Bakersfield College

ASTEP Fall 2015


What is African-American Success Through Excellence and Persistence (Umoja ASTEP)?

Umoja (A Kiswahili word meaning unity) African-American Success Through Excellence and Persistence (ASTEP) is a program that integrates academics, support services and African-American culture. We seek to educate the whole student — body, mind and spirit — through an ethic of love.  African and African-American histories and voices are deliberately and intentionally acknowledged and are woven into the learning experience, and this integration is seen as empowering to students and as foundational for their academic and personal success.  Students are full participants in their learning and growth. ASTEP aims to develop students into leaders and role models in their college and larger community.

Apply to Join Umoja ASTEP

If you'd like to apply to join Umoja ASTEP, complete the Umoja ASTEP application form. For more background on the program, download the Umoja ASTEP Informational Brochure or email Dr. Paula Parks.

Umoja ASTEP is a member of the state-wide Umoja (Unity) Community Consortium.



Download: Umoja ASTEP Information Brochure (PDF)


  • Group study sessions
  • Simplified class schedules
  • Academic and cultural field trips
  • Academic excellence celebrations
  • College visits
  • Simplified path to CSUB
  • Support: The Umoja ASTEP counselor makes sure every student has an educational plan and stays on track to graduate and transfer. Students are matched with a community or BC faculty/staff/adminstration mentor in their field of study.


  • Complete Umoja ASTEP application
  • Meet with the Umoja ASTEP director or counselor
  • Complete FAFSA application
  • Complete placement tests in English, reading, and math
  • Have not completed any of the required courses (English 53 or English 50, Student Dev 2 and 6)

Program Requirements

  • Enroll in Umoja ASTEP Umoja learning community classes
  • Meet with Umoja ASTEP Umoja counselor twice a semester
  • Meet with mentor at least twice a month
  • Attend at least one Village study session each wek
  • Have an interest in community, family, education, and the African-American experience

Year One

Summer 2017

  • Participate in "Welcome to the Umoja Community" week; Aug. 9-15, 10:00-4:00
  • ACDV 65 (optional, depending on assessment)
  • ACDV 61 (optional, depending on assessment)

Fall 2017

  • Enroll in the Umoja ASTEP learning community: English 53: Reading, Reasoning, and Writing (with an African-American emphasis) 4 units, taught by Dr. Paula Parks; and Student Development B2: Career Decision Making (2 units), taught by Umoja ASTEP counselor Mr. Jonathan Ward.
  • Optional courses: math (by placement)
  • Stay in contact with mentors
  • Participate in Umoja ASTEP activities

Spring 2018

  • Enroll in the Umoja ASTEP learning community: English 1a: Introductory Composition (with an African-American emphasis), 3 units, taught by Dr. Parks; and Student Development B6: Tools for College Success (3 units), taught by Umoja ASTEP counselor Mr. Jonathan Ward.
  • Optional courses: math (by placement)
  • Stay in contact with mentors
  • Participate in Umoja ASTEP activities
  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday
10:30–12:35 English 1a STDV B6 English 1a STDV B6
1:00–2:00 Village Study time   Library 1  
2:00–3:00     Village Study time  


Year Two

Umoja ASTEP 2

  • See Umoja ASTEP counselor
  • Meet with mentors
  • Participate in Umoja ASTEP activities
  • Leadership - Enroll in Special Projects: Special Studies 201 class


Umoja ASTEP Team


Paula Parks

Dr. Paula Parks
Umoja ASTEP Community Coordinator
Dr. Parks on Weebly


Jonathan Ward

Jonathan Ward
Umoja ASTEP Community Counselor

Group Photo

From left, Mr. Julian West, Umoja educational advisor; Ms. Kalisha Hudgins, Umoja math instructor; Mr. Jonathan Ward, Umoja counselor and student development instructor; Dr. Paula Parks, Umoja coordinator and English professor; Mr. Michael Little, Umoja math instructor; and Ms. Faith Bradham, Umoja Library 1 instructor.

Umoja ASTEP Photos

Welcome to the Umoja ASTEP Community Celebration

Kern Community College District