Release Date: 
Thursday, March 25, 2021

Black Male Retention: Best Practices and Student Success Conference

Location: 
Virtual - Zoom
Headshot of Dr. Ransaw

The HFC Black Male and QUEENS Focus Group (BMQFG) will host the second annual Black Male Retention: Best Practices and Student Success Conference. This virtual event runs on the following dates:

  • Tuesday, April 13, at 6:00 p.m. (Pre-Conference College Retention Session)
  • Wednesday, April 14, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, April 15, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Friday, April 16, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Register today for this free conference

Author and professor Dr. Theodore S. Ransaw will give the keynote address, “Strategies for Reimagining the Black Male Scholar as Cool.”

Kujichagulia: conference theme of self-determination

This year’s theme is “kujichagulia,” a Swahili word and Kwanzaa principle that translates into “Through OUR will, WE will succeed: More than a philosophy. We must embrace the work!” according to HFC sociology professor Dr. Kalvin DaRonne Harvell, founder and chair of the Black Male Retention and Success Conference. He is also the faculty advisor of BMQFG, a student organization that challenges and changes the accepted narrative regarding Black academic success.

“The main purpose of the conference will be to build upon the statewide conversations and network that began at the 2019 inaugural convening. 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,” explained Harvell.

The goals of this conference are to continue interrogating the challenges that impede both the retention and success of Black male college students. 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, according to Harvell.

SCHEDULE: Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Opening Ceremony/Declaration of Sacred Space

Dr. Kalvin DaRonne Harvell (Keeper of the Tradition/Coordinator of the BMQFG)

Pre-Conference Session: Knowledge; 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. (Evening Session)

Session A: Nia

Session Presenter:

Shanna Simpson-Singleton (Wayne State University, Center for Equity & Excellence in Mathematics, Student Support Coordinator, Coordinator of the BMQFG - HFC)

Session Theme:

Retention (How Not to Undermine Positive Retention Efforts)

Session Title:

Elevate, do not Destroy: Your: Lose will be someone else’s Gain

Session Description:

A conversation during office hours completely altered the educational path of a student that, by current demographic definitions in higher education, was “non-traditional.” Retention is impactful to us all as a community, and the ramifications of an environment that is not supporting our students can be costly, not only to the student but to the institutions in which these students are enrolled. This session will tell a story, a story that is not unique to Black students attending predominantly white institutions. Learn how the flaws of one conversation impacted this student on their journey and the institution that was left behind.

SCHEDULE: Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Akwaaba: Morning Opening & Greetings; 8:30 a.m.

Kalvin DaRonne Harvell, Ph.D., Ed.S. (BMQFG)

Building: Wisdom
Dr. Harvell will provide an overview of the conference and show informational videos from various organizations, Henry Ford College departments, and colleges/universities connected with the Second Annual Black Male Retention & Success Conference.

Session A: Umoja; 9:00 a.m. - 9:50 a.m.

Session Presenter:

Chardin Claybourne (Henry Ford College: Faculty, Learning Lab; Coordinator of the BMQFG)

Session Title:

From the student to the teacher: A Black Man’s Experience in Higher Education

Session Description:

The Black experience is not monolithic; there is space for all members of the community to share of themselves and their knowledge. In this session, the speaker will reflect on his 30-year experience as a Black man in higher education, beginning as a student at a PWI to becoming a tenured faculty member—and all the lessons learned in-between.

Session B: Ujima; 10:00 a.m. - 10:50 a.m.

Session Presenters:

Chardin Claybourne (Faculty Learning Lab & Coordinator of the BMQFG - HFC)
Cassandra Fluker (Director of Student Services – HFC)
Dr. Adam Hazlett (Honors Director – HFC)
Dr. Anthony Perry (Director of the Democracy Institute Consortium & Political Science Instructor – HFC)

Session Title:

Assuring Success & Nurturing Greatness at Henry Ford College (Part 1)

Session Description:

This session will introduce conference attendees to multiple support services and enrichment programs available at Henry Ford College (Honors, Student Services, Learning Lab, etc.)

Session C: Kujichagulia; 11:00 a.m. - 11:50 a.m.

Session Presenter:

Harriet Moore (Sociologist)

Session Title:

Remembering Whose Shoulders you stand on & Envisioning those who will be standing on yours!

Session Description:

This session explores the importance of Sankofa; instructing us to go back and get or reclaim. Indeed, participants will be called to think about the important lessons of those who came before us and how those lessons continue to inform, protect, and demand excellence from us. Additionally, this session will discuss the importance of preparing future generations to embrace the ethic of success.

Session C: Imani; 12:00 p.m. - 12:50 p.m.

Session Presenters:

Dr. Brenda Hildreth (Student Outreach & Support – HFC)
Wendy Lee-Jenkins (Counselor – HFC)
Dr. Gwendolyn Pringle (Counselor & Professor – HFC)
Rochelle Taylor (Director of Athletics - HFC)

Session Title: QUEENS on Campus: Walking in Excellence While Uplifting Others

Session Description:

This session will highlight the voices of four Black Women who work in vital roles to support students on the campus of Henry Ford College. With deliberate excellence, the contributions of these powerful women continue to nurture an environment that produce students who are prepared to thrive as productive individuals in the community and abroad.

Session D: Ujima; 1:00 p.m. - 1:50 p.m.

Session Presenters:

Katie Avila (Optimize – University of Michigan)
Dr. Jesse Carr (Project Coordinator, Transfer Bridges to the Humanities@Michigan)
Janis Jones (University of Michigan, Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives)

Session Title:

From Henry Ford College to the University of Michigan: Making a Smooth Transition & Continuing Excellence

Session Description:

Informed by the work of the Building Bridges to the Humanities Program (TB2H -joint effort between Henry Ford College (HFC) & the University of Michigan (U of M Ann Arbor), this presentation is designed to introduce attendees to the faculty, innovative programs, and support services available through this collaboration (HFC & U of M). Indeed, representatives from the U of M will provide critical insights into the meaningful ways they support HFC students and prepare them for future success.

Session E: Ujima; 2:00 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.

Session Presenters

Chelsea Lonsdale (English Faculty & the Director of the Writing Lab – HFC)
Kristin Rouleau (Admissions & Recruitment – HFC)

Session Title:

Assuring Success & Nurturing Greatness at Henry Ford College (Part 2)

Session Description:

This session is designed to introduce students to enrichment programs available at Henry Ford College (Writing Lab, Admissions & Recruitment)

Session F: Kuumba; 3:00 p.m. - 3:50 p.m.

Session Presenters:

Elyse Hogan (Henry Ford College – Detroit Promise Student Success Coach)
Reco Spencer, MS (Henry Ford College - Detroit Promise Student Success Coach)
Mark Yancy (Henry Ford College – Detroit Promise Student Success Coach)

Session Title:

Coaching Success: An Exploration of the Detroit Promise Program at Henry Ford College

Session Description:

Success Coaches will be on hand to provide a comprehensive discussion of the important work done by the Detroit Promise Program at Henry Ford College.

Session G: Ujamaa; 4:00 p.m – 5:00 p.m.

Session Presenter:

Dewaun E. Robinson, CTA (Chief Executive Officer - Artistic Visions Enterprise)

Session Title: Black Lives Matter

Session Description:

Examining the life through a Black lens exploring entrepreneurship, protecting the interest of the original people, and outlining the plan for the future. Engaging in “family conversations” that prompts action items.

SCHEDULE: Thursday, April 15, 2021

Akwaaba: Morning Opening & Greetings; 8:00 a.m. - 8:25 a.m.

Kalvin DaRonne Harvell, Ph.D., Ed.S. (BMQFG)

Building: Understanding
Dr. Harvell will provide an overview of sessions and show informational videos from various organizations, Henry Ford College departments, and colleges/universities connected with the Second Annual Black Male Retention & Success Conference.

Session A: Nia; 8:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

Session Presenters:

Brian Ferguson-Bey (Harper Woods Triumph Middle School)
Quincy Stewart
Jabaar Thompson (Thomas Worthington High School)

Session Title:

Do you know the Math?

Session Description:

This session takes a historical look at the universal mathematical contributions of Black people, and the ways these contributions have been duplicated without acknowledging the originators.

Session B: Umoja; 9:40 a.m. - 11:40 a.m.

Session Presenters:

Jason Daday (Assistant Director of Admissions & Communications - Ferris State University)
Steven H. Case (Admissions – Western Michigan University)
Nickolai Kanagawa (Assistant Director of Admissions – University of Michigan Dearborn)
Misty Sparrow (Assistant Director, Admissions Visit Program – Eastern Michigan University)
Kayla Harber-Bates (Assistant Director of Admissions – Central Michigan University)
Carly Miller (Assistant Director of Admissions – Lawrence Technical University)
Joshua Ware (Admissions Counselor – Grand Valley State University)

Session Title:

Continuing My Journey After HFC: Transfer College Tour

Session Description:

We welcome representatives from several universities. These representatives will share important transfer/admissions information. This session is designed to generate critical thought, provide insights, and foster conversations about the importance of preparing (early) to transfer to a university.

Session C: Kujichagulia; 11:50 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.

Session Presenter:

Micala Evans Cochran, Ph.D. (Eastern Michigan University)

Session Title:

Education, Resistance, and Rites: Afrocentric Transformation Community Organizing

Session Description:

This ethnographic study explores the Detroit Independent Freedom School Movement. The researcher describes her experience joining the social movement which is a dominantly Black space that uses Afrocentric principles in its day-to-day management. The study offers advice to anyone who wants to join an Afrocentric space or a dominantly Black space or movement using transformative community organizing.

Session D: Ujima; 12:55 p.m. – 1:55 p.m.

Session Presenters:

Gregory Dendy (Admissions Counselor – Fisk University)
Brittnne D. Paramore (Admissions Counselor – Johnson C. Smith University)
Deborah Childs (Assistant Director of Recruitment, Admissions – Coppin State University)
Sedrick Singletary (Director of Admissions – Clinton College)

Session Title:

Academic Excellence in Action: A Tour of Black Colleges (Part 1)

Session Description:

We welcome representatives from several Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Indeed, some participants will be introduced to HBCUs and the opportunities available at these institutions. These representatives will share important transfer/admissions information. This session is designed to create critical thought, provide insights, and foster conversations about the importance of preparing (early) to transfer to a university.

Session Facilitator:

Brother Dia Camara (BMQFG - HFC)

Session E: Kujichagulia; 2:00 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

Session Presenter:

Brother Dia Camara (BMQFG – Henry Ford College)

Session Title:

Navigating College during a Pandemic: A Critical Conversation & Student Insights

Session Description:

Brother Dia Camara (BMQFG) will provide critical insights into what it has been like to successfully complete his first year of college during a pandemic (virtually). This talk will provide critical academic and social survival/success tools that will assist faculty and students in developing techniques to thrive (academically) amid a pandemic.

Session F: Nia; 2:50 p.m. - 3:50 p.m.

Session Presenter:

Kim Connell (Author, A Blessing in Every Lesson: What I Have Learned on This Journey Called Life)

Session Title:

Journeying through Journaling: Using Critical Autoethnography as a Roadmap for Self-Reflection

Session Description:

This session will focus on how journaling and using similar means to document thoughts, feelings, and attitudes can be used as a form of self-reflection and self-healing. The presenter will share her experience with journaling, and subsequently publishing her autoethnographic writings into a book of life lessons she learned while going through a “rough patch” in her life.

Session Facilitator:

Brother Dia Camara (BMQFG-HFC)

SCHEDULE: Friday, April 16, 2021 - Sankofa Keynote Address

Sankofa Keynote Address; 4:00 p.m.

“Strategies for Reimagining the Black Scholar as Cool”

Dr. Theodore Ransaw

Akwaaba: Morning Opening & Greetings; 8:30 a.m. - 8:55 a.m.

Kalvin DaRonne Harvell, Ph.D., Ed.S. (BMQFG)

Building: Culture
Dr. Harvell will provide an overview of sessions and show informational videos from various organizations, Henry Ford College departments, and colleges/universities connected with the Second Annual Black Male Retention & Success Conference.

Session A: Imani; 9:00 a.m. - 9:45 a.m.

Session Presenter:

Quan Neloms (I am In Demand)

Session Title:

Engaging Black Men Across School and Community

Session Description:

If you don’t initiate the young men into the tribe, they will burn the village down to feel the warmth.” This proverb reflects the desire we see from many of our men to have safe, positive, uplifting and engaging experiences within our schools and communities. This workshop will discuss the use of culturally relevant and student-centered tools that can be implemented to improve the engagement of Black men and boys.

Session B: Ujima; 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Session Presenters:

Randall Massey (District Recruiter – Alabama State University)
Katherine Hatchell (The Building, Recruitment, Enrollment and Discovery Services Office -B.R.E.D.S.- Kentucky State University)

Session Title:

Academic Excellence in Action: A Tour of Black Colleges (Part 2)

Session Description:

We welcome representatives from several Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Indeed, some participants will be introduced to HBCUs and the opportunities available at these institutions. These representatives will share important transfer/admissions information. This session is designed to create critical thought, provide insights, and foster conversations about the importance of preparing (early) to transfer to a university.

Session C: Kuumba; 11:05 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Session Presenter:

Sister Alanna Schwartz (BMQFG – Henry Ford College)

Session Title:

Exploring the Black Panthers through Art & Word Power

Session Description:

Embracing visual sociology, rooted in artistic production and critical analysis, this session will introduce participants to the Black Panther Party for Self Defense through a virtual art exhibit created by Sister Alanna Schwartz (BMQFG).

Session D: Kujichagulia; 12:05 p.m. - 1:05 p.m.

Session Presenter:

Dr. Jeffrey Lee (Immaculata University)

Session Title:

The Collective Struggle: Black Self-Determination for an Equitable Education

Session Description:

This session explores the practical strategies Black people historically embraced to assure educational access. Indeed, this session investigates the meaningful ways traditional calls for educational equality operate against frameworks built on educational equity.

Session Facilitator:

Sister Alanna Schwartz (BMQFG – HFC)

Session E: Nia; 1:10 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Session Presenters:

Chinonye Akunne (Ilera Apothecary & Motor City STEAM)
Danny Butler III (Math 4 Success)

Session Title:

Kwanzaa needs to be a lifestyle, not a holiday

Session Description:

We will dig deep on the meaning & importance of Kwanzaa and show how it relates to the success of Black males.

Session F: Umoja; 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Session Presenters:

Charity Butler (Butlerville)
Danny Butler III (Math 4 Success)

Session Title:

Free Game: Black Love

Session Description:

A review of best practices that lead to success for young Black males.

Session F: Nia; 3:05 p.m. - 4:05 p.m.

Session Presenter:

Christopher Rutherford (Director of Community Mobilization Strategy – Michigan College Access Network)

Session Title:

The College Enrollment Crises and the Impact on African American students: Challenges and Solutions

Session Description:

Both nationally and locally America is facing a college enrollment crisis. Even before the pandemic data has begun to show a downward trend in students going to college. This session will investigate the current college enrollment crisis in Michigan and its impact on African American students. It will also discuss solutions to the challenge.

Dr. Theodore S. Ransaw’s background

Keynote speaker Dr. Ransaw is a research specialist at James Madison College at Michigan State University (MSU) in East Lansing. He is also 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 called 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 publications. 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 is also an Education Policy Fellowship Program alumnus, a certified visible learning presenter, a certified Adolescent Critical Reading Intervention specialist, and a certified education coach. He was also 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 earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in communication studies and his PhD in curriculum and instruction with a focus in international and multicultural instruction.

  • 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!”
  • Dr. Jeffrey Lee: An expert on Black male retention initiatives on predominantly white colleges and universities, Lee will give a speech called “Black Self-Determination and the Quest for Equity in Education” on Friday, April 16 (time TBD).
  • Dr. Cila Cochran: An instructor at Eastern Michigan University and 2019 keynote speaker at the BMQFG annual dinner, Cochran will talk about college success tips and navigating campus culture.
  • University of Michigan: Several speakers and representatives from U-M in Ann Arbor will speak about the Transfer Bridges to the Humanities@Michigan program, a partnership between HFC and U-M Ann Arbor.
  • HFC Departments: Representatives from the Henry Ford II Honors Program, the Writing Lab, the Learning Lab, and other departments and organizations on the HFC campus, will speak about the student-focused benefits and advantages of attending HFC. Several high students, parents, and P-12 administrators will be in attendance.
  • Keynote address: Author and professor Dr. Theodore S. Ransaw, “Strategies for Reimagining the Black Male Scholar as Cool,” Thursday, April 15, at 4:00 p.m.

This schedule is subject to change.

Why should you attend?

The main purpose of the 2021 conference will be to build on the statewide conversations and network that began at the inaugural convening two years ago. Indeed, the spirit of the first conference combined a distinguished group of scholar-activists dedicated to the creation of sustainable programs 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. Yet, we require uniquely separate praxis contingents regarding the organizational culture of the institution and cultural knowledge assets that each student brings to a campus.

The goals for the 2021 conference are to continue to interrogate the challenges that impede both the retention and success of Black male college students. 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. Specific plenary sessions will address the needs of members of both groups.

Contact information

This conference is free and open to the public. For questions or more information, contact:

Dr. Kalvin DaRonne Harvell (Conference Co-Chair)
313-317-1533
kharvell@hfcc.edu

Mr. Chardin Claybourne (Conference Co-Chair)
313-845-9818
cclaybourne@hfcc.edu

Contribute to defray the costs of the conference (optional)

We are proud to bring you this conference at no charge to participate. We want everyone to have an opportunity to join in the conversation and learn from the perspectives offered.

However, it is not possible to provide an event like this at no cost. Therefore, if you feel inspired to contribute to our costs for this conference, please follow the steps below.

Donations of any amount are welcomed and greatly appreciated. All contributions are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Contribute here to help cover conference costs

Donating is easy and takes only a few moments:
1. Go to the link above, which takes you to the HFC Foundation donations page.
2. Select the amount you wish to contribute.
3. Under "Apply gift to," select Black Male Retention and Success Conference.
4. Add your name and address, and follow the additional steps to send your gift.

Thank you for your willingness to contribute to our work, and to the success of our HFC students!

Conference organizers