Umoja Black Scholars Program



Umoja, (a Kiswahili word meaning unity) is a community and critical resource dedicated to enhancing the cultural and educational experiences of African American and other students. We believe that when the voices and histories of students are deliberately and intentionally recognized, the opportunity for self-efficacy emerges and a foundation is formed for academic success.  Umoja actively serves and promotes student success for all students through a curriculum and pedagogy responsive to the legacy of the African and African American Diasporas.

The Umoja Black Scholars program at Highline College connects students and community members in order to share the cultural and educational experiences of African Americans and other students.


Umoja Black Scholars Community offers culturally relevant:

●     Academics - (Accelerated,  transferable, and aligned with your academic goal(s)).

●     Advising and Counseling - (Both academic and personal, we help you plan your success and stay motivated.)

●     Tutoring - (Individual and group tutoring connections to keep you at the on top of your game.)

●     Financial Aid/Scholarships - (assistance completing applications and connecting you to resources to make your academic dreams a reality.)


The Umoja Community Practices

All Umoja Community programs adopt 18 Core practices to support student success: 

Raising “Intentional & Deliberate”, Ethic of Love- the Affective Domain, Manifesting, Umoja Counseling: Affirming, Integrated, Intentional, The Porch, Live Learning, Language as Power, Tapping African American Intellectual, Spiritual, and Artistic Voices, Awareness of Connectedness to African Diaspora, Community-building Communal Intelligence, Acceleration- English, Math, ESL, and Counseling, Occupy Study Spaces on Campus, Mentoring, Mattering, Umoja as  Power Base, Encircling Diversity, Gifting, Everybody’s Business.

Read more about each integral practice here:

Umoja Community At-A-Glance

●      54 participating colleges in California and 1 in Washington State (Highline College)

●      Serving over 4000 students annually

Learn more about the Umoja Community

Courses Offered

Sample Annual Course Schedule

Fall Quarter

Winter Quarter

Summer Quarter

Coordinated Studies (10 CR) [Env. Science 101 & Sociology 101]

College Studies (3 CR)

English 101 (5 CR)

Communication Studies (5 CR)

Elective (2-5 CR)

Math 146 (5 CR)

Critical Thinking for Equity (5 CR)

Elective (2-5 CR)

** The classes in Bold are Core Umoja Learning Community Classes and certain sections are only offered to admitted Umoja Students.





●      You are a community college student enrolled or in the process of enrolling in classes at Highline College.

●      You have not completed the core Umoja Learning Community Classes.


How to Join Umoja

●     Fill out an interest form (select Highline from drop-down menu):

●     Apply to Highline College:

●     Attend an Umoja Information Session

●     Apply to Highline Black Scholars Program: here

●     Attend a New Student Orientation:

●     Apply for Financial Aid at Highline:


“Return and get it ”
A West African symbol of importance of learning from the past.




Advisory Group & Teaching Faculty:

Liz Word - Faculty, Communication Studies (Coordinator)

Darryl Brice, PhD -  Faculty, Sociology

Maurice Byrd, - Faculty, Business

Maurice Dolberry, PhD - Adjunct Faculty, Diversity and Global Studies

Shawna Freeman - Faculty, Business

Shijuan Haynes - Umoja Program Assistant (Alumnus, Umoja Learning Community 2)

Shane Kibler-Trimboli - Faculty, Mathematics

Tania Lopez - Assessment Advisor

Laura Manning - Faculty, Communication Studies

Michelle McClendon - Workforce Education Services

Patricia McDonald - Faculty, Education

Shon Meckfessel, PhD - Faculty, English

Aaron Modica - Faculty, Sociology

Woody Moses -  Faculty, Life, Ocean, & General Sciences

Shannon Waits - Director of Academic Assessment and Placement

Nicole Wilson - Faculty, Counseling Services


To apply, complete the application here!

For questions about the program, email


Contact Information: (primary contact)

Shijuan Haynes, Program Assistant 206-592-4470

Liz Word, Program Coordinator 206-592-4651


Interest Form (Umoja Community)>