Engaging Administrators, Presidents, Vice-Presidents, Chief Business Officers

Over the years Administrators, Presidents, Vice-Presidents and Trustees have engaged in actions to support the expansion of undocumented students following the Vision for Success as a guiding star. Efforts have included expanding services for students through counseling, workshops, financial aid and scholarship assistance, emergency fund referrals, internships or fellowships, and community collaborations to support students. Colleges have increased faculty and staff professional development to understand the needs of undocumented students further. Some colleges have expanded their footprint and created a dedicated webpage to provide an avenue to share information and resources with students. Establishing an Undocumented Student Center on campus allows centralized services for students (counseling, workshops, and activities). In addition, a physical location creates a safe space for students and supports their overall retention and success.

College leaders have opportunities to lead their colleges in developing and creating programs and services that meet the needs of this student population. There are many ways to navigate the campus environment to inform and introduce ideas/action plans. The shared governance structure allows students and campus constituencies to provide input related to areas that will promote and support activities for undocumented students. Within this structure, some colleges have formed a working group, local advisory committee taskforces or advisory committees to review undocumented student data (AB 540, CADAA and UndocuDashboards), conduct student surveys, and make recommendations. 

Growing up undocumented, college was never an option for various reasons. One, because I could not afford it. And two, because my 24 hours were not the same as my more affluent peers. Working multiple jobs, commuting via public transportation and taking care of my family and their needs, there was no time for college. I would think to myself, “Where do I fit classes, studying, work, my family’s needs, and time for myself?”

Perla Gonzalez Ramirez, UndocuScholar, Attended Mt. Sac 

Recommendations and promising practices for administrators shared by Colleges and CCC Advisory Committee include:

  1. Constant communication to all your college students, faculty and staff about your UndocuLiaison and legislative updates to make sure everyone is informed of constant changes
    • Promising Practices:
      • Sending a campus wide email to inform your campus community and students of the UndocuLiaison for your college. 
      •  Auto Messages Examples

  1. Dedicate a full-time UndocuLiaison position to coordinate activities and develop services to improve learning, experience, and success.
    • Promising Practices: 
      • Hiring is a local decision. However, as part of our equity work, we have seen the advantage of having a content expert supporting and serving undocumented students and students from mixed immigration status. In addition, the Dreamers Project Report highlights the need for dedicated stakeholders, staff, and space at each campus to provide services and support for undocumented students.
      • Commencing with the 2020–21 academic year, AB 1645 requires California Community Colleges to designate a Dreamer Resource Liaison (UndocuLiaison) on each of their respective campuses, as specified, to assist students meeting specified requirements, including undocumented students, by streamlining access to all available financial aid, social services, state-funded immigration legal services, internships, externships, and academic opportunities for those students. By requiring community colleges to designate a Dreamer Resource Liaison, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program. The bill would encourage those institutions to establish Dream Resource Centers and would authorize those centers to provide specified support services.
      • For your reference, we are highlighting colleges that have chosen to hire full-time benefited coordinator or director UndocuLiaison positions. Some of the responsibilities of the UndocuLiaisons include but are not limited to provide retention support, case management, outreach, advising, coaching, as well as administrative support for the Undocumented Student Centers. Institutionalizing UndocuLiaison positions will provide stability and sustainability for undocumented student efforts. The Dream Resource Liaison Support Allocation is intended to be ongoing and is funded by Proposition 98.
      • UndocuLiaison Job Postings Examples

  1. Develop a clear action plan around student funding to make sure your college offers equitable opportunities for undocumented students. 

  1. Develop and promote UndocuAlly Training and professional development for all your campus faculty, staff, students and administrators and trustees. 
    • Promising Practices:
      • Start by promoting the Supporting Undocumented Student Learning Module open to all CCC faculty, staff and administrators in the Visions Resource Center.  The 45-minute module provides a basic common understanding of undocumented students in our system. The module highlights strategies and promising practices to support undocumented students. We encourage practitioners to complete the learning module before an UndocuAlly Training to create a basic understanding of terminology commonly used when supporting undocumented students. Access the module at visionresourcecenter.cccco.edu
      • Promote Profesional Development opportunities for your campus staff (including student assistants) and faculty. Student assistants are often the first contact when UndocuScholars encounter student services windows. Everyone on campus should be trained to understand and refer undocumented students without having them disclose their status in public spaces.
      • Formalize an Undocumented Student Advisory Committee or task force for your campus. 
      • All departments and divisions have a responsibility to implement equitable practices to support undocumented students, not only UndocuLiaisons or UndocuCenters. Undocumented Student Support Services intersects with many different divisions/departments. An Undocumented Student Taskforce that includes students,  administrators, faculty, counseling, and staff from admissions, financial aid, outreach, business office, foundation, and other key departments is highly encouraged. 

  1. Prioritize Undocumented Student Center’s “safe spaces” and program evaluation. E-Handbook Chapter on Undocumented Student Centers coming soon.    

  1. Develop or update policies on campus to comply with California and national legislation

  1. Implement Board Policies in Support of Undocumented Students

  1. Disaggregate equity data to evaluate student outcomes for undocumented students. In addition, continue equitably tracking and monitoring student progress to close equity gaps and fulfill the CO Vision for Success. 

  1. Provide, promote and participate in holistic and intentional support to undocumented students that include access to immigration legal services, counseling, financial assistance, mental health services, food pantries, student leadership. Promote the creation of monthly workshops (transfer, CA Dream Act, career opportunities, scholarships, etc., and follow-up), resources, websites, and materials for the undocumented student experience. Best practices will be shared in upcoming chapters 

As leaders, it is essential to stay informed about new and existing policies that need to be expanded or modified in order to comply with any mandates from the Chancellor’s Office.  We also encourage you to identify areas of integration that can support the Undocumented Students initiatives (Counseling, EOPS/CARE, Noncredit, Foster Youth Programs, Umoja ESL, etc.)