AAP research program renamed to honor Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter and John Huggins, Jr.

The Academic Advancement Program (AAP)’s Community Development and Social Justice Program has been renamed to honor John Huggins, Jr. and Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter, two Bruins who fought for community and justice at UCLA.

The program is now called the Carter-Huggins Community Development and Social Justice Program. The Afrikan Student Union advocated for the change.

The Community Development and Social Justice (CDSJ) Program provides AAP undergraduate juniors and seniors with a service learning opportunity that integrates research and community-based practice in preparation for graduate study in social welfare, public policy, urban planning, and public health. Additionally, students are paired with an AAP Graduate Mentor who provides mentorship in their personal and academic development as well as advisement on the graduate school application process.

Carter and Huggins were both murdered during a meeting of the Black Student Union in Campbell Hall on January 17, 1969. AAP commemorates their deaths every year at the Carter-Huggins Annual Memorial, and the new name was announced at this year’s memorial on Jan. 19.

Charles Alexander, associate vice provost for student diversity and director of AAP, said paying tribute to Carter and Huggins by renaming the program after them was long overdue.

“They both were students working to bring diversity and a new perspective to higher education as it relates to social justice and inclusion,” Alexander said.

This scholarship is appropriate to be named after Carter and Huggins because they always prioritized working for the community, and the CDSJ program encourages doing research in the same communities to make impactful change, said Alexandria Davis, fourth year political science and African American studies major and ASU chairperson.

“It was important to my staff and I because without John Huggins or Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter’s activism and sacrifice we as Black students probably couldn’t attend UCLA or do the work that we do,” Davis said. “These men were members of the High Potential Program that got more Black students to attend UCLA and became what we know as the Academic Advancement Program, which directly serves our community.”

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New data shows Academic Advancement Program is closing achievement gaps

Research conducted by the Academic Advancement Program (AAP) has found that students in AAP have higher graduation rates compared to the overall underrepresented minority student population at UCLA – evidence that AAP is helping to close achievement gaps between underrepresented minority students and non-underrepresented students.

AAP provides academic support for first generation, low-income and students who have been historically underrepresented in higher education through mentoring, workshops, research programs, counseling, scholarships, peer-facilitated learning, and more.

AAP’s Assessment, Research and Evaluation team analyzed graduation rates, breaks and stops in enrollment, and GPAs of AAP students of freshmen standing that entered UCLA in fall 2012 (a total of 989 students). Of the students in the 2012 cohort, 70 percent graduated in four years, 87 percent graduated in 5 years and 89 percent graduated in 6 years.

The five-year graduation rate of AAP students was only 5 percent lower than that of non-underrepresented students. This is a smaller gap than the general underrepresented minority student population (including both AAP and non-AAP students), in which the five-year graduation rate was 8 percent lower than non-underrepresented students.

At the six-year graduation rate, AAP students again performed better than the general underrepresented minority population. The graduation rate was just 3 percent shy of the non-underrepresented population, compared to 7 percent lower among the general underrepresented minority population.

Charles Alexander, associate vice provost for student diversity and director of AAP, said AAP has been on a quest to evaluate and assess its students’ progress and graduation rates for the last four years. The data will help identify areas in which AAP can provide academic and student support services in a more targeted manner.

“I believe the increase in graduation rates for underrepresented minorities have to do with quarterly monitoring of academic progress by our counselors and being able to provide support services such as peer learning, emergency crisis support, and financial assistance,” he said.

AAP Alum Featured on Fox 11 Los Angeles

Academic Advancement Program alumna Ashley Williams ’12 was featured in a Fox 11 Los Angeles news segment honoring anchor Christine Devine. The Drew Child Development Corporation honored Devine at its “It Takes a Village Awards” for her work advocating for foster youth through her weekly segment “Wednesday’s Child,” which profiled local foster youth. Williams was one of the children featured on Wednesday’s Child and was ultimately adopted by a couple who saw her on the show, and her father made a surprise appearance at Devine’s award ceremony.

After being adopted, Williams went on to graduate from UCLA and received her law degree from Southwestern Law School. While at UCLA, she was a leader on campus. She co-founded the UCLA Bruin Guardian Scholars program and was a  Sidley & Austin Pre-Law Initiative Scholar, UCLA Law Fellows Scholar, and UCLA Afrikan Graduation Co-Chair, among other leadership positions.

Associate vice provost Charles Alexander selected to contribute to Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research selected UCLA associate vice provost for student diversity Charles Alexander as a contributor for the 2020 Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health.

The report will document key issues, progress, challenges and opportunities in oral health in the United States. It is commissioned by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of the Surgeon General, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the U.S. Public Health Service’s Oral Health Coordinating Committee.

Kathryn Atchison, professor in the UCLA School of Dentistry’s Division of Public Health and Community Dentistry, is serving as a section editor on the report and invited Alexander to join the team that is contributing a section titled Oral Health Integration, Workforce and Practice. He will submit material and text on “Pipeline Programs to Increase Underrepresented Minorities in Dental Schools.”

The last Surgeon General’s report on oral health was published in 2000, and “generated a lot of buzz in dentistry,” Alexander said. The report’s findings led to millions of dollars being pumped into efforts to improve recruitment and diversity in the field, access to care, and curriculum reform. Now, 20 years later, the goal of the new report is to see if these efforts had a lasting impact.

“In 2000, less than four percent of dental practitioners were African American, five percent were Latino and less than one percent were Native American,” Alexander said. “How far have we come?”

Alexander has long been a champion for pipeline programs and increasing diversity in dental schools. He is currently an associate adjunct professor in the UCLA School of Dentistry and previously served as an associate dean for admissions and student affairs at UC San Francisco, where he directed the Dental Careers program.

“I’m excited to contribute to this important document that is evidence-based and that heightens the issue to create more diversity in the dental profession,” Alexander said.