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Chico State

‘Elevating Black Excellence’ the Focus of Tipping Point Student Success Summit

Photo illustration with three portraits that include Kimate Richards, Thembi Mawema, and Lateasha Meyers

Speakers Kimate Richards (Mechatronic Engineering, ’05) (top), Thembi Mawema (Communications Studies, ’15) (bottom, left), and Professor of African American Studies Lateasha Meyers.

The Tipping Point Student Success Summit was created to celebrate and learn from stories students often share about a person, program, or event that enabled them to persevere through challenges and achieve their academic goals.

Presented by Chico State’s Graduation Initiative Advisory Team and the academic and student affairs divisions, this annual one-day event brings faculty, staff, and administrators together to explore the data around our students’ success and to learn how innovations in teaching and support services can make a critical difference.

Tipping Point will be on January 18 from 2 to 5 p.m. in Laxson Auditorium. This year’s theme is “Elevating Black Excellence.”

“This is the first year we’ve focused on a particular student population,” said Kate McCarthy, vice provost of undergraduate education and a member of the planning committee. “There are multiple reasons for this focus, not least of which is our stated intention to be an inclusive, anti-racist campus. But at the California State University (CSU) system level, we are doing a much better job recently of disaggregating our student success data in an effort to close retention and graduation equity gaps. What that data shows is that our Black students face some of biggest challenges in successfully navigating higher education, across the CSU and here at Chico State.”

This year’s summit will be different from years past. Instead of breakout sessions and workshops, there will be presentations and discussions, followed by a gathering at Selvester’s Café to allow people to connect and continue the conversation.

Speakers include Associated Student President Autumn Alaniz-Wiggins, who will open the event by sharing data relevant to the experience of Black students at the University, as well as elements of her own and others’ stories to provide important context for that data.

Kimate Richards (Mechatronic Engineering, ’05), a senior strategic architect at Amazon Web Services and a 2023 Distinguished Alumni, will deliver a keynote address, and Thembi Mawema (Communications Studies, ’15), who is the director of The Shade Room, will facilitate a panel discussion with students who recently participated in the CSU Young Males of Color Consortium. Professor of African American Studies Lateasha Meyers will also share some of her research on Black success and well-being.

The summit’s theme allows the University community to examine equity gaps in student success and align with the CSU’s Strategic Workgroup on Black Student Success.

“When we focus on ‘Elevating Black Excellence,’ we can dig into these challenges, but also provide a showcase for the extraordinary accomplishments of our Black students and colleagues,” McCarthy said.

She said she wants attendees to take away a “richer sense of who we are as campus community and a commitment to at least one specific action that will elevate Black excellence at Chico State.”

Those who require an accommodation to attend Tipping Point or who have questions about accessibility may contact the Accessibility Resource Center at (530) 898-5959.