University of California Los Angeles – Los Angeles, USA

At the time there were student protests being held by underrepresented groups, to which the university responded by creating the AAP in 1971 out of the consolidation of UCLA’s Educational Opportunity (EOP) Program and High Potential Program (HPP), two early efforts to widen access for students from historically underrepresented backgrounds. Built on principles of social justice, AAP has a threefold mission: (1) to advocate and facilitate the access, academic success, and graduation of students who have been historically underrepresented in higher education; (2) to inform and prepare students for graduate and professional schools; and (3) to develop the academic, scientific, political, economic, and community leadership necessary to transform society. More specifically, the AAP has three key goals: (1) To create and administer innovative academic programs for first generation, low-income and students who have been historically underrepresented in higher education; (2) To provide academic support for a diverse population of undergraduate students in their pursuit of academic excellence; (3) To promote UCLA access and academic success for high school and community college students across the State’s increasingly diverse populations.

In the last two years, various activities with regard to equal access/inclusion/diversity were carried out namely:
• Support and counselling for students and university staff including:
o peer learning (tutoring)
o academic advising and programs for students
o graduate and professional school mentoring for students
o scholarships for students
o research opportunities and stipends for students
o opportunities to participate in innovative science programs for students
o provide a computer lab for students
• Lectures, workshops, seminars for students, faculty and non-teaching staff
• Training courses for peer educators
• Public promotion (e.g. production of media content such as podcasts)
• Fundraising events

The motivation was to respond to the social justice movements that were going on at the time and to fulfill a moral obligation to serve these students.
The program is not governed by any national policies; it is a university-driven initiative.
There is one main Director, which along with 6 other Unit Directors comprises the leadership of the program. Each Unit Director has a team, varying in size. The program leadership is 3 steps removed from senior leadership within the university. The units are organized around the varying activities of the AAP, such as college academic conseling, graduate mentoring, peer learning, Vice Provost Initiative for Pre-College Scholars (VIPS) and the Center for Community College Partnerships (CCCP). Besides these standard units, additional programmes are coordinated by the AAP (e.g. the Arts Initiative, the Community Development and Social Justice Program, Educators for Tomorrow, the Summer Grad Prep Course, and more) that are geared towards different student groups with varying goals.
The long-term sustainability of this program is impacted when there is a cost of living increase without budget increase – this means the program reaches a point where costs have to be cut, which comes down to services and staff.
Evaluation is carried out via the following ways: Surveys and focus groups conducted among program users; Statistics collected by the university; and, AAP has it own Research, Assessment, and Evaluation unit. Qualitative data: Focus groups and surveys (for example, evaluation of academic counselling sessions through surveys; survey of summer program participants; etc.). Quantitative data: Graduation rates (compare in-program students to the rest of the student body); Placement rates (placement in graduate programs); Success rates from peer learning (e.g. grades). The report is disseminated to the senior leadership and Academic Senate. There are also poster presentation at research fairs to disseminate the information to a wider audience. On the website the reports are accessible for the entire university community and beyond.

Academic Advancement Program (AAP)

Los Angeles, USA