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Black Success Initiative Sacramento State

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Black Student Success

Time for Bold Action

The CSU Graduation Initiative 2025 (GI 2025) has boosted graduation rates throughout our system. However, despite these gains, equity gaps persist, particularly alarming is the decline in Black student enrollment and persistence within the CSU.

If we aspire to be a national leader in supporting Black student success, it is essential for the CSU and its 23 universities to think boldly and act collectively.

Sacramento State is committed to leading institutional change thinking creatively and taking bold, lasting action to improve the future of Black students on our campus.

Chancellor’s Black Student Success Report

CSU Commitment to Black Student Success

At the CSU, we're committed to addressing the decline in Black student enrollment and retention, a trend seen nationwide. In the fall of 2022, Interim Chancellor Jolene Koester called on CSU leadership to intensify their efforts in supporting Black students' success.

To address these challenges, the CSU Black Student Success workgroup undertook a comprehensive process to review of resources and conduct listening sessions to gather data on the Black student populations from all 23 of our universities. They put forth recommendations that challenge the CSU to act strategically to make a lasting impact on Black students in higher education.

A Call to Action

The CSU Black Student Success workgroup's report outlined 13 systemwide recommendations aimed at driving the cultural changes needed to advance Black student success.

  1. Create and implement an early outreach plan
  2. Develop a comprehensive enrollment strategy for black students
  3. Develop a comprehensive retention and persistence strategy for black students
  4. Create welcoming and affirming spaces
  5. Develop and implement an inclusive and culturally relevant curriculum
  6. Standardize and increase black faculty and staff recruitment and support
  7. Invest in Black faculty and staff support
  8. Incorporate Black Student Success in faculty and staff evaluations
  9. Implement a comprehensive enrollment marketing campaign
  10. Develop a structure and process for system-wide data-driven practices
  11. Create system-wide policies on addressing unprofessional conduct
  12. Launch the CSU Statewide Central Office for the Advancement of Black Excellence
  13. Create structures for system-wide accountability

Sac State Black Success Initiative (BSI)

Using the CSU report as a model, our campus has created the Black Success Initiative (BSI), a presidential priority, to align our efforts to advance Black student success on our campus.

The purpose of the Black Success Initiative is to address the holistic needs of African American/Black students, staff, faculty, and administrators on the Sacramento State campus, under the leadership of the Division of Inclusive Excellence and the Division of Students Affairs.

The Black Success Task Force was formed to reinvigorate the work of Black Success at Sac State, as well as to address the broader goals of the CSU to elevate Black student recruitment, retention, achievement, graduation, and belonging.

BSI Taskforce

Cabinet-level sponsors: Dr. Mia Settles-Tidwell and Dr. Aniesha Mitchell

Workgroups co-chairs:

Black Student Success - Dr. Marcellene Watson-Derbigny and Dr. Tina Jordan

Black Staff Success - Dr. Nadine Kelley, Dr. Leha Hawkins, and Ruth Williams

Black Faculty Success - Dr. Andrea Moore and Dr. Ernest Uwazie

Black Community Success - Dr. Robin Carter, Khalil Ferguson, Kameya Turner, and Kamiya Turner

To affirm and ensure Black excellence and success at Sac State these members have been charged with developing a comprehensive strategic plan that includes the following:

  • Establish a sustainable Black Success Taskforce that includes students, staff, faculty, alumni, and donors.
  • Develop a roadmap and action plan for the revitalization of the Black Success Taskforce
  • Develop related immediate, near-term, mid-term, and long-term goals, as well as action steps
  • Create an actionable, campus-wide engagement, socialization, and communication plan (e.g., website, materials, social media, community engagement survey, etc.)
  • Recommend investments in the student success infrastructure, curriculum, research, and campus culture toward serving the Black community.
  • Provide permanent funding and membership to the Afrikan Black Coalition Conference with the Afrikan Black Coalition annually.
  • Create more visibility of Black Students, Staff, and Faculty on Sac State’s campus through campus websites, social media sites, and any media outlets.
  • Develop a Sac State Black Student Success Compact to ensure that students are aware of Sac State’s expectations and commitment to advancing their growth and achievement (e.g. commitment to the Antiracism and Inclusive Campus Plan, Graduation Initiative 2025, Black Success Initiative and Black Student Success Work Group Report, etc.).

BSI Goals

  • Formulate a structured action plan with clear goals and outcomes on Black Student Success
  • Ensure sub-committee work meets the objectives of the global CSU Plan on Black Excellence
  • Present regularly to the Cabinet for feedback, input, and enhancement
  • Engage in systematic tracking of progress with reports back to key stakeholder groups across the University
  • Foster campus and community partnerships to meet Initiative goals and objectives
  • Gather student perspectives on progress and ensure the student voice throughout the process is heard and actions implemented
  • Present semester and annual findings for accountability and sustainable action through the development of a Black Student Success Dashboard

Life Cycle of a Successful Black Student

symbolic representation of the life cycle of black student success. Attract, apply, admit, accept; outreach, orient, organizations; courses, community, capacity; growth, graduate, give back.

Black Student Success Inventory

The BSI Taskforce is conducting an inventory with subject matter experts who have been tasked to assess the baseline measure of the effort currently being taken to ensure Black student success on our campus.

The inventory will help to identify gaps in critical areas, including but not limited to capacity, resources, innovation, and investment.

Using the rubric below, the results will be used to compose a proposal on how best to address the success of Black students on our campus.

Category of Practice Definition Rating
Does not exist Does not exist in any form on campus 1
Emerging/Planning Is in the planning stages; efforts are in their infancy  2
Exists/In-progress Efforts are foundational and progress is being made 3
Well Established Programs and practices are institutionalized, resourced, and have measurable outcomes 4
Excelling/Leading Efforts serve as a best practice in the CSU and higher education as a whole 5

Implementation Timeline

2023 -24 Timeline Actions
September 11-October 16 Conduct and Complete Campus Inventory on Black Student Success
October 20 Review and obtain feedback on Inventory and Draft Proposal with President Wood
October 23 Draft Inventory and Proposal to Cabinet for Feedback
October 24-30 Finalize proposal and share with Black Success Taskforce, President, and Cabinet
November 1 Proposal due to Chancellor’s Office
November-December Develop Black Success Taskforce Recommendations & Plan
January-February Present Task Force and System-Wide Recommendations
February Black Success Initiative Strategic Plan Public Launch
March-April Lay foundation for Strategic Plan Implementation
May-June Campus Inaugural Report/Assessment on Black Success Initiative
June 13-14 System-Wide Juneteenth hosted by Sac State