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Bakersfield College

Umoja Community Students


What is Umoja 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. Umoja 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.

You may also be interested in joining the Umoja Club.

Umoja ASTEP is a member of the state-wide Umoja (Unity) Community Educational Foundation


Download: Umoja ASTEP Information Brochure (PDF)


  • Courses with a focus on African-American culture
  • Group study sessions
  • Simplified class schedules
  • Academic and cultural field trips
  • Historically Black College and University tours
  • Book loans
  • Academic excellence celebrations
  • College visits
  • Support: The Umoja ASTEP counselor makes sure every student has an educational plan and stays on track to graduate and transfer.
  • Mentorship: Students, who request, are matched with a community or BC faculty/staff/adminstration mentor in their field of study.

Schedule of courses offered 

Summer 2020

  • "Welcome to the Umoja Community" Aug. 17, 18, 19 .10:30-12 noon online with activities between sessions

Fall 2020

Umoja Core Courses

  • English 1aL: Introductory Composition (with an African-American emphasis)Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:10 a.m. -12:35 p.m., 12:45-1:30 p.m. (3.5 units)  taught by Dr. Paula L. Parks AND Library 1: online (1 unit) taught by Ms. Faith Bradham
  • Indaba - Mondays, 3:00-4:30 p.m.;

Umoja General Education Courses

  • Communication 8: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:20-5:45 p.m.(3 units) taught by Ms. Mychael Phillips
  • Math 22: Mondays and Wednesdays: 6:00-8:05 p.m. taught by Mr. Michael Little

Spring 2021

  • Umoja ASTEP learning community: English 1a: Introductory Composition (with an African-American emphasis) (3.5 units), taught by Dr. Parks AND Library 1 (1 unit) taught by Ms. Faith Bradham; 
  • English 1b: Intro to Types of Lit (3 units) taught by Dr. Parks
  • Jazz Appreciation (3 units) taught by Mr. Kris Tiner
  • Comm 1: Public Speaking (3 units) taught by Ms. Mychael Phillips
  • Math 22 taught by Mr. Michael Little
  • Astronomy 2 (3 units) taught by Mr. Gilbert Ayuk

Umoja ASTEP Team

Paula Parks

Dr. Paula L. Parks
Umoja Community ASTEP Coordinator

Dr. Parks on Weebly




Group Photo

From left to right: Mr. Michael Little, math professor; Mr. Jonathan Ward; Dr. Paula Parks, Umoja Coordinator and English Professor; and Ms. Faith Bradham, Librarian

Umoja ASTEP Photos

Welcome to the Umoja ASTEP Community Celebration 2016

Umoja Community Club African-American Success Through Excellence & Persistence

Umoja Club

2018 Umoja Community Club

Umoja Club Registration

Mission Statement

The mission of the Umoja Community Club is to promote the unity of African-American students using the foundation of the Umoja Community practices while embracing African-American culture. The Umoja Community Club will provide a culturally based student organization that will work with Bakersfield College administration, faculty, and staff to enhance African American students' experiences and increase student success rates. To achieve this, the Umoja Community Club members will embrace each other with love, support, and peer mentoring within a space where students can freely be themselves and focus on academic success.

Umoja Club's Black History Month Conference 2019

Kern Community College District