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About Skills

SKILLS was created by an interdisciplinary team of UCSB faculty in order to advance educational justice for racially, linguistically, and socioeconomically minoritized K-16 students. SKILLS seeks to remedy systemic inequities in access to higher education by leveraging young people's linguistic and cultural expertise to advance their academic goals and aspirations. We are the only linguistics curriculum in California’s high schools.

We are Committed to the Following Principles

  • Culturally sustaining pedagogies are needed in order to support students academically in ways that are personally meaningful to them.
  • Young people must be recognized as experts on their own language and culture and as active producers and not only consumers of knowledge.
  • Students have the right to learn about language in their own and other communities, including both how it has been used as a tool for perpetuating inequality and how it can be used to advance social justice.
  • University faculty have a responsibility to break down the walls between universities and schools by creating collaborative partnerships between UCSB faculty, graduate students and undergraduates alongside K-16 students and their teachers and mentors.

Every year, SKILLS teams collaboratively create and implement an innovative 20-week curriculum on language and social justice that focuses on the needs of each partner classroom and the expertise of team members. SKILLS combines engagement with high-level academic concepts and ideas, stimulating discussions and activities on real-world issues, hands-on research experience and activism opportunities, and intensive academic mentorship and support. SKILLS puts students at the center of linguistic discovery by guiding them through the process of carrying out original research and activist projects on language, power, and identity in their lives and communities.

Partnerships and Supporters

Previous School / Program Partnerships
  • Adelante Dual-Language Charter School
  • Isla Vista Teen Center
  • Chumash Carpinteria High School and Carpinteria Unified School District
  • Mixteco Indígena Community Organizing Project (MICOP)
  • United Way Fun in the Sun Program
  • Upward Bound Saturday College
  • UCSB |Santa Barbara, Dos Pueblos, San Marcos High School
  • Santa Barbara City College
Previous and Current Supporters
  • Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Academic Policy, UCSB
  • Associated Students Community Affairs Board and SIRRC, UCSB
  • Center for California Languages and Cultures, UCSB
  • Chicano Studies Institute, UCSB | Department of Linguistics, UCSB
  • Office of Education Partnerships, UCSB
  • Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, UCSB
  • Graduate Division, Crossroads Program, UCSB
  • Institute for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Research, UCSB
  • Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, UCSB/ MultiCultural Center, UCSB
  • Verizon Foundation
  • Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, UCSB
  • Vox California Student Organization, UCSB