funding structures that support their operations.
Methodology Epistemology & Research Design
This section provides an overview of the Equity-Centered Design Thinking epistemology used to conduct this study and it describes the mixed-methods research design guiding this research. The study incorporated individual meetings with key campus constituents, campus-wide focus groups, a student survey and informal interviews with off-campus colleagues overseeing identity-based resource centers.
Lack of Understanding and Common Language of Equity, Justice, and Inclusion
"We need shared culture and core values of equity, justice, and inclusion." (Faculty/Staff Focus Group)
Given the rise in the national discourse surrounding the need for college campuses to model equity, justice and inclusive excellence in the structures and practices at all levels of the institution, it comes as no surprise that the CSUN community echoed these very same sentiments throughout the identity-based resource centers study. Upon analysis of the data gathered from our faculty/staff/administrators and student focus groups, a common theme was the lack of an articulated understanding of equity, justice and inclusion by CSUN and the campus community. This subject was coupled with concerns regarding a lack of common language defining equity, justice and inclusion. More specifically, within the context of this study, we found that the lack of understanding and common language defining equity, justice and inclusiveness was reflected in two primary categories 1) Missing in Mission and Values, and 2) Non-Alignment with University Vision.
Absence of Infrastructure to Support Diverse Student Population
It is imperative that CSUN is able to develop and maintain practices where all students are able to thrive. As an institution that serves over 70% students of color and is recognized as Minority Serving Institution (MSI) and a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), students of color must feel embedded into the fabric of the institution. It was evident by this research that students, faculty, staff and administrators identified areas where the campus lacks an infrastructure that supports our diverse student population.
When students were asked as part of the survey if they felt like their identity is welcomed at CSUN, the majority of students did agree that their identity was welcomed on campus. However, 25% of the respondents did not agree that their identities were welcomed on campus. Out of the 25% of respondents who felt that their identities were not welcomed on campus, 18% were Latinx/a/o, 14% Middle Eastern/Southeast Asian with the statement, and 25% were included in the “Other” category, which most identified as multi-racial students. White students accounted for 29% of the respondents who shared that their identity was not welcomed. Below are responses from the various focus groups that support our findings, including four subthemes that highlight various ways in which CSUN’s diverse student body is impacted by the campus environment.
Marginalization and Invisibility
"Taking a Chicano Studies class was the only way I could have a non-white professor." (Student, Focus Group)
The diversity of the CSUN community has been highlighted nationally and is an asset that distinguishes us apart from other large universities. Reflecting the diversity of our community in the infrastructure, policies and practices at CSUN presents a distinctive opportunity for the campus to model Inclusive Excellence and meet the academic, professional and social needs of our students, faculty and staff.15 The growing desire to develop an inclusive culture was confirmed throughout the identity-based resource centers project, in both focus groups and in the student survey.
Marginalization and Invisibility was a major theme found among all focus groups. This theme was expressed within several domains 1) Underrepresentation of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) faculty, 2) Underrepresentation of Black, Native, and Pacific Islander students, 3) Lack of Visibility of Diverse Racial and Cultural Groups Across Campus, and 4) Marginalization of Cultural Houses.
Limited Credibility, Direction & Sustainability
"Avoid half measures in lack of staff, inadequate space and non-permanent funding." (Faculty/Staff Conversations)
Tied to the subtheme of marginalization and invisibility of cultural houses, the theme Limited Credibility, Direction and Sustainability signifies a lack of intentional and strategic directives for the cultural houses on campus. Given that the current cultural houses have not been embedded in the University’s Master plan, concerns have risen regarding the future of these houses, their sustainability and the longevity of the services rendered, and the cultures established.
Like many cultural centers and houses on college campuses across the nation, CSUN cultural houses were birthed out of students' demand for a more just and equitable campus community. Unfortunately, as amplified in the scholarship on cultural centers, while the establishment of such centers met the immediate demands of students, the lack of strategic planning surrounding the start of these centers and houses have resulted in their inability to effectively achieve their initial mission. Instead, many have become social gathering spaces that are student operated and only foster a sense of community and belonging. These centers/houses most often have not been able to contribute to the academic outcomes of students, and for those that do aid in student success they lacked assessment models to capture their contributions. Some centers have been supported by their parent Ethnic Studies Departments for which they have had to share resources to support the centers. Others have been exclusively student operated with minimal financial support from the institution and no professional staff. This is true for CSUN’s cultural houses historically and contemporary - See Figure 13 below for CSUN Centers and Houses Resource Alignment Matrix.
Absence of Assessment
"How do we know that what we are doing is impacting students in a real way? What can we scale up?" (Staff Conversations)
Assessment is a crucial responsibility of institutions of higher education. Equally important is the need to evaluate the usefulness of resource centers and services to students by measuring students’ academic success. The literature on resource centers suggests a lack of investment in adequate staffing structures that have resulted in insufficient assessment models and practices. Unsurprisingly, conversations with CSUN and off-campus resource centers reported similar struggles with staffing and assessment. Most off-campus centers engaged in this study were one-person operations without any institutional research support. These centers have in large part been unable to conduct direct assessments of the services and programming offered through their centers. Some centers have conducted indirect assessments of events through event-exit-surveys. However, assessments of the impact of these centers and services on students’ GPA’s, retention, and graduation rates have been absent.
Cultural Taxation of Ethnic Studies Faculty and Departments
Ethnic Studies Departments model culturally congruent and supportive educational spaces by providing grounded pedagogy, faculty diversity and by creating a welcoming home-like feel. While understaffed, CSUN Ethnic Studies Department and faculty provide a wide-array of support services that supplement their academic degree programs. From writing centers, to mentorship programs, Ethnic Studies often supply the University with the majority of its culturally-compatible curriculum and extra-curricular programming while simultaneously providing one-on-one support for students of color. However, the sheer volume of general education courses, supplemental programming, university service, and mentorship leads to cultural taxation especially for the already underrepresented BIPOC faculty, which are the majority of faculty in CSUN Ethic Studies departments. Table 2 below details the number of faculty and lecturers currently employed in CSUN Ethnic Studies departments.
This report provides three sections of recommendations, (1) Campus-wide Infrastructure Recommendations, (2) Identity-Based Resource Centers Recommendations and (3) Further Steps of Action. This first section highlights the importance of creating a campus-wide infrastructure rooted in equity, justice and inclusion. We discuss the importance of creating a CSUN culture that (1) Models Inclusive Excellence, where we (2) Build an Equity Infrastructure and (3) Advance an Equity Rich Campus Culture. The next recommendation sections are presented in a way that first allows the campus to reflect on the overall infrastructure needed to foster a culture rooted in equity - an essential component to the successful implementation of identity-based resource centers. As noted by a participant in a staff/faculty/administrator focus group, "Don’t drop identity based centers on campus without the campus first going through a major cultural change to one that’s equity-rich, otherwise we’ll end up with multiple siloed centers that could potentially be marginalized."
Modeling Inclusive Excellence
The call for a university system rooted in Inclusive Excellence entails systematically aligning the universities mission, values, and strategic priorities into the heart of the campus infrastructure and culture. Critical to this approach is buy-in from the University’s primary constituents, the students, and all stakeholders, faculty, staff and administrators. Based on the findings from the identity-based resource centers project, the California State University, Northridge community is ready for the University to take the next steps in order to advance a model of Inclusive Excellence. This section details the next steps recommended for CSUN to employ Inclusive Excellence in its structures, systems, policies, practices and overall culture.
Building an Equity Infrastructure
Building an equity infrastructure necessitates that the operating systems and staff at the university embody equity core values and actively employ equity in the mission of the university. Equity must be centralized and prominent in the policies, behaviors and attitudes of the university leadership, transmitted in the classroom, and featured by staff and university services. The prioritization of equity is fundamental to building and sustaining an inclusive equity infrastructure. A commitment to changing the way students and employees interface with the University means being intentional about shifting from transactional encounters to holistic engagement. Shifting the University from the status quo through deliberate infrastructure building is how to make equity visible throughout the University.
Vital to students learning, development, global engagement and academic success is sustained diverse learning environments where all students can excel and reach their academic and personal goals. A fortified equity infrastructure will demonstrate CSUN’s commitment to being intentional in centering students' access, inclusion, and diversity in order to equitably meet the unique needs of various student populations. The section below details opportunities to advance structural equity in the University operating systems and personnel composition and addresses areas for enhancement as championed by the campus community in the identity-based resource centers project.
Advancing an Equity Rich Campus Culture
The previous section highlighted steps in creating an equity infrastructure on campus, this section expounds on how to advance the work noted above by developing structures that support and promote an equity-rich campus culture that foster Inclusive Excellence in all parts of campus. As Williams notes, if we truly are interested in making campus culture and environments equitable, we must as a campus be able to plan sustainable, long-lasting strategies to meet the demand of the twenty-first century since inclusion and equity are a moral, economic and social imperatives.
Since the creation of the CSUN Office of Student Success, Dr. Bocanegra has developed a working model of equity-minded- Race Conscious Culture which is parallel to our recommendations in these sections.
Centers Recommendations- Answering the Call to Action Priority I
Our research findings identified the need to develop identity-based resource centers that are centrally located, equitably resourced, sustainable and embedded into the culture of the institution. This section provides a detailed roadmap with our recommendation to develop a series of identity-based resource centers that are centrally located on campus. The first priority is to develop a cluster of ethnic identity-based resource centers. The second priority is the creation of The Thrive Center; a center dedicated to supporting non-traditional students. These identity-based resource centers are intended to support students to develop a sense of belonging on campus, embrace their identity, celebrate their culture, build community, connect with campus resources and develop academic self-efficacy.
Equitable Ethnic Identity-Based Resource Centers
Development & Sustainability
Establishment of Mission and Vision Rooted in Equity, Social Justice, Identity Affirmation and Student Success
Campus diversity is continuously growing among student populations; yet higher education has not seen the same investment in providing Black, Indigenous, and Latinx/a/o students with a culturally inclusive educational environment. Between 2010 and 2018, Black college student enrollment increased from 31% to 37% and Latinx/a/o college student enrollment increased from 22% to 36% . Although colleges and universities are benefiting from these growing diverse student groups, they have lagged in providing resources, curriculum, and professors that reflect their experiences and worldviews that represent them culturally.
Identity-based cultural centers have served as a bridge to inequalities faced by Black, Latinx/a/o, Asian, Pacific Islander, and American Indian students on college campuses across the nation. This has led to an increased need for cultural centers and research suggests that the centers help recruit, retain and graduate the student groups they serve. Cultural centers are also noted for increasing students’ sense of belonging to their campus community, improving campus climate, and providing academic, professional and social support.
Birthed out of the Black Student Movement of the 1960s, Black Resource Centers were formed to address the lack of Black students’ cultures being recognized, respected and integrated into the fabric of higher education. The gains of this movement gave rise to identity-based resource centers on college campuses nationally, however not without contention. Today, many campuses are forced to restructure their universities’ to be more equitable and inclusive and the question of the role of identity-based centers takes center stage.
Examining the significance of cultural centers on student success, researchers have found that cultural centers aid in identity affirmation, cultural pride, academic achievement, and enhances the educational environment for the entire campus and surrounding community. In terms of identity affirmation. Scholars argue that racial socialization is a key aspect of identity development that can result in cultural pride along with the development of coping mechanisms that aid individuals in identifying, negotiating and addressing racist experiences.
Racial identity development scholarship suggests that Afrocentric values are positively related to favorable Black racial identity attitudes. For Black students in particular, positive affirmation of their Africanness in educational settings increases their self-esteem and academic performance. Spencer, Noll, Stolzfus, and Harpalani (2001) reported that African American students demonstrated higher self-esteem and academic achievement goals in connection with more advanced racial identity attitudes. Akbar, Chambers, and Thompson (2001) reported that Afrocentric values and self-esteem were positively correlated in Black female adolescents, and many researchers have identified self-esteem as a protective or resilience factor against the development of problematic behaviors and negative mental health outcomes in Black adolescents.
Addressing the need for minoritized students to have a greater sense of belonging, a safe haven, and space that counters the racialized experiences students encounter on campus, identity-based resource centers operate campus counter spaces to build community . Examining the cultural needs of Asian American college students, scholars suggest that these centers provide a haven for celebration, resistance and activism, and academic achievement . Such cultural centers are a symbol of visibility, affirmation, and activism to address the unique challenges faced by BIPOC.
In terms of academic achievement, identity based cultural centers have been argued to best meet the needs of underrepresented and underserved student groups. For African American students, Black resource centers have been found to positively contribute to Black student retention and academic success . Asian American students’ involvement in cultural centers have been reported as resulting in high academic achievement and success. While multi-cultural centers offer an opportunity to intercultural exchange, intentional dedicated investments must be made to provide ethnic identity-based centers that meet the needs of each individual population.
Affirming and Empowering Educational Spaces-Cultural Centers
Affirming spaces that empower the experiences of students, support their own cultural identity, and celebrate their uniqueness, creates a campus culture of care. As noted in our findings, ethnic identity-based resource centers that are centrally located, equitably funded and institutionally supported can serve to enhance the experience of students on campus. These spaces must be embedded into the fabric of the institution, supported by the campus community and serve to enhance the student experience, with an ultimate focus on student success. Identity-based resource centers provide "social and psychological support for students of color…[and] serve as an important educational corrective;" It is our recommendation as Priority 1, that CSUN creates a cluster of centrally located ethnic identity-based resource centers as an intervention and strategy for improving the campus climate, increasing a sense of belonging and developing equity centers in the institutional environment. As noted by a student in a survey response, Identity-based resource centers will promote student wellbeing, decrease stress and anxiety associated with navigating resources, student empowerment (feeling of having more control over my education), increase sense of belonging, and decrease of potential discrimination caused by faculty, staff, or other members of the CSUN community (broader knowledge of the Title IX federal law, specifically relating to expecting and parenting students).
We recommend that the following Ethnic Identity-Resource Centers are created:
- Black & African Diaspora Resource Center
- Latinx/a/o Resource Center
- Native Resource Center
- Asian, Pacific Islander & Desi American (APIDA) Resource Center
- Southwest Asia & North Africa (SWANA) Resource Center
Additional Recommendations in Priority I:
- Project Rebound Center (Center for formerly incarcerated students and support for students who have been negatively impacted by the criminal justice system)
- A Prayer, Reflection & Meditation Space
The names listed above are a placeholder to identify the pockets of the community they will primarily serve. As noted by several off-campus colleagues, the name of the resource center should be determined by the campus community who will benefit from the resources. While services for Latinx/a/o and Black/African American students were catalysts for developing social and academic services on college campuses to improve their retention and graduation, campuses have begun to implement services for other identity groups and marginalized communities. These identity-based spaces can cultivate a sense of belonging. As referenced in a faculty/staff/administrator focus group, "Create a space that allows for identities to be fluid…Strategically we move in a certain direction to develop a space of belonging…after 37 years, I don’t feel like I belong".
Answering the Call to Action- Priority II - Thrive Center
Equitable Resource Centers
Development & Sustainability
"If CSUN is to be valuable, it must accommodate a wide range of learners including transfers, parents, and differently abled students." (Student Focus Group)
Increasingly, CSUN as an institution of higher education is serving a diverse student population. Student diversity ranges from race and ethnicity to first generation and parent scholars. Even more so, the rate of transfer students admitted into CSUN has significantly increased. The growing diversity of CSUN’s student population speaks to the opportunity to expand our academic offerings and support resources to appropriately service our ever-changing student body.
Upon examination of the data collected in the identity-based resource centers project, we found the need to establish a Thrive Center dedicated to serving four unique groups: 1) Parent Scholars, 2) Transfer Students, 3) First-Generation Students, and 4) Adult and Re-Entry Students. Each of these unique student groups were identified as requiring additional dedicated support services to foster a greater sense of belonging, decrease equity gaps, and increase retention and graduation rates. The justification for each support model is detailed below.
In meeting with the campus Associate Vice President for Facilities Development & Operations; Facilities, Planning, Design, and Construction, Bayramian Hall was suggested as a possible consideration to house the Thrive Center with committed resources to supporting a significant portion of CSUN’s study body. Many of the resources needed by these students are already housed within Bayramian Hall and could be expanded, including evening and weekend office hours to service non-traditional students when they are most frequently on campus.
Priority I & II: Structuring the Centers
Equitable Staffing Structure
Staff Model & Structure
Having staff that are adequately prepared, trained and supported is a priority in developing and implementing successful identity-based resource centers. As noted by Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) , as it relates to Multicultural Student Programs and Services, these types of centers must have leadership that model ethical behavior and demonstrate "alignment with institutional mission, goals and ethical practices". Leaders overseeing these identity-based spaces must create a vision, communicate goals, model and expect commitment, collaborate with colleagues and departments across the institution and advance the work of diversity, equity, access and inclusion goals among many other responsibilities. As such, each of the identity-based resource centers must have teams that are adequately prepared to support the diverse needs of students and have the capacity to collaborate across campus and with the community.
In an upcoming section, we discuss the importance of analyzing the campus reporting structure of equity, justice and inclusive services, including the reporting of these identity-based resource centers. As noted previously, current CSUN identity-based resource centers are housed in various departments on campus and across divisions. We recommend that these identity-based resource centers report to a leader who serves a member of the administration in order to have institutional buy-in and institutional capital; a leader who serves as a strategic diversity leader on campus. For now, we describe a possible equitable staffing structure for Priority I: Ethnic Identity-Based Resource Centers.
Priority I Structure
Based on student needs, enrollment patterns, equity gaps, etc., each center will be staffed uniquely and equitably to support the student population they serve. At minimum, we are recommending that each identity-based resource center is supported by the following staff:
(1) Director (MPP Level I)
(2) Program Coordinator (SSP III)
(3) Administrative Support Assistant I
(4) Faculty Counselor employed by University Counseling Services and conducting services inside identity-based resource center
(5) Academic Advisor (SSP II)
(6) Student Assistant Employees
Student employment is considered a High Impact Practice, thus it is critical to employ students in these centers. As Kuh (2009) notes, "Campus employment is a target of opportunity… Working on campus could become a developmentally powerful experience for more students if…professionals who supervise a student in their employ intentionally created some of the same conditions that characterize the high-impact activities." As noted by the findings and earlier recommendations, it is important to house a counselor and an academic advisor that are culturally congruent to the centers.
The identity-based resource center counselors will be supervised by University Counseling Services but operate out of each cultural center. We recommend the phasing-in of counseling services by starting with two days a week, measure and assess impact, to ultimately transition full-time services provided in-house daily. Some models to follow for in-house counseling services are UCLA, UC San Diego, UC Berkeley and the University of Southern California.
Note: This gradual increment of staffing will require University Counseling Services to restructure and hire a MPP staff who will assist with the additional supervision of clinical work being conducted outside of the University Counseling Center and assist with the supervision of counselors. The additional workload will create capacity issues for the already impacted University Counseling Services administrative support staff and will require an additional Administrative Support Coordinator to assist with the coordination of appointments for all the centers. Additional planning and strategic partnerships will be developed with University Counseling.
Academic Advisors are instrumental to the success of students. As noted by our findings, there is evidence to suggest that some students are negatively impacted by their interactions with their advisors. Embedding academic advising into the structure of the centers supports the academic experience of students. As noted by the opportunity mentioned in the Black & African Diaspora Resource Center recommendation, the academic advisors can assist students by intentionally supporting their academic progress, advising students to completion and assisting with retention efforts when they start their academic journey on campus. Partnerships will be developed with Undergraduate Studies, The Hub, The Colleges and the Office of Student Success to ensure that in-house advising does not create another advising umbrella, instead it will create a strategic partnership to leverage the impact it can have on our at-promise students.
Lastly, we recommend that each center develop a unique partnership with each ethnic studies department to create a Faculty Fellows program that supports the classroom and out-of the classroom experience -this framework is detailed in the following section.
Faculty partnerships in identity-based resource centers have been well documented as an effective pathway to increase student and faculty engagement beyond the classroom. Faculty have often served as directors, coordinators, researchers, and fellows with college student resource centers. Faculty Fellows afford student resource centers with the opportunity to collaborate with campus faculty on special research projects, national and local research studies, and grants. More specifically, faculty fellows provide research engagement opportunities for students where they focus on contemporary or historical issues impacting the demographic population that the resource centers serve.
At CSUN, students are consistently articulating a need for increased research engagement opportunities. In fact, research demonstrates that students who participate in research are more likely to graduate, pursue advanced degrees, and secure employment. For underrepresented student populations, they struggle to find opportunities to engage in research labs or work on research grants. Scholars Tillotson and McDougal report that when African American/Black undergraduate students have research engagement opportunities, their academic experiences are enriched, and they are well-prepared for graduate education. Fostering students' research skills aids in students’ preparedness for graduation and advanced studies.
As noted in the literature on resource centers, particularly cultural resource centers, one way to increase the sustainability of such centers is to partner with Ethnic Studies departments and Ethnic Studies faculty to offer culturally congruent programming, courses, and special lectures. Offering special topics courses through the resource centers is another way to partner with faculty and to generate revenue for the centers which increases their likelihood of remaining operational. The creation of certificate programs and specialized training is yet another way to service the campus and local community while building income streams for the centers. Faculty can play an essential role in these types of programmatic offerings for resource centers.
Throughout the identity-based resource centers project, participants communicated a strong desire for faculty involvement in the resource centers and to have faculty and student research engagement opportunities housed inside the centers. Therefore, we recommend implanting Faculty Fellows in the resource centers in order to meet students and faculty desire for collaborative research engagement opportunities.
Priority II Structure
The Thrive Center has the opportunity to support a vast majority of our campus population by the services they will provide to parent scholars, transfer, first-generation and adult and re-entry students. We recommend that the Thrive Center fosters a collaborative team relationship to support the intersectionality of students. We recommend the following staffing structure:
(1) Thrive Center Director (MPP I)
(2) Thrive Center Assistant Director (SSPVI)
(3) 3 Program Coordinators (SSP III)
(4) 3 Faculty Counselors
(5) 2 Transition Specialists (SSP II)
As noted in Priority I, the structure will be reassessed as the transition occurs. Since the Thrive Center will encompass various areas of support, we anticipate a shift in the services provided with the change in demographics in the students we serve.
We are recommending the services of a Transition Specialist that will assist students soliciting enrollment and transition support. It was evident by the data gathered, that our transfer students, parent scholars, adult and re-entry students and our first-generation students shared their dissatisfaction with understanding the plethora of resources CSUN has to offer. The Transition Specialists can assist students identify resources, answer questions and provide the support they need to effectively transition to the campus environment.
Assessment and Data Analysts
Direct and indirect assessments of services and programs offered through the current and potential resource centers is highly recommended in order to effectively evaluate the benefits and impact of resources and services provided on students’ overall academic success. Impact assessments on GPAs, students’ sense of belonging, retention, graduation rates, and post-graduation outcomes is necessary to capture the range of advantages offered to students who access the centers and services. These assessments will also aid CSUN in evaluating the role of resource centers in closing equity gaps.
In addition, increasing data access and data collection is also recommended. Access to technology and systems to collect data on the students who enter the centers and use the services is recommended for each existing and all future centers. This will also allow centers to create demographic profiles of student users and assess the impact of use on student users’ academic success. Assessing user data combined with student outcomes assessment, requires data accessibility in partnership with Institutional Research. However, this cannot be the sole responsibility of a single director for each center. While the model of one-professional staff is common among college resource centers, this structure has been proven inadequate for several reasons, and more specifically creates roadblocks to assessment.
Embedding research analysts into the center models will allow the resource centers to more comprehensively assess the benefits and impacts of the programming and services supplied through the centers. Outfitting each center with an IR trained data analyst can help meet the assessment needs of each resource center. Investigating external models, we found that staffed research analysts inside resource centers have been the most effective model. In our follow up meeting with Institutional Research, this staffing approach was discussed and was fully supported by the Director of Institutional Research at CSUN. Therefore, we recommend embedding a research analyst in the existing and future identity-based resource centers at CSUN. The Research Analyst or Analytics Team should be trained and meet all security requirements and undergo routine training. They should have direct access to CSUN IR systems and data in order to conduct outcome assessments. Pre-generated reports from IR are not recommended, instead, the analytics officer should have direct access to data to generate all necessary reports.
The proposed assessment model will equip CSUN resource centers with data-informed design approaches to programming and services and will allow centers to create new initiatives based on students’ needs and feedback, this is a priority discussed in CAS. Such an assessment model may also aid in strategic budgeting for the centers, that will aid them in capitalizing on opportunities to support students with highly successful programs, while reassessing the usefulness of less impactful programs and services.
Equitable Funding and Funding Security
Equitable funding and funding security are essential for the sustainability of resource centers and cultural houses. Unfortunately, many resource centers, and in particular cultural resource centers are underfunded and do not possess any permanent revenue streams. Most centers funding is reliant upon one-time grants and dollars, student fee programs, and annual institutional grants. Coupled with the lack of adequate staff, cultural resource centers are often limited by their inability to secure permanent funding and thus are unable to develop strategic plans for implementing high impact programming, this is another way that marginalization occurs in these spaces. Centers that are funded through student fees also experience insecurity and instability as student fees have been halted or impacted by a decrease in student enrollment. These funds could be redistributed and at other campuses suspended during and before the COVID-19 pandemic.
We recommend developing a permanent equitable funding model for the proposed and current resource centers and houses at CSUN. Funding security results in stability of programming, tenure of staff, and sustainability of centers. Therefore, we recommend full funding for the proposed:
- Staffing Structure
- Signature Programs
- Student Employment
- Student Basic Needs Supports
Additionally, we recommend the university provide funding for:
- Center Develop/Renovation
- Relocation Expenses
- Technology and Computer Equipment
- Initial Recruitment and Advertisement
- Initial Marketing Materials
Funding should be equitable across centers and based on the needs of students. Centers should not be forced to compete for limited resources which may create unhealthy competition and may disrupt opportunities for intercultural exchange. Equitably funding staff positions means staffing at the title and level comparable to the work and thereby compensating at the appropriate title. Thus, centers need directors, we recommend hiring and justly compensating center directors, coordinators, administrators, etc. Equitable funding also includes sufficient funding to resource students and provide programming. CSUN can actualize its investment in inclusive excellence by equitably funding identity-based resource centers and by increasing supplemental funding opportunities for these centers.
Centralized Location and Campus-wide Visibility
The foundation of many identity-based resource centers across the nation were established due to campus climates that were impacted by racial incidents, protests and/or national political rhetoric that influenced state and local practices. Thus, most identity-based resource centers are placed in locations that are not optimal to maximize the student experience. Unless campus planning occurs, these identity-based resource centers start in offices, small cubicles, a basement of a building, etc., anywhere where space can be found. We have an opportunity as part of this proposal to recommend the creation of these identity-based resource centers to be housed in the center of campus.
(1) We recommend that the cluster of ethnic identity-based resource centers (Priority I) is housed in Sierra Hall and become part of the renovation project created by the construction of Sierra Annex.
(2) We recommend that the Thrive Center is housed in Bayramian Hall, where the Career Center, University Counseling Services, Financial Aid & Scholarships are all located, these are services that will be heavily used by students receiving services from the Thrive Center. Although there is no space available in Bayramian Hall at the moment, we recommend further analysis of the potential of creating the Thrive Center in Bayramian Hall.
As noted in our findings on Marginalization and Invisibility, our campus community has expressed a wavering support for the centers to be placed in close proximity to one another, on the center of campus, where centers can collaborate and create intercultural exchange opportunities for students. As a student noted "Perhaps …resources like AASPP, the Chicanx House, the Black House, the Women's Resource Center, etc. I believe those resources are scattered on the outskirts of campus, so it could be helpful to have them all in one place to make it easier to access (Student Focus Group)." Another participant shared that "these identity based centers should be in a central location on campus and close to each other so they can cross-coordinate programming and dialogue" (Faculty/Staff/Administrator Focus Group).
Foster Intercultural and Intersectional Exchange
Identity-based resource cultural centers are also found to enhance the educational environment of the entire campus community. By providing critical race conscious curricula, partnering with Ethnic Studies Departments, and offering supplemental programming such as guest lectures, cultural resource centers provide a sustained model of inclusive excellence and educational equity. Providing intercultural and intersectional programming is yet another way the proposed identity-based resource centers can further enrich the educational experiences of CSUN students and the work experiences of faculty and staff. Additionally, Cultural Houses can support student identity affirmation and sense of belonging and can partner with resource centers to build students' academic self-concept and help students meet academic and personal goals.
The intentional centralized placement of the recommended cultural centers and the proposed Thrive Center is designed to facilitate student and campus engagement in the programs and services offered through the centers. For the cultural centers, the close proximity to the Ethnic Studies departments will allow for synergy between the centers and departments without a bifurcation of faculty and staff resources. Instead, course schedules and special topics can be collaboratively determined, certificate programs can be established and offered within the centers, and partnership planning can result in major keynote lectures and community forums.
The importance of intercultural and intersectional identity exchange was frequently communicated in the focus groups and surveys during the identity-based centers project. From student engagement to curriculum enhancements, the CSUN community expressed a significant yearning for increased intercultural and intersectional exchange across campus.
"We need discipline specific grounding for all students to aid in intercultural exchange. And we need to enhance curricular access to cultural exchange." (Faculty/Staff Focus Group)
"We need cultural centers to focus more on cultural rights and intercultural exchange." (Student Focus Group)
"There would be more opportunities to create and build communities which support and celebrate each other despite their differences. These identity based centers should support other centers’ missions and volunteer their time to the others’ cause." (Student Survey)
"We also should have a space to meet people of different cultures, cross-cultural and a place to collaborate and meet new people." (Faculty/Staff Focus Group)
"Social events and mixers should be more of a thing, opportunities for students and faculty to mingle. And as a White female, I’d love to learn about other cultures at cultural events. Need more social cultural events; faculty and staff can learn too." (Faculty/Staff Focus Group)
"There is a great opportunity for hosting events on campus that would bridge cultural differences and encourage intercultural communication and friendships." (Student Survey Response)
The call for social justice engagement at CSUN was also highly referenced in the identity-based centers project.
"We need more support service that has cross intersection solidarity between different races of students on campus to facilitate more improvement on the aspect of social justice." (Student Focus Group)
"The centers should be used so that we are being prepared to address any issues in these communities, in regard to social justice, having the ability to address things like microaggressions and such. Social justice is our cornerstone." (Faculty Conversations)
Currently cultural centers are being leveraged to address social justice issues and racial inequities on campus and in the nation. Benitez (2010) documents how cultural centers are being resituated with a social justice framework to move campus communities to adopt anti-racist ideologies. This equity-social justice framework equips college campuses with the knowledge, practitioners and resources to move the campus forward in affirming BIPOC students, their cultures and histories, while simultaneously addressing injustices. This model also challenges campus leaders to interrogate the policies and practices that create and sustain inequities in higher education.
The current RISE Center proposal as part of the larger USU Renovation and Expansion Project presents an important opportunity to expand and connect the University’s various social justice efforts under one larger umbrella of united social justice initiatives. The RISE center will be situated on the top floor of the new USU building surrounded by other resource centers including the Women’s Research and Resource Center, the Pride Center, the VRC, and the Dream Center. The centers-on-centers design model is intended to nurture intersectional exchange around larger equity and social justice challenges and advocacy efforts. The recommended resource centers can join in on these collaborative efforts to advance racial and social justice at CSUN, in Los Angeles and globally.
Example in Action: Priority I
Black Resource Center & Black House Partnership
California State University, Northridge is one of very few institutions that operates cultural houses, making it a unique service on this campus. As we explored the opportunity of identity-based resource centers on campus, it was to no surprise that concerns were raised about the utilization of the cultural houses. As identified in the Equitable Funding and Funding Security section, it is important and we recommend that with the creation of identity-based resource centers, the existing Cultural Houses must also be financially supported by the institution to maximize their capacity, utilization and their contribution to campus for our students. The Cultural Houses are assets to the campus, they provide cultural significance of the struggles students faced, which is noted in an earlier section.
As we explored the uniqueness of our campus, the research team developed the following recommendation on how the cultural houses can work collaboratively with the newly developed identity-based resource centers. Below is the example for the Black & African Diaspora Resource Center and the Black House.
- The Black & African Diaspora Center will provide academic, social and emotional support to students through in-house counseling, in-house advising, a faculty fellow program, strategic recruitment, referral services, engage faculty and staff and create partnership with the Ethnic Studies departments.
- The Black House will provide students with student leadership development opportunities, assist in student organizational development, develop cultural congruent programs, support community partnerships and embrace the celebration of Black culture.
Together, the Black & African Diaspora Resource Center and the Black House will cultivate engagement opportunities that lead to increased sense of belonging, create strategic partnerships to assist with the recruitment and retention of Black students, and develop mentorship relationships. Below is a diagram that represents this vision.
We acknowledge that creating new spaces takes years to develop, yet there is an immediate need to support our most vulnerable students. Thus, we recommend a phasing-in approach to ensure that our most impacted students (African American/Black Students) receive immediate support while the development of the ethnic identity-based resource center cluster is under construction. We recommend that in Spring and Summer 2022, the Black House can assist in piloting the services that would be housed in the Black & African Diaspora Center. In the next page, we detail recommendations for our phasing in approach through Spring 2023. We acknowledge and understand the need for developing an implementation plan with adequate support to start implementing the project.
- Black House Support (Pilot Black Resource Center Components)
- Develop Strategic Partnerships with UCS
- Counseling Support at Black House (2/Week)
- Acedmic Advising Support (2/Week)
- Work with At-Promise Students
- Work with SOAR on Intentional Recruitment Process
- Develop Partnerships Across Campus on Black Resources (HUB)
- Start conceptualizing the Ethnic Identity-Based Resource Center Cluster (Sierra Hall)
Fall 2022 - Spring 2023
- Pilot on Cultural Houses
- La Casita
- Hire Two Full-Time Positions (CATS & AIS)
- Identify Independent Space for AIS Cultural House
- Assist in the creation of strategic plan for Ethnic Identity-Based Resource Centers
- Develop Counseling & Advising Strategies for Pride Center, DREAM Center & Veterans Resource CEnters (Operationalize the Plan)
- Start Conceptualizing the creation of the Thrive Center
Capacity & Support of Equity Infrastructure
Assessing the Current Equity Infrastructure Capacity
Assessing the current capacity and support for an expanding equity infrastructure is vitally important if California State University, Northridge is to develop sustainable models and practices for equity, justice and inclusive excellence. Adequate organization systems, staffing, budget, and resources are all cited as critical ingredients needed to establish and maintain equitable and inclusive educational models and serve as a foundation for institutions of higher education to embed racial equity and justice into its core infrastructure. An absence of sufficient capacity to support the current and growing needs of universities to effectively service diverse student populations jeopardizes an institution’s ability to sustain successful practices.
Accounting for the current and future needs of an inclusive equity infrastructure entails mapping out the existing resources including personnel and aligning them with the present and potential needs of the University. CSUN is currently undergoing a road mapping process that is guided by the principles of equity and inclusive excellence. This process should also include assessing the University’s ability to successfully establish and maintain the recommended resources, values, and practices grounded in equity and justice as detailed in the Identity-Based Centers Project Report.
Systems checks for accountability and assessment is also required. Any infrastructure assessment conducted must also include examining the University’s data collection, storage and accessibility; along with assessing the data analytics capacity. CSUN is experiencing a growing need to have user-friendly and accessible disaggregated data especially on equity gaps, student success outcomes, and DFU rates. The recommended center models detailed in this report, also required increased access to disaggregated data and data analysts. As noted, the current data and assessment capacity must increase in order to meet the increasing need in real time.
Measuring CSUN’s capacity to further develop and build on higher education service to minoritized students equips CSUN with the opportunity to innovate a strategic path forward as one of the nation’s largest Hispanic-Serving Institutions. In our assessment of data gathered in the Identity-based Centers Project, we find that CSUN may be severely under-structured to support the wide-scale equity infrastructure. While CSUN has several non-permanent programs and grants to support minoritized students, additional support systems are needed to embed these services into the master plan of the University. Also, this report highlights the underrepresentation of diverse faculty, staff and administrators, lack of anti-racism and diversity training, a need to increase culturally compatible pedagogies and curriculum in the classroom and need to establish resources dedicated to serving unique student populations. Therefore, we recommend CSUN explore the development of a new division that would bridge Academic Affairs with Student Affairs through an Equity, Justice and Inclusive Excellence Division.
Explore Development of an Equity, Justice and Inclusive Excellence Division
The investment in advancing equity and inclusion as the hallmarks of institutions of higher education has caused a divergence from the traditional organizational structure of universities nationwide. Much of the work surrounding equity and inclusion have been housed in offices of diversity and largely the responsibility of a chief diversity officer. Some chief diversity officers role have been limited to Title IX protections and evaluations of sexual assaults. However, many scholars on structural equity in higher education argue that the role of the Chief Diversity Officer can be extremely limiting if the institution does not embed the principles of equity, justice, and inclusion in the fabric, culture and policies, of the institution and if the university does not empower the Chief Diversity Officer to hold the university accountable for employing these principles. Shifting the focus to advancing the principles of inclusive excellence has resulted in some universities exploring and implementing expanded or new divisions dedicated to fostering inclusive excellence and equity.
Many colleges and universities have conducted campus climate studies to assess the state of affairs as experienced by students, faculty and staff. Such studies have been coupled with equity scorecards to document the extent of transformational change needed to equitably serve and educate diverse students, and equitably employ and retain diverse faculty and staff. In the past, CSUN has administered campus climate surveys, however the results of these surveys have not been made widely available to the campus and many speculate whether or not the results have informed any structural changes at the university. Making these assessments in the future will need to include communicating the results, recommendations, and next steps to the campus – closing the loop of assessments.
Building the capacity for a sustained equity infrastructure is an iterative process that will evolve with the university as the culture shifts to a more inclusive and just environment. While long-term planning models are commonplace in higher education, the actualization of an inclusive equity rich campus culture often remains out of reach and equity gaps persist. Ten-year planning models fail to assess the real-time impact on current students, especially students whose first year disenrollment rates and equity gaps are high. Thus, the work of equity must start now. Closing equity gaps at CSUN means being intentional about the current and future educational environment and climate we create.
Currently, two new models are being operationalized among colleges and universities nationwide. The first model is to embed equity and justice into the Division of Student Affairs while maintaining the Chief Diversity Office in the Division of Academic Affairs. The second model is to launch a new division dedicated to fostering equity and inclusion for all students, faculty and staff. The sections below highlight the two models.
Model 1: Embed Equity, Justice and Inclusion in Student Affairs
For many academic institutions, the Division of Student Affairs is the home of cultural and resource centers, multicultural centers and centers for social justice. Since these centers primarily serve students, it is not surprising to find them housed in Student Affairs. The recent wave of institutions adopting models of inclusive excellence has propelled the initiatives of Student Affairs forward to include diversity and inclusion values in its mission and strategic planning.
CSU sister campus San Diego State University recently expanded its division of student affairs to include campus diversity. The Division of Student Affairs and Campus Diversity at SDSU seeks to provide cultural experiences, guidance and support to diverse communities, while aiding students throughout their academic journeys as they navigate through the university and professional world. The Student Affairs subdivision contains the standard offices including health services, student life, athletics, financial aid and scholarships. The Campus Diversity subdivision includes resource and cultural centers, a student ombudsman, professors of equity in education, the office of restorative practices, EOP and Ethnic Affairs, Intracommunity Councils, and Inclusive SDSU a communication system. Additionally, Campus Diversity includes the Center for Inclusive Excellence which provides professional training and learning communities for faculty and staff. The center also provides policy recommendations, advocates for recruitment of diverse faculty and staff through equity-minded hiring practices, and provides a supportive environment for faculty and staff of underrepresented groups.
Other CSU campuses such as CSU Fullerton, Long Beach and Cal State LA also advance DEI initiatives in their Division of Student Affairs, without any explicit name changes to the divisions. At Fullerton, the Division of Student Affairs offer a host of required and voluntary training to the campus community ranging from sexual harassment and sexual misconduct training to LGBTQ+ Ally and UndocuAlly training. They also partner with various DEI programs offered around campus and host campus conservations on DEI issues. Recently, CSU Fullerton implemented the Associate Vice President Identity & Belonging, as a member of the Student Affairs Leadership Team.
This model centers the work of equity and inclusion within Student Affairs as its primary purpose is to provide services, resources, and support to students of diverse backgrounds. Implicit in this model is the student-centered approach designed to cultivate rich educational experiences. The centers, programs, and resources revolve around enhancing the learning, social and cultural engagements for students. This includes professional development and training for faculty and staff in the areas of cultural competency, anti-racism and implicit bias training. At some institutions, policy development around equitable recruitment of diverse faculty and staff are also tied to student affairs, as research accurately documents the impact of faculty and classroom pedagogy on students' academic success and retention.
Other Campus Models
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire- https://www.uwec.edu/edi-student-affairs/
Oakland University- https://louisville.edu/law/experiences/student-affairs
University of Louisville- https://louisville.edu/law/experiences/student-affairs
Model 2: Establish a New Division of Equity, Justice and Inclusion
Encompassing the values of DEI partnered with accountability structures, some institutions are opting to create a third division focused on advancing equity, justice and inclusion in both Academic Affairs and Student Affairs. While equity, justice and inclusive excellence naturally bonds to Student Affairs students must encounter these same principles in the classroom and in their engagement in offices and units within Academic Affairs. Universities must also foster inclusion and belonging for faculty and staff of diverse backgrounds and provide the necessary DEI and justice training for all faculty and staff. Equally, leadership accountability is required to dismantle inequities in educational and employment access, retention, and success. These newly formed divisions of equity, diversity and inclusion cultivate transformational change throughout the organizational structures of the institution from academic departments/programs, health services, financial aid and cash services, to resource centers, housing and transportation services. Faculty development and leadership training are additional areas of support offered through this division. Inclusive pedagogy adoptions are also advanced with inclusive hiring and evaluation practices for faculty in and outside of the classroom.
UC Berkeley Division of Equity and Inclusion integrates equity, inclusion and diversity into the university by providing leadership, accountability and models of inclusive excellence. The division provides intentional programming to students to increase access and success, provide leadership development for staff and faculty advisors, and focus on closing equity gaps with the goal of ensuring that all students thrive. The division structure includes centers for educational justice and community engagement (cultural centers), educational partnerships (Upward Bound, Community College Transfer Center, etc.), disabled students programs, basic needs, centers for educational excellence and equity (veteran services, EOP, re-entry student program, student parent center, etc). The Division also includes the Othering & Belonging Institute, Student Equity & Success, Graduate Diversity, and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging offices. Highlighted in the first annual impact report, UC Berkeley launched several initiatives to address inequities in education for students. A scholarship program to increase recruitment of African American students was launched, a steering committee was formed to provided recommendations on how to become an anti-racist campus, building names were reviewed, a gender recognition policy was established, and an experience survey was created.
Other campuses across the nation have also established new divisions for DEI advancements. At Ohio University the Division of Diversity and Inclusion promotes the university’s Inclusive Excellence Strategic Plan whereby students’ access, equity, inclusion and success are fostered. The division houses the multicultural center, the LGBT Center, the Women’s Center, and the Office of Multicultural Success and Retention. Recruitment and inclusion initiatives for diverse faculty are also championed by the division. Ohio University has been awarded the HEED award for diversity four years in a row.
Other Campus Models
Ohio University- https://www.ohio.edu/diversity
University of Wisconsin , Whitewater- https://www.uww.edu/division-of-equity-diversity-inclusion-and-support-programs
University of New Mexico- https://diverse.unm.edu
Grand Valley State University- https://www.gvsu.edu/inclusion/
Developing a Pathway to Model Inclusive Excellence
The opportunity to reset and model accountability for equity work is before us. While Academic Affairs manages the bulk of the academic learning on campus, Student Affairs also affords a high level of educational, social, and cultural engagement. Housing the employment of equity, justice and inclusion in either division limits the University’s ability to transcend these values across the university and restricts accountability efforts. The work of equity and inclusive excellence has to be a larger campus priority. Therefore, it is our recommendation to build a Division of Equity, Justice and Inclusive Excellence to serve as the central hub of the University’s equity infrastructure. The division would have branches to both Student Affairs and Academic Affairs, and would:
- Communicate and advance the University’s commitment to equity, justice and inclusion,
- Spearhead DEI initiatives and policies in recruitment and success of students, faculty and staff of diverse backgrounds,
- Work in partnerships across campus on inclusive and diverse curriculum and pedagogy development,
- Develop restorative justice partnership and land acknowledgements with indigenous communities,
- Lead research and training on equitable educational access and success,
- Provide anti-racism, implicit-bias training and other trainings,
- Advance educational and social justice for the campus and community,
- House and fund the cultural and resource centers,
- Lead DEI assessment and accountability efforts, and
- Champion rights and protections for students, faculty and staff to learn and work in a just and inclusion environment free of discrimination.
The Chief Diversity Officer and the Office of Equity and Diversity can be leveraged to start the foundation of this new division. The current office contains trained specialists who can lead the university’s efforts to model inclusive excellence. To start, expanding the office into a new division would entail establishing a clear mission and direction, increasing the staff, mapping resources and offices that would fall under the division, and providing adequate funding to support the operations of a new division. The Division should also be led by a Vice President (VP) for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. The VP for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion should report to the President. Further investigation is warranted to assess the feasibility and financial support to build out the recommended division.
Further Call to Action
Throughout the Identity-Based Resource Center Project supplemental resources and support were advanced as additional opportunities to enhance the educational experiences of CSUN students, faculty and staff. One of the main areas articulated was building a welcoming, equitable and inclusive campus culture. Also, the need to maintain and sustain high impact programs that cultivate student success was communicated. Third, enhancing financial aid and housing structures with an equity framework was deemed essential for low-income, Pell eligible and parent scholars. Finally, supportive transportation services were also offered as an additional means for enriching students' experiences by meeting their basic needs. Each of these areas are examined in this section.