Release Date: 
Friday, February 24, 2023

4th annual Black Male Retention, Success, and Best Practices Conference April 7

Event Date: 
Fri, 04/07/2023 - 8:00am to 5:00pm
Andrew A. Mazzara Administrative Services & Conference Center (ASCC) (Building L) Forfa Auditorium
A picture of Adam Harris.
Author, motivational speaker, and servant leader Adam Harris will be the keynote speaker at the fourth annual Black Male Retention, Success, and Best Practices Conference at HFC on April 7.

Summary information:

  1. This April 7 conference is free and open to the public
  2. Please register today!

What is this conference about, and why should I attend?

The HFC Black Male & QUEENS Focus Group (BMQFG) will host its 4th annual Black Male Retention, Success, and Best Practices Conference on Friday, April 7, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Forfa Auditorium, located in the Andrew A. Mazzara Administrative Services & Conference Center (ASCC) (Bldg. L) on the main campus.

Author and motivational speaker Adam Harris will be the keynote speaker. The theme of this year’s conference is “Building Excellence and Executing with Purpose!”

"I am excited to see the different applicable things our conference attendees will walk away with this year. This year's conference theme – ‘Building on Excellence and Executing with Purpose!’ – is relevant to everyone. We want our students to operate in excellence and pursue their dreams and goals with a clear purpose. As educators, we must keep this at the forefront of our own work. The conference will explore both perspectives: What does it look like for students to walk in excellence, and what does it look like for educators to do so as well?” said BMQFG co-faculty advisor Dr. Courtney Matthews.

The main conference theme will reflect the larger goal of the symposium, which is the nurturing of a statewide network dedicated to the study and development of best practices designed to enhance the college success and graduation rates of Black students (not just males, but all students). As such, the final session of the conference will be a “meeting of the minds,” which will be a large group discussion designed to establish an operational plan for moving forward collaboratively and identifying goals for the 2023-24 academic year and beyond.

"The BMQFG has been an essential part of my success at HFC,” said HFC nursing student Vanessa Newton. “I am looking forward to the fourth annual Black Male Retention, Success, and Best Practices Conference and the positivity and encouragement it will provide.”

Keynote speaker Adam Harris

A lifelong Detroiter, Harris earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration management with a minor in African and African-American studies from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. He later earned his master’s degree in counseling from the University of Detroit Mercy.

Committing himself as a servant leader for more than a decade, Harris is on a continuous mission to "encourage and inspire others with a focus on empowering and mentoring young people," serving in many roles from coach, mentor, and educator, to conflict-resolution specialist, workshop facilitator, and counseling advisor.

In addition to Michigan, Harris has served as a motivational speaker and workshop presenter at colleges and universities in several states, including California, Georgia, Ohio, Missouri, Louisiana, Texas, and Washington. Currently, Harris serves as the director for a Federal TRIO Program at Grand Valley State University, helping underserved high school students from Detroit get into college.

For his work with youth and families in and around the City of Detroit, the Detroit City Council honored Harris with the Spirit of Detroit Award. His accomplishments have been featured in many media outlets, most notably:

To date, he has written three books. His latest, One Michigan Moment in Time, gives insight into his undergraduate journey as “someone who wasn’t supposed to make it.”

"We are excited and delighted to have Mr. Adam Harris as the keynote speaker at the fourth annual Black Male Retention, Success, and Best Practices Conference at HFC,” said BMQFG founder and faculty advisor Dr. Kalvin DaRonne Harvell. “Brother Harris is a phenomenal speaker dedicated to the work of academic excellence, equity, and creating intentional pathways to success! Grounded in the Black intellectual tradition, Brother Harris is a committed scholar who connects philosophy and practice to bring out the greatness in everyone he encounters. We are honored to build with this intellectual giant who works to bring good into the world."

Conference Purpose - A Statewide Conversation

Initiated in 2019, the purpose of the conference is to continue the statewide conversation to address issues regarding the retention and success of Black males, as well as identify best practices, challenges, and solutions.

The conference will be designed to establish clear academic success pathways from high schools to community colleges, as well as 4-year educational institutions and beyond. High school counselors and teachers, college faculty members, admissions representatives, and administrators will be onsite during the conference to address concerns regarding financial aid, college readiness, college transfers, résumé writing, and other issues pertaining to academic success.

Sessions will be designed with the intent to address the specific needs of students based on their academic locations. There are pathways uniquely designed for individuals preparing for college and individuals who are currently enrolled in college.

“The BMQFG is a safe space for socializing, networking, and expanding your horizons. This focus group is truly supportive and wants us to be the best version of ourselves,” said HFC exercise science major Trey Counts.

Conference Goals

The overall conference goal will be to establish a statewide network dedicated to the improvement of Black student academic successes by creating a workable plan of action.

Other goals include:

  • Identifying best practices (Black retention and academic success)
  • Connecting students with mentors in their fields (interdisciplinary conference)
  • Connecting students with transfer institutions and identifying people and organizations to assist in the transfer process
  • Assembling students, scholars, program coordinators, administrators, parents, grandparents, entrepreneurs, engineers, and more (i.e., the community), and all stakeholders who are concerned about the academic success of Black students
  • Creating an identifiable network of educators who are willing to assist students and parents in navigating the college arena (i.e., connecting with counselors, campus tours, finding resources, etc.)

There will be a wide range of informational sessions designed to enhance the collective academic imagination of Black students. We are seeking sessions that address the following issues, but will not be limited to the following issues:

  • History of Black education
  • Artistic productions
  • Black participation in STEM and STEAM fields
  • Black history
  • Economics
  • Entrepreneurial ventures
  • Black male retention (best practices)
  • Male-female relationships
  • Spirituality
  • Afrocentrism
  • Black studies

“The BMQFG continues to the be personification of excellence in scholarship, communal advancement, and radical Black love,” said Harvell. “May we continue to make our Ancestors proud.”

This conference is free and open to the public. Please register today

For questions or more information, contact any of the following: