Sac State offers new educational hub for students

Jasmine Alston

Sacramento State’s Peer and Academic Resource Center and Student Academic Success Program offer a new educational hub, dubbed the MLK Center, for students to study as well as learn about the variety of cultures on campus.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Scholars Center will be a place for students to come if they need academic assistance. Students are welcomed to attend the center for the tutoring and peer advising services from the PARC.

Dr. Marcellene L. Watson-Derbigny, associate vice president of the Student Academic Success and Educational Equity Programs, assisted with the development of the MLK Center.

“The new MLK Center was proposed as a part of the work of the Campus Educational Equity Committee, which later formed to comprise a task force on African-American student success,” Watson-Derbigny said.

Dr. Tina Jordan, director of the PARC, envisioned the new center as being a place for community engagement between African-American/black faculty and students. The center will be a place to support the graduation incentive for all African-American/black students.

“The legacy of the center is to develop student critical and cultural competence for everyone,” Jordan said.

The center also examines achievement, views intercultural communication and teaches students how to navigate throughout the school system academically, she said.

The MLK Center will offer an Academic Strategies course that will focus on subjects like: general study skills, critical thinking and writing; exam preparation and time management. The one-unit course will be a credit/no credit class counted towards the 120 units needed to graduate.

Aisha Engle, SI leader for the course, worked alongside her peers to present what resources would be needed by students from the center.

The center will be a community for organizations like the McNair and Cooper-Woodson scholars as well as a safe place to contribute to the needs of African-American/black students, Engle said.

The leadership program, MLK Scholars, will be offered for students interested in volunteering at the center. The volunteers will work with faculty on improving student success for students of color attending Sac State.

Brent Clark, a tutor of PARC, helps to organize events and workshops that connect students with different academic support.

“I think students will benefit on campus with having a place that feels like home,” Clark said.

Clark also said there is value in seeing people who look like you in places of achievement and authority. He believes it is a good way to bring black faculty and students together.

The developing workshops will master individual health and wellness, and will speak upon various topics having to do with real life issues students can relate to culturally, academically and socially.

“The opening of the new center represents a distinct opportunity for the campus and its diverse student body to learn more about the historical, cultural and legacy underpinnings that have shaped the journey to higher education thus far for many of our students coming from under served communities,” Watson-Derbigny said.

The center is open to all faculty, staff and students. To get involved with the MLK Scholars program, visit the PARC office in Lassen Hall on the second floor or visit

The center will also host a forum October 5 with the theme, “Purpose, Passion & Pursuit: Achievement and Action.” The event will take place in the University Union from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.