Thursday, January 17, 2002
University of California Office of the President

Media Contact:
Lavonne Luquis
(510) 987-9194

UC Educational Outreach Programs Make Progress

The University of California's educational outreach and K-14 improvement programs are making progress despite facing a number of challenges, the Board of Regents was told today (Jan. 17, 2002).

In the UC administration's annual presentation to the Regents on the status of outreach programs, UC Irvine vice chancellor and former interim vice president for educational outreach Manuel N. Gómez, said the number of students participating in UC outreach programs has increased substantially, the programs are reaching students earlier in their school careers, historically distinct programs have converged to maximize their impact on schools, and tens of thousands of teachers are now getting professional development services through UC programs.

"UC is now more deeply involved with K-14 education than at any time in the university's history, and our depth of engagement is unprecedented in American higher education," Gómez said. "We face a tremendously complex set of challenges in California's schools, but we are on the right track. I must emphasize, though, that these are long-term efforts, and our ultimate success depends upon maintaining support for educational outreach in the coming years."

Gómez' successor as vice president for educational outreach, Winston C. Doby, was introduced to the Regents at the meeting. Doby served as vice chancellor for student affairs at UCLA for 20 years; he assumed his new post on Jan. 2.

"Enhancing diversity on our campuses and improving our public schools are critical, interrelated challenges, and I look forward to investing my energies in helping the University to address them," Doby said.

UC's educational outreach and K-14 improvement efforts are aimed at bolstering academic performance in California's schools and better preparing students for college. They encompass a vast array of programs, including (1) student-centered programs that provide tutoring, mentoring, academic preparation, college counseling and other services directly to K-12 students; (2) school partnerships that offer curriculum development, direct instruction, community engagement and other assistance to many of California's lowest-performing schools; (3) professional development programs to increase the skills and effectiveness of teachers and administrators; and (4) programs that help community college students plan for transfer and advise students about graduate and professional school study.

These programs have expanded dramatically in recent years, thanks to the support of Gov. Gray Davis and the Legislature. State support for the programs now totals $177.4 million per year, with $93.5 million of that figure devoted to the professional development programs.
The outreach effort faces substantial challenges, in part because it focuses largely on students in California's lowest-performing schools. The challenges include the availability of resources and qualified teachers in these schools, the socioeconomic and educational disadvantages affecting many students in the schools, and the complexities of implementing university programs in a manner that comports with the local school's own needs and goals.

Gómez and Doby made several points to the Regents about the current status of the programs, including:

  • Participation in outreach and K-14 improvement programs has grown substantially. More than 97,000 students participate in UC-led student-centered programs, nearly 100,000 teachers are served by the professional development programs, and UC-school partnerships now extend to 256 California schools, up from 192 in 1998-99.

  • Outreach programs are successfully reaching students earlier in their academic careers, with the goal of improving academic performance and college preparation over the duration of their school years. More than half of UC's partner schools are now elementary schools, and more than one-fourth of all students participating in UC outreach programs are below the ninth grade.

  • Outreach programs that previously were distinct in funding and organization are now "converging" to maximize their impact on individual schools. Almost all of UC's partner high schools are now also sites where UC student-centered outreach programs - such as MESA, Puente and the Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP) - are also operating. Nearly all of UC's partner schools, from elementary to high schools, are also participating in UC's teacher professional development programs.

  • Participants in UC outreach programs now account for 30 percent of African American UC freshmen and 33 percent of Latino UC freshmen.

  • Increases in UC eligibility for outreach program participants are modest so far. UC-eligible participants from MESA, Puente and EAOP increased from 4,208 in 1998-99 to 4,947 in 1999-2000, the most recent year for which data are available. UC-eligible students from partner schools decreased from 3,095 to 2,996 over the same period, though there was an increase for underrepresented minorities from 1,378 to 1,451 during that time. Gómez cautioned that at least another year's worth of data is needed before drawing any conclusions about the programs' effects on eligibility, noting that the data so far cover years in which the infrastructure of the programs was still being developed. The original goal for these programs was to double UC eligibility rates of student participants over a five-year period.

  • However, they also noted that the results of educational outreach cannot be measured in terms of UC eligibility gains alone, but also in terms of college preparation generally. Also, results about improvements in student attainment of "benchmarks" at earlier ages - such as completing algebra coursework in the ninth grade - are important. The university is in the process of collecting data on these other important performance indicators.

A written report on the status of UC's educational outreach and K-14 improvement programs is also available. An update of the outreach programs with 2001 data will be available in the spring.

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