The Umoja learning community at Sierra College is open to all students and is specifically designed to increase the retention and success rates as well as the graduation and transfer rates of African ancestry students.
Umoja is a Swahili word meaning unity. In the Umoja Learning Community a network of students and faculty is created with a dedication to enhancing the cultural and educational experiences of Black, African-American students. It is believed that when voices and histories of students are deliberately and intentionally recognized, the opportunity for self-efficacy emerges and a foundation is formed for academic success. All students are welcome to join.
The Umoja community seeks to educate the whole student—body, mind and spirit. Informed by an ethic of love and its vital power, the Umoja community will deliberately engage students as full participants in the construction of knowledge and critical thought. The Umoja community seeks to help students experience themselves as valuable and worthy of an education. The learning experience within the Umoja community will provide each individual the opportunity to add their voice and their story to the collective voices and stories of the African Diaspora (movement).
With emphasis on topics relevant to the African American experience, the curriculum focuses on improving reading, writing, self-discipline and critical thinking skills. Program counselors also provide assistance with the personal issues that often hinder African American students in an educational setting. The Umoja program is a "family" in which we help and take care of each other in the new experience of learning to navigate college and becoming successful in education.
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“My experience as a student of color is awesome. The Umoja class is the best thing that happened.” — African American Female
“It would’ve been very difficult to stay focused without Umoja." — Black 1st semester of college, 18 years old
“It was wonderful because I was able to feel connected + loved in my Umoja Program.” — African American Queen one yr
“My experience has been good. Umoja has been very welcoming and supportive.” — African-American, 18, Fall
“Being here at Sierra College has been a life changing experience for me. I feel the Umoja Community and its teachers were a true blessing to me. They treated me with love and respect, and they really helped me to excel academically. I look forward to coming back next semester.” — African American, 50, 1st year of college