Growing arts and humanities faculty and students

By San Diego Community College District

A fellowship program aims to diversify arts and humanities faculty and administrators

By his own reckoning, Kevan Malone was not a serious student growing up. He rarely read. Studying was barely an afterthought. He enlisted in the Marine Corps right after high school. Today, Malone is a doctoral candidate at UC San Diego – the type of person with the type of background the San Diego Community College District (SDCCD) is interested in hiring.

Malone is part of the first cohort of UC San Diego doctoral candidates taking part in an ambitious program funded through an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant aiming to grow the number of community college students studying and finding careers in the arts and humanities. Called the PATH Integrated Internship Initiative, the effort is the latest chapter in and complements an expanding Preparing Accomplished Transfers to the Humanities (PATH) program initially launched in 2016 to expand the number and diversity of community college students transferring to UC San Diego or other four-year colleges and universities to study the arts and humanities.

“The overall goal is not only to diversify the pool of transfer students in the arts and humanities to UC San Diego and elsewhere, but to also expand the diversity of students interested in teaching or working in the community colleges,” said SDCCD PATH Program Activity Manager Krystal Henderson. “These fellows are phenomenal. They are engaged in research, they are engaged in mentoring our students, and they are helping a diverse pool of community college scholars navigate the transfer process. These are exactly the type of educators and mentors we want to work at the San Diego Community College District.”

Why the humanities? Henderson noted that students studying the humanities develop skills that can be applied effectively to any other pursuit, skills that are increasingly valued by corporations, nonprofits, and governmental organizations interested in hiring well-rounded citizens who can adapt to a variety of sectors.

Fellows guest lecture this year with faculty coordinators shadow college administrators, and mentor community college students to support them in applying for transfer while exposing them to the invaluable resources. Malone (City College), Kevan Antonio Aguilar (Mesa College) and Beatriz Ramirez (Miramar College) conduct the majority of their fellowship activities at their respective college, in addition to participating in districtwide initiatives.

Malone is sold. “My educational journey has been a bit unconventional,” said the Integrated Internship Initiative fellow who discovered reading while assigned to a ship in the Marines and later pedaled on a bike across much of the United States and Mexico. “But my experience as a community college student had a profound impact and is why I’m committed to the community college mission and would like to teach at a community college, especially one like City.”

The PATH program began in the fall of 2016 when the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded UC San Diego and the SDCCD a $2.59 million, three-year grant to support an ambitious proposal with the main goals of identify potential transfer students in the humanities; provide supportive skills during their transition; and ensure that they graduate with appropriate and essential skills to successfully enter the workforce. To date, the grant has resulted in scores of SDCCD students transferring to UCSD and attending a five-week Summer Academy to prepare them for their university experience. Approximately 60% of students come from underrepresented communities.

Phase II, as a result of an additional $2.7 million in January 2021, is kicking it up a notch by introducing UC San Diego Arts and Humanities Ph.D. students to a range of academic leadership positions in the SDCCD. In particular, fellows are encouraged to learn about career pathways and how their careers would support the transfer mission of community colleges. The fellowship consists of guest lecturing and job shadowing of faculty; shadowing SDCCD administrators and, mentoring SDCCD students with an emphasis on transfer guidance and career preparation.

The second year of the Integrated Internship Initiative for Ph.D. Students will begin with an expanded cohort of six in Fall 2021.

Learn more about the fellows here.


San Diego Community College District

is located in San Diego, California.