College Hosts Conference on Retention and Success


Pedro Noguera, professor of sociology at NYU, addresses the CHAS conference.

Representatives from various colleges and universities that make up the Consortium on High Achievement and Success (CHAS) gathered in Mather Hall on November 18-20 for the organization’s fifth annual conference of its Working Group on the Retention, Success, and Satisfaction of African American and Latino male college students. Trinity is one of more than 30 prestigious liberal arts institutions that hold membership in the unique consortium.

The purpose of this year’s conference was to allow campus teams from CHAS institutions to learn from each other’s strengths and experiences and to re-examine their own efforts, resources, and strategies for establishing and/or enhancing programs that positively impact their African American and Latino male student constituencies. 

The working group is committed to establishing and strengthening African American and Latino male student organizations that promote student leadership; promoting peer student support models and programs; promoting faculty-student connections; promoting student-alumni networks; and establishing community service programs that engage African American and Latino male college students at the CHAS campuses.

Pedro Noguera, professor of sociology at New York University, delivered the keynote address. An urban sociologist, Noguera’s scholarship and research focus on the ways in which schools are influenced by social and economic conditions in the urban environment. Guest workshop presenters included J. Herman Blake, former director of African studies at Iowa State University; Michael Benn, director of legal affairs and interim director of affirmative action at Wesleyan University; Henry Danso, assistant professor of psychology at Wesleyan University; and Johnny Williams, associate professor of sociology at Trinity. Williams led a workshop focusing on time management and effective strategies for academic success. 

Also taking part in the conference were Karla Spurlock Evans, dean of multicultural affairs; Fred Alford, dean of students; Kidan Kassahun, Trinity’s CHAS project coordinator; Val Ramos, special assistant to the vice president for administration and strategic planning; and Narin Prum ’06, president of SGA. 

Teams from each represented institution were encouraged to use the conference to establish a set of program ideas, strategies, and action plans for implementation at their respective campuses. The conference was entitled “Motivation for Success” and focused on academic expectations, strategies for promoting motivation and success among African American and Latino male college students, time management and academic skills-building, and how to effectively address challenges to diversity and race-conscious programs on campus.

The conference was sponsored by CHAS through a grant from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation. Previous conferences have been held at the University of the South, Middlebury College, Haverford College, and Vassar College.


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