The Institutional Impact of the Undocumented Student Working Group's UndocuAlly Training Series

Undocumented Student Working Group Cal Poly


In June 2017, advised by Dr. Unique Shaw-Smith, Women's and Gender studies minor Jennifer MacMartin (Sociology, '17) (she/her) analyzed the institutional impact of the Undocumented Student Working Group’s UndocuAlly Training Series as part of her senior project.

The Undocumented Student Working Group – a working group in the Office of University Diversity & Inclusivity – is comprised of faculty, staff, administrators and students dedicated to supporting the personal and professional development of undocumented students and creating institutional change. The work of the group is guided by the needs and experiences of undocumented students on campus, including students active with the on-campus student club Rising Immigrant Scholars through Education (RISE)

The Undocumented Student Working Group’s UndocuAlly training is a five-hour, three-part series designed to grow participant knowledge, introduce participants to best practices and tools for supporting undocumented students and build campus capacity to support undocumented students. To date, over 800 people in our region have completed at least one hour of this training – the majority of whom are students, staff, faculty or administrators at Cal Poly. Over 350 people have completed the full five hours of training.

Focusing specifically on participants who identified as affiliated with Cal Poly, MacMartin’s survey found that of the 50 people who responded to the survey, an overwhelming 83 percent of the participants believed that the series, “has positively impacted the ‘undocu-friendliness’ of Cal Poly in some capacity.” MacMartin asked participants to identify what changes they brought to their departments and/or organizations at Cal Poly as a result of training. Examples include:

  • Career Services: Created the Undocumented Student Liaison Diversity Team to better support undocumented students in finding career and job opportunities.
  • Financial Aid: All Financial Aid Counselors have completed the UndocuAlly training and staff members have expanded the information regarding the California Dream Act and AB540 affidavits on their website.
  • International Center: Staff members have included information on the website about study away opportunities for undocumented students.

Dr. Jane Lehr (she/her), chair of the Women’s and Gender Studies Department and a founding member of the Undocumented Student Working Group, recently shared that, “Jennifer’s findings about the areas of effectiveness and opportunities for growth for the UndocuAlly training series are guiding ongoing work by the Undocumented Student Working Group.”

Related Content