DEARBORN — Henry Ford College will host its second annual Black Male Retention & Success conference April 13 to 16. This virtual event runs on the following dates:
Author and professor Theodore Ransaw will give the keynote address, “Strategies for Reimagining the Black Male Scholar as Cool,” at 4 p.m. April 15.
Admission is free and open to the public. To register, click here.
The theme of the conference is “kujichagulia,” which translates to “Through our will, we will succeed: More than a philosophy. We must embrace the work,” said HFC sociology professor Kalvin DaRonne Harvell, conference founder and chairman. He also is the faculty advisor of BMQFG, a student organization that challenges and changes the accepted narrative regarding black academic success.
“The main purpose of the upcoming conference will be to build upon the statewide conversations and network that began at the inaugural convening,” Harvell said. “Indeed, the spirit of our first conference combined a distinguished group of scholar-activists dedicated to the creation of sustainable programs that are designed to positively impact the college experience, retention, and graduation rates of black male students.
“Based on our understanding of the complexity of college retention rates, specifically among black male students, we purposely view that best practices for increasing retention and graduation are ideologically connected.”
The goals of the conference are to continue interrogating the challenges that impede both the retention and success of black male college students, Harvell said. The objective is to strive for articulation, development, and implementation of meaningful strategies and deliberate sustainable programs to address the challenges.
The strategies and program solutions derived from this year’s conference may be applicable to other student retention processes.
“The 2021 conference is designed for students and practitioners alike because specific plenary sessions will address the needs of members of both groups,” he said.
Here is a partial list of additional activities occurring at this year’s conference. (The list is subject to change.):
• Black College Virtual Tour: Representatives will discuss various transfer opportunities (scholarships, honors program, etc.).
• College Tour: Universities from around the state of Michigan will discuss various transfer opportunities (scholarships, honors program, etc.).
• HFC BMQFG student Alanna Schwartz: She will present a virtual art show about the Black Panthers.
• HFC BMQFG student Dia Camara: He will give a presentation, “Surviving the First Year of College During a Pandemic!”
• Jeffrey Lee: An expert on black male retention initiatives on predominantly white colleges and universities, he will give a speech Friday afternoon called “Black Self-Determination and the Quest for Equity in Education.”
• Professor Cila Cochran: A professor at Eastern Michigan University and 2019 keynote speaker at the BMQFG annual dinner, Cochran will talk about college success tips and navigating the campus culture.
• Kimberly Connell: This author of “A Blessing in Every Lesson: What I Have Learned in this Journey Called Life,” her work is a critical autoethnographic piece on black women finding ways to thrive in a system that often underestimates them.
• University of Michigan: Several speakers and representatives from the University of Michigan will speak about the Transfer Bridges to [email protected] program, a partnership between HFC and U-M LSA.
• Various HFC Departments: Representatives from the Henry Ford II Honors Program, the Writing Lab, the Learning Lab, among other departments and organizations on the HFC campus, will speak about what the college has to offer and the advantages of attending HFC. Several high school students, parents, and P-12 administrators will be in attendance.
For questions and/or more information, contact Harvell at [email protected]
Ransaw is a research specialist at James Madison College at Michigan State University. He also is an affiliate faculty member of African American and African Studies at MSU, as well as co-editor of the book series, “International Race and Education,” published by MSU Press.
Recently, Ransaw published one of the largest and most comprehensive books regarding black males, “The Handbook of Research on Black Males.” Ransaw’s work has been published in many peer-reviewed journals, including the “Journal of Black Masculinity” and “SPECTRUM: A Journal of Black Men.”
He also wrote “The Art of Being Cool: The Pursuit of Black Masculinity” in addition to several solo and co-authored book chapters in academic books and publication. Ransaw has three research streams:
• What fathers do to help their children get ahead in school.
• Black males and educational outcomes.
• Identity as a reader.
Ransaw also is an Education Policy Fellowship Program alumnus, a certified visible learning presenter, a certified Adolescent Critical Reading Intervention specialist, and a certified education coach. He also was the Achievement Gap specialist for the state of Michigan, the director of four assessment-based mentorship programs at three at-risk elementary schools, and the former vice-president of the Western Social Science Association.
A three-time alumnus of the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Ransaw has his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in communication studies and his doctorate in curriculum and instruction with a focus in international and multicultural instruction.