CSULB pledges to elevate, advance Black Student Success initiatives

Published May 17, 2024

Cal State Long Beach has established its inaugural Black Excellence Collegium and Black Student Success initiatives, responding to the urgent needs of its Black student population.

In June 2023, the CSU Chancellor’s Office released a report regarding the persistent decline in Black student enrollment across the CSU system and charged its 23 campuses to respond to the need for enhancing Black Student Success (BSS) and promoting Black excellence. To support campus efforts, the Chancellor’s Office committed $4.6 million in funding.

CSULB received $250,000 from the Chancellor’s Office to help elevate Black excellence and spearhead four BSS initiatives to address this urgent priority.  

Provost Karyn Scissum Gunn
Provost Karyn Scissum Gunn

The Division of Academic Affairs took its first steps by establishing the Black Excellence Collegium (BEC) – a collaborative group of faculty and staff committed to advancing Black excellence at The Beach.  

The BEC will serve as a consultative body to guide the implementation of the BSS initiatives as the university deepens its commitment to improve opportunities, outcomes, and experiences for the Black Beach community.

“I am so proud that our campus is responding to the call of the Chancellor’s Office. We are declaring our intent and commitment to broad and bold action to support our entire campus community, and especially our members of the Black Beach community,” said Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Karyn Scissum Gunn.  

Demetri Kelley
Demetri Kelley

“I'm grateful for the opportunity to coordinate the Black Student Success initiatives at CSULB and be part of a meaningful difference for the Black Beach community,” said Associate Director of Black Student Success Demetri Kelley, who serves at the helm of the initiatives. “Since the start of my role, I've learned about the synergistic moment we are in across the CSU and within the Long Beach community, and I'm excited to partner with LBUSD, LBCC, and our campus and community partners to advance Black excellence at The Beach," Kelley added.

CSULB’s Four BSS Initiatives  

Initiative #1: The A-G Middle School Success Project - Supporting College Preparatory Success  

  • CSULB will partner with the Long Beach Unified School District to improve infrastructure for college access to The Beach.
  • This effort will launch Fall 2025.  

Initiative #2: Guided Pathways to a Beach Major - 1st and 2nd Year Undeclared (UDC) Student Success Team Advising Pilot

  • CSULB will enhance student persistence, academic progression, major declaration, and career preparedness through a holistic student support network of case-based specialists.  
  • This effort will launch Fall 2024.

Initiative #3: Black Beach for Life - A Sustained and Interconnected Learning Community

  • Over the course of students’ educational journey, CSULB will improve student belongingness and persistence through meaningful, culturally relevant, and consistent engagement opportunities that enhance student connection and accomplishment.  
  • This effort will launch Summer 2025.

Initiative #4: DEIA Excellence in the Beach Classroom - Equipping Faculty for Culturally Responsive Instruction

  • CSULB will create a certificate program that establishes a framework for inclusive excellence among five dimensions: (1) intrapersonal awareness, (2) interpersonal awareness, (3) curriculum transformation, (4) inclusive pedagogy, and (5) inclusive learning environments.  
  • This effort will launch Fall 2024.

“It is my hope that we can find more strategies to remove barriers, promote greater campus equity and justice, and support ALL our students – and particularly our Black students. I know we will make great strides and will build on this momentum to champion our support and commitment to Black scholars now and in the future,” said Scissum Gunn.

CSULB is eager to implement these strategies to increase the overall outcomes and wellbeing of our Black students and looks forward to utilizing our four initiatives to uplift Black Excellence at The Beach.  

A Black CSULB graduate