Ujima Scholars Program

Scholars Program
Program Responsibilities
Reflection from a Ujima Scholar

The Ujima Scholars Program

A commitment to success

Through a strong partnership between the John D. O'Bryant African-African American Institute, the Department of African-American Studies and Residential and Cultural Life, the Ujima Scholars Program provides a structured, supportive, and creative learning environment that engages students in scholarly work and enhances their motivation and determination to achieve academic, career and personal success.

Founded in 1972, the Ujima Scholars Program aims to retain students through their first year and prepare them to be accepted into the major of their choice as sophomores. The program also provides academic and cultural support beyond that pivotal first year to ensure students earn their undergraduate degrees. The Program staff work in conjunction with colleges, departments and key offices throughout the University to accomplish these goals.

The Ujima Scholars program takes its name from the Swahili word "Ujima" meaning "collective work and responsibility," which represents a guiding principle for its participants. Toward this end, the program places heavy emphasis on academic excellence, personal development, role modeling, mentoring, cultural awareness, and major transfer preparation. In addition to meeting the general responsibilities of the program, we seek students with the following qualities:

  • A sincere interest in Northeastern University
  • Collective work and responsibility (Swahili principle of UJIMA)
  • High motivation, strong determination and great academic potential
  • Strong leadership potential
  • A healthy appreciation and respect for cultural differences
  • A substantive interest in community engagement and social responsibiliy

Ujima Scholars Program Responsibilities

Students sign a contract agreeing to comply with Ujima program policies. According to the terms of that contract, students must adhere to the following requirements:

*Academic Achievement Efforts: Students are expected to achieve and sustain excellent academic standing.

Academic, Career, and Personal Counseling: Students receive all freshman year advising through the Ujima Scholars Program. Referrals are made to University and external sources when appropriate. Each Ujima Scholar is assigned a counselor who provides academic, career, and personal counseling. In addition, through the Peer Mentoring Program, upper-class students, faculty, and staff assist and support freshmen with their college transition. Ujima Alumni also help prepare students for college and job success.

Scholars must complete successfully four college courses per semester based on selected major:

Fall Semester Semester Hours
Introduction to African-American Studies 4.0
Math 4.0
Core/Elective 4.0
Core/Elective 4.0
Spring Semester Semester Hours
College Writing 4.0
Math or Elective 4.0
Core Elective 4.0
Core Elective 4.0

*Introducation to African-American Studies Course: Explores several of the possible historical, sociological, cultural, and political avenues of study in the broad interdisciplinary spectrum of African-American studies. Provides an introductory overview of the field and offers an opportunity to identify areas for more specific focus.

Group Study Program: Students must participate in two (2) hour group study sessions each week. This program builds study habits; strengthens preparation for classroom participation, tests, and quizzes; and gives students a chance to get help with their assignments from peers, tutors and faculty.

*Tutorial Assistance: Students who want help in a specific subject area can take advantage of free tutoring services at the Institute and other areas on campus. From the second week of classes to final exams, graduate students provide tutorial assistance in most subjects including biology, business, chemistry, economics, English, math, and physics.

*Weekly Meetings: Ujima Scholars are required to meet with a Ujima counselor/advisor on a weekly basis to insure their awareness and connection to available resources, and to receive course advising, encouragement, and support.

*Group Meetings: Students must attend biweekly meetings that offer strategies for dealing with various aspects of the academic experience at Northeastern.

Topics covered include choosing and declaring major, cooperative education/experiential learning, studying abroad, undergraduate link to graduate school, college success strategies, connecting to college majors/careers, financial aid, community service opportunities, cultural connectivity, and academic achievement recognition.

*Class Attendance: Students are required to attend all classes to insure their academic success.

*Community Service: Ujima Scholars must complete thirty (30) hours of community service to enhance their involvement in the community and educational, career, cultural, social, and personal growth.

*Sports: Students must refrain from competing in intercollegiate sports for entire freshman year.

*Events: Ujima Scholars are expected to attend several events sponsored by the John D. O’Bryant African-American Institute and the broader University communities to further enhance their educational, career, cultural, social, and personal development.

*Conduct: Students are expected to maintain respectful behavior and a positive attitude towards their fellow peers, staff, faculty, and others, and conduct themselves in accordance with the Northeastern University Student Code of Conduct to avoid probation, suspension, or expulsion from the University.

*Petition to Major: Ujima Scholars petition to their selected major in the spring semester of their freshman year. Students are eligible to transfer into major if their performance during freshman year meets the criteria for selection into that major.

*Mission: Students are expected to embrace the mission of the John D. OBryant African-American Institute and the principle of Ujima, collective work and responsibility, by consistently adhering to the responsibilities as outlined.

Reflection from a Ujima Scholar

“The Ujima Scholars Program has served as a resource academically and professionally. The Program has continued to surround me with individuals who have my best interest in mind. The Program has greatly influenced my personal and academic development with counselors and tutors readily available to help me and students who are more than willing to provide me with any assistance I need.”

Douglas McEachern, Class of 2010, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Major

For more information about the John D. O’Bryant African-American Institute and the Ujima Scholars Program, please call 617.373.4912.