The UC Links Mission
UC Links is a network of university and community partners, working together to develop innovative after-school programs. UC Links sites bring underserved P-12 youth together with university students in guided activities that engage their minds and connect them to each other, their communities, and the world around them.
UC Links works to:
- Prepare P-12 young people for higher learning.
- Improve undergraduate and graduate education.
- Build sustainable university-community partnerships.
The UC Links Strategy
Each UC Links site location is a collaboration among local community, school, and university partners. Participating university faculty teach practicum coursework that places their students at local after-school sites and engages them in integrating academic concepts and theory with real-world experience in community settings.
At each site, UC Links partners use digital and hands-on resources to create innovative learning activities for local young people, who take part in these activities, guided by undergraduates, to stir their enthusiasm for higher learning. UC Links partners carry out and evaluate these activities locally and also share ideas and experiences with other UC Links sites in different localities. Together, we contribute to an increased understanding of effective learning activities for underserved youth from diverse backgrounds.
Since 1996, UC Links has worked as a collaborative community-university network to sustain quality after-school programs that help prepare underserved youth for higher learning and lifelong achievement. Originally based on the Fifth Dimension and La Clase Mágica programs, UC Links’ approaches to after-school learning now include a wide array of program approaches and strategies that make use of new digital media and other innovative educational resources.
Since 2005, UC Links has been part of the University of California's Student Academic Preparation and Educational Partnerships (SAPEP) programs. UC Links fulfills a strategic niche in SAPEP -- focusing on the earliest stage of the academic pipeline to prepare diverse K-8 students from underserved communities across California for higher learning. Each year, UC Links implements SAPEP's program impact and accountability guidelines, as mandated by the State of California and the UC Office of the President.
As a network of programs, UC Links has grown from 14 sites in 1996-97 to 29 sites in 2020-21. Over time, UC Links has served over 50,000 young people in diverse, historically marginalized communities throughout California.