Program Overview

The Sankofa Scholars Program supports the retention and graduation of our first-year, continuing, and transfer African American Students

“Sankofa” is a word of the Akan language that teaches us that we must go back to our roots in order to move forward. That is, we should reach back and gather the best of what our past has to teach us, so that we can achieve our full potential as we move forward. Whatever we have lost, forgotten, forgone or been stripped of, can be reclaimed, revived, preserved and perpetuated.

-W.E.B DuBois Learning Center


As stated in “The State of Blacks in Higher Education in California” California is home to the fifth largest number of Blacks in the nation. Across all 3 public sectors of higher education; community colleges, California State University and University of California, blacks have the lowest completion rates for both first time freshman and transfer students.  At CSUEB, the three-year graduation rate for Black first time transfer students (2009 cohort) is 42.1% compared to 66.5% for their white peers. Sankofa has demonstrated effectiveness in improving the retention and success of African American students.

Program Description 

Sankofa is an innovative access and retention program that aims to smooth the process of transition for community college transfer students to Cal State East Bay (CSUEB) and increase the baccalaureate degree attainment of program participants.  Sankofa supports its students and addresses the challenges they face as they enter CSUEB.  Sankofa enables students to integrate their home identities with their school identity by creating a sense of community within the cohort.  Sankofa is open to all students.  It provides a supportive learning environment that focuses on African American and multicultural content.
Students in Sankofa will participate in a one-year cohort educational experience that includes intensive counseling and mentoring. Students will complete their upper division GE requirements (B6, C4, D4, CGW) by taking three successive courses during their first year at Cal State East Bay.  African American Faculty who are committed to student success will teach Sankofa courses.  As Sankofa students continue at Cal State East Bay, they will be encouraged to serve as role models, to mentor future students, and to promote CSUEB as a welcoming and inclusive institution.
Sankofa is a learning community designed to support transfer students and to increase academic and personal success. This program addresses students' needs through academic support services and a curriculum focused on African-American themes, topics, and issues. Sankofa is for students who are serious about getting a good education, willing to work hard, and want to study the topics covered in our course content. Sankofa students will gain the tools for greater persistence, resiliency, and success in the university environment. The benefits from Sankofa include:

  • Fostering high self-confidence through development of a program community.
  • Developing critical thinking, reading, and writing skills that are needed for college and future career success.
  • Researching occupational interest through various sources.
  • Receiving individual and group access to counselors, college workshops, guest speakers, and mentors.


​Sankofa coursework supports and strengthens the academic skills and cultural knowledge of participants by focusing on African American and multi-cultural content in courses. Sankofa also provides culturally responsive support services that promote student success and retention.  Students participate in a year-long upper division cohort-based learning community that consists of general education courses and a Transfer Success Seminar.  This seminar helps students to connect with other transfer students, to learn the new environment, to find resources for success, to explore majors and career interests, and to develop strategies for getting involved on campus.  At the completion of the first year, Sankofa participants will have completed all of their upper division GE breadth requirements.


​Sankofa students will work one-on-one with an assigned counselor who will guide them through the many components of student life at CSUEB.  The counselor will assist students in clarifying their academic, career, financial, and personal concerns.  Counselors assist students with course selection and academic advising, as well as facilitating workshops on various topics.

Program Requirements

  • Must be an incoming transfer student in Fall 2018
  • Must make a full commitment to the Sankofa program for one academic year
  • Must enroll in one required upper division GE course per quarter during the first year
  • Must enroll in a one-unit Sankofa Transfer Success Seminar every quarter during the first year
  • Must meet with a Sankofa counselor at least two times per quarter

Benefits To Students 

Sankofa students will receive the following benefits:
  • Complete upper-division General Education (GE) requirements (B6, C4, D4, and CGW) in a cohort during your first year at CSUEB
  • Learn strategies for success in university and life
  • Enhance academic skills
  • Receive counseling
  • Participate in tutoring, and financial aid workshops
  • *Students with majors in Ethnic Studies, Sociology or Kinesiology will not fulfill all three upper division GE requirements in SANKOFA but will instead have some of their SANKOFA coursework count toward their major. We believe the benefits for all students is equal in that all students participate and bond with their cohort and make progress toward their degree, either by fulfilling GE and/or major requirements. 


Mentors Mentors help Sankofa students to make a successful transition to CSUEB and to develop plans for future success.  Sankofa students are paired with a mentor who can answer questions and refer students to resources that will help them to reach their full potential.  Mentors also organize activities designed to help Sankofa students get connected, and learn what’s needed to succeed at CSUEB.