2006 Regina Stanback Stroud Award

2006 Winners

Kimberly Ann Beatty, Cypress College

For the past five years, Kimberly Ann Beatty, an English professor at Cypress College, has been the coordinator of the Black Studies Learning Community (BSLC), a program designed to increase the retention, success, and transfer rates of underrepresented populations. The BSLC is an interdisciplinary program that includes English, counseling, ethnic studies, speech, and library courses rooted in basic skills and draws from the African American experience, though the enrollees are a culturally and racially diverse group. Beatty has developed, secured grant funding for, implemented, and promoted the program, exhibiting proactive leadership in furthering equity and diversity and assembling a team of faculty and support staff to assist her in furthering these goals. The fact that BSLC students have shown an impressive 91% success rate to date is evidence that her efforts are venerable and worthwhile.

In addition to her efforts for the BSLC, Beatty was also active in writing Cypress College's Student Equity Plan and has served on a variety of committees to advocate for principles of diversity in recruiting, such as her campus' Diversity Committee and her district's Diversity and Equity Committee. She has developed and teaches curriculum for African American literature courses and brings her devotion to openness and equity to bear on her contributions to curriculum planning and implementation in other areas, such as athletics and Freshman Experience. Beatty is the advisor to the Black Student Union, and she frequently organizes social and academic activities geared toward increasing the college community's awareness of diversity issues. For example, she has put on African American fashion shows, and she often recruits nationally-acclaimed speakers to give presentations at her school encouraging under-represented populations to feel and be more involved with campus life. As one student representative put it, Beatty uses a variety of methods to approach her students as well as her colleagues, thus succeeding in exposing us to many different cultures within our own community. Additionally, Beatty is the co-founder of Cypress College's African American Faculty and Staff Association (AAFSA), and has volunteered to train part-time employees for full-time positions in the school's Hire Me workshop, thus demonstrating that her commitment to promoting diversity and equity extends beyond the student populace to her colleagues and peers.

Overall, Beatty is a mentor and role model to students, faculty, and staff. Her spirit of inclusion and openness is in excellent keeping with her role as a champion of equity and diversity.

Keith Tatsuo Muraki, Sacramento City College

Keith Tatsuo Muraki was significantly affected by the Japanese-American internment during World War II through intimate family members who had experienced it first hand. Learning of the debilitating divisions within a community plagued by racism, segregation, and discrimination, he reacted by focusing his work on assisting others whose loyalty and entitlement may be in question, and who have no public voice. As a counselor at Sacramento City College for the past 15 years, Muraki has given specific attention to those on academic probation. Seventy percent of the 3500 Sacramento City College students who go on academic probation each semester are students of color, most of whom are low-income, are the first generation of their families to attend college, are underprepared, are graduates from low-performing high schools, and/or struggle with undiagnosed learning disabilities. Because Muraki's perspective is that a student's sense of connection with and belonging to the college campus community is the greatest factor in his/her academic success and retention, he set about creating a program that would create a campus-wide familia in which these at-risk students would be fostered. The result is RISE - Respect, Integrity, and Success through Education. RISE incorporates peer tutors, mentors, counselors, college staff and community leaders to provide personalized counseling and tutorial services and educational enrichment activities, such as regular university tours, campus volunteer projects, and a cultural lecture series. RISE collaborates with myriad other groups, including EOP&S, the Polynesian Connection Club, African Scholars Alliance, MEChA, Puente, and Mesa, creating an international and eclectic, inclusive campus dynamic.

All seem eager to attest to the success of the RISE program in drawing countless imperiled students into the fold of the college community and inspiring them to greater academic and personal goals. RISE students have a 70% success rate; they increase their GPAs and remove themselves from academic probation within three semesters; more than half of these go on to earn their Associate degrees, to transfer, or both. Additionally, last year at Sacramento City College, the only two African American students and the only two Polynesian students to transfer to UCs were all RISE participants. Especially hopeful is the fact that many RISE students are also returning to their neighborhoods with newly-developed skills and confidence, and actively contributing to a brighter future within them.

As some of Muraki's students put it it takes a talented conductor to synchronize so many different instruments and create an ensemble of students in tune with themselves and their goals for the future. Such statements from Muraki's colleagues and students make it apparent that those who know of Muraki recognize him as a guardian of marginalized and minority groups of all kinds and a passionate proponent of a progressive campus climate.