Black and African American Support and Resources

Enhancing the Educational Experience of Black and African American Students Through Community, Culture and Mentorship

We are committed to providing a welcoming and supportive space for Black and African American students at Sierra College. With an emphasis on community, we offer engaging programs, people and resources that nurture your academic and personal growth.

Group of Black students at the Umoja table during Wolverine Week

Find Ways to Meet Your Peers

Meet other students who share your interests.

Group of Black students in graduation robes at the Sierra College Graduation ceremony

Umoja Learning Community

Support your academic and personal development through culturally relevant classes and programs.

Black instructor handing a paper to a Black student in classroom

The Village

Access counselors who understand your experiences and who can assist you in your journey by connecting you with resources you may need.

Male black student receiving student support

Resources

Find helpful resources available on and off campus to meet your needs.

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. - African Proverb

Find Ways to Meet Your Peers

Black Student Union

The Black Student Union fosters a sense of community among all students of the African Diaspora at Sierra College and to stimulate the intellectual, political, cultural, and social growth. This club is open to all Sierra College Students.

Student Clubs

Student clubs are great opportunities to develop interests and socialize. View a list of existing Rocklin Student Clubs or Nevada County Student Clubs.

Learn more about Student Clubs

Student Engagement Centers

Student Engagement Centers are where all student-scholars can engage in solidarity, empowerment, and community. The SECs offer intersectional programs and services that include and are not limited to cross cultural, LGBTQ+, and gender identities with historically marginalized, underserved, and underrepresented student-scholars. The SECs, which serve as brave spaces across our campuses and surrounding communities, provide student employment, leadership opportunities, and co-curricular programming that advance equity and inclusion of all student-scholars.

Learn more about Student Engagement Centers

Events

Community is central to Umoja and The Village. These are some of our events where we came together. Look for messages on Canvas and your email inbox for upcoming events.

  • Guest speakers
  • Conferences
  • Book readings
  • Movie screenings
  • Art/Music/Dance/Performance events
  • Business and Leadership events
  • Health and Wellbeing eventss
  • Black History Month events
  • Year End Celebration

View the Sierra College Events Calendar to learn about what’s happening on campus.

Events Calendar


Umoja Learning Community

Umoja (a Kiswahili word meaning unity) is a community at Sierra College dedicated to enhancing the cultural and educational experiences of African American and other students. We are a family that helps you navigate the college environment, provides support and mentorship, motivates you towards graduation and celebrates your whole development – body, mind and spirit.

The Umoja Learning Community is open to all students and offers a strong support system with personalized attention and culturally relevant programs. Histories and voices of the African diaspora are intentionally acknowledged and woven into the learning experience. We believe that you become empowered when your voice is recognized, which is foundational to your academic and personal success.

Umoja is a recognized Student Success Program by the California Community College Chancellor's Office. Learn more about the Umoja Statewide Community.

Our Mission

The Umoja Community seeks to:

  • Educate the whole student: body, mind and spirit
  • Engage students as full participants in the construction of knowledge and critical thought
  • Help students experience themselves as valuable and worthy of an education
  • Provide the opportunity for students to add their story to the collective stories of the African diaspora
  • Improve reading, writing, self-discipline, and critical thinking skills

Benefits of Participating in Umoja

As a part of the Umoja family, you will benefit from:

  • A strong support system and personal attention by counselors and instructors to assist with the unique challenges facing African American students
  • Integrated instruction from caring faculty
  • Peer tutoring and supplemental instruction tutoring
  • Motivational and cultural workshops
  • Campus tours
  • Participation in the Umoja Community statewide events

How to Apply

  1. Fill out and turn in the Umoja Application Form.
  2. Complete the introduction interview with program faculty.
  3. Participate in the Umoja orientation.

Complete the Umoja Application Contact Umoja Coordinator

Requirements

  • You are expected to attend at least one Umoja counseling appointment each semester.
  • You are expected to participate in Umoja-led/-sponsored activities, including planning and facilitation.
  • You are expected to maintain a 2.0 GPA each semester, and be willing to accept assistance if you fall below a 2.0 GPA.

Learning Community Classes

The Umoja program provides specialized learning programs designed to help students gain a solid foundation to succeed in college.

Semester Department Course Units Title
Fall Personal Development PDEV 1 3 College and Life Success
English ENGL 1A 4 College Reading, Writing and Research
Skill Development SKDV 10 1 How to Be a Successful Online Student
Ethnic Studies ETHN 20 3 Introduction to African American Studies
Spring Personal Development PDEV 6 3 Career and Life Success
English ENGL 1B 3 Critical Thinking: Writing About Literature
English ENGL 1C 3 Critical Thinking: Writing Across Curriculum
Ethnic Studies ETHN 50 3 Ethnic Images in Film
Sociology SOC 3 3 Race, Ethnicity and Inequality
Fall Communication COMM 1 3 Public Speaking
Anthropology ANTH 2 3 Cultural Anthropology and the African Diaspora
Environmental Sciences and Sustainability ESS 1 3 Intro to Environmental Sciences and Sustainability

Meet Our Team

Tonya Times portrait

Tonya Times
Umoja Learning Community Coordinator, Earth & Environmental Studies Interest Area Counselor, Instructor
Email: ttimes@sierracollege.edu

Hello Sierra College Scholar. My name is Tonya N. Times and I have been at Sierra College since 2013 as a Counselor and Instructor. I have also served as the Coordinator for the Umoja Learning Community, co-advised our Black Student Union (BSU), and have been a part of many Sierra College initiatives and groups promoting equity and inclusion on our campus.

My educational journey had not been a straight path. It had many stops, turns and detours – but I made it. While going to school, I transitioned from a student with very little outside responsibilities to a married woman and a working mother of two children! I can appreciate the many struggles students face. I honor the stories of all students and I hope my experiences can help others.

I believe in the value of education. I have seen firsthand how education can change a life, a family, a community. My soul is satisfied when I assist students, especially Black students and students of color, in reaching their academic goals.

I describe myself as an introvert with extrovert tendencies. I enjoy being with my family and friends. I love listening to live music, TV, good food, laughing out loud, traveling and being by the water – especially a beach! And then my introversion kicks in, and I need a minute to disconnect and recharge. I still do all the things I love – but on a solo trip! I have learned to respect the importance of self-care!

I am looking forward to meeting and working with you!

Hear What Students Have to Say about the Umoja Learning Community 

 

 

"I joined Umoja because I wanted to feel that sense of belonging and I wanted to have that community behind me. There's nothing like being around your own people. Secondly, I wanted to utilize the campus resources. There's a lot of things that I didn't know coming into college. If it wasn't for the fact that I had people that knew those things to help me, I probably wouldn't have gotten as far as I did. Thirdly, there's nothing like having a mentor. Take advantage!"

- Anthony Lowe, Umoja participant and graduate


"Your professors will know your name and they'll make sure that you're doing great in all your classes. If you're struggling, they're there for you. I feel like that is what made Umoja special for me. The students within Umoja are all so friendly. It's like one big family at school."

- Kaysha, Umoja participant and graduate


The Village

The Village is a community of counselors who intentionally focus on the success of Black and African American students at Sierra College. The foundation of our mission is building community and fostering relationships with you.

We are committed to honoring you where you are and providing timely support for you to accomplish your academic, career, and personal goals.

We're Here to Help

  • Prospective and New Students. Whether you're uncertain about college or haven't yet applied to attend Sierra College, our counselors in The Village can help answer any questions or concerns you may have. 

  • Current Students. Whether The Village is in your Sierra Connect network or not, you are welcome to reach out to our counselors in The Village via email or by scheduling a counseling appointment online to meet with them.

The Village is  committed to creating spaces where you will be valued, seen and validated for your contributions in the classroom, campus and community.

What We Offer

  • Culturally relevant, sensitive counseling and support.
  • Connection with professionals who know and understand your journey and experiences.
  • Overall support to assist you in your journey by connecting you with resources you may need, such as financial aid.
  • If we can't help you, we will take out the guesswork by connecting you directly with staff and resources who can.

Meet Our Village Team Counselors

Tonya Times portrait

Tonya Times
Umoja Learning Community Coordinator, Earth & Environmental Studies Interest Area Counselor, Instructor
Email: ttimes@sierracollege.edu

Hello Sierra College Scholar. My name is Tonya N. Times and I have been at Sierra College since 2013 as a Counselor and Instructor. I have also served as the Coordinator for the Umoja Learning Community, co-advised our Black Student Union (BSU), and have been a part of many Sierra College initiatives and groups promoting equity and inclusion on our campus.

My educational journey had not been a straight path. It had many stops, turns and detours – but I made it. While going to school, I transitioned from a student with very little outside responsibilities to a married woman and a working mother of two children! I can appreciate the many struggles students face. I honor the stories of all students and I hope my experiences can help others.

I believe in the value of education. I have seen firsthand how education can change a life, a family, a community. My soul is satisfied when I assist students, especially Black students and students of color, in reaching their academic goals.

I describe myself as an introvert with extrovert tendencies. I enjoy being with my family and friends. I love listening to live music, TV, good food, laughing out loud, traveling and being by the water – especially a beach! And then my introversion kicks in, and I need a minute to disconnect and recharge. I still do all the things I love – but on a solo trip! I have learned to respect the importance of self-care!

I am looking forward to meeting and working with you!

Allisha Crockett portrait

Allisha Crockett
NextUp Counseling Assistant
Email: crockett@sierracollege.edu 

I am an alumnus of Sierra College, CSU, Sacramento and a current graduate student at San Diego State University, earning a Master of Arts degree in Educational Counseling with a concentration in Mental Health Recovery, Restorative Justice, and Informed Trauma Care. As a first-generation college student, I appreciate the opportunity to shift the trajectory of my family’s legacy through higher education and generational healing.

As a native Californian, I thoroughly enjoy spending intentional moments outside in nature, especially where old trees are rooted and on a beach with clear water. Listening to live and new music are one of my favorite past times with family, friends and/or solo! I absolutely love all things art, creating and appreciating in various medias.

My passion to serve humans has driven my pursuit in higher education as a future Counselor in the community college network. Currently, I have the honor in serving as the Counseling Assistant for the NextUp Program in student services supporting former foster youth and contributing to the empowering advancement of scholars on the Rocklin campus.

I am looking forward to connecting and cultivating community in togetherness!

Aaron Lawrence portrait

Aaron Lawrence
Student Support Services Counselor
Email: alawrence5@sierracollege.edu 

I have been a counselor at Sierra College since 2014. I was born and raised in Sacramento but earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from University of Alaska and my Masters in Counseling from Cal State Fullerton. Some things I like to do outside of work are travel, exercise and try different types of food!

I became a counselor because I love to help students plan and work toward their goals. Whether they are personal, academic, social or career goals, it takes both vision and planning to get there. I look forward to working with you ALL on that process!

Wayne Robinson portrait

Wayne Robinson
Student Support Services Counselor, Instructor
Email: wrobinson4@sierracollege.edu 

I have been working as a Counseling faculty and instructor at Sierra College since 2015. During this time, I have assisted in the creation and coordination of the Black Excellence (formerly Black Men of Excellence) cohort of the RISE program, co-chaired our Faculty Equity Task Force, co-created the Equity and Inclusion curriculum, and co-advised our Black Student Union (BSU).

Prior to working at Sierra College, I worked for 10 years at the Sacramento Children’s Home and another eight years with the Sacramento County Office of Education. I've earned a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from CSU, Sacramento and a Master’s degree in Educational Counseling with a Pupil Personnel Services Credential from National University. Working with Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) students is an extension of who I am and provides the opportunity to advocate and stand with individuals who have been marginalized by our educational system in any number of ways.

Away from work, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I am married and have three children and one grandchild. I’m also a huge sports fan (basketball, boxing, football, baseball). Once again, I am excited to have the opportunity to help facilitate your success at Sierra College.



Campus and Community Resources

Academic, Career, Personal and Crisis Counseling: Whether you want to discuss your educational goals, career or job options, or need short-term mental health counseling, our counselors can help.

Basic Needs Resources: Learn more about assistance funds/emergency aid, food access, health and wellness resources, housing, technology and transportation.

Career and Transfer Center: Access resources and guidance for transferring to a four-year college, participating in internship opportunities, or preparing for a career.

Financial Aid: Learn more about scholarships, book vouchers, grants, Two Years Free, student employment opportunities, student assistance funds.

Student Health Services: Our Health Services emphasize health education, prevention, and early intervention. Services include immunizations, health screenings, and family planning/birth control. 

Student Success Center: Our support specialists can help direct you to relevant resources for your situation and interests.

Student Services: Find a comprehensive list of helpful resources at Sierra.

Transfer and Four-Year Colleges


Wellness and Personal Assistance

  • Aunt Bertha (FindHelp.org): A free tool to help find financial assistance, food pantries, medical care, help paying bills, and other free or reduced cost programs, including new programs for the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Cal Voices: Dedicated to improving the lives of residents in the diverse communities of California through advocacy, education, research, and culturally relevant services.
  • Safe Black Space: Offering Safe Black Space Community Healing Circles on a monthly basis across Sacramento, as well as advocating locally and demanding justice in instances of racism and oppression.


Employment, Business and Leadership

  • Greater Sacramento Urban League: Provides under-represented youth and adults with educational, career training and employment opportunities in order to achieve economic self-reliance.
  • Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce: A network of business professionals working together to improve the economic, cultural, and civic well-being of the African American community.

Contact Us

Tonya Times, MS
Email: ttimes@sierracollege.edu
Phone: (916) 660-7415