On Friday, February 17, 2017, ten African American alumni representing four universities met at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor (MI) to discuss the focus of ABAO. Following a tasty lunch provided by our host, Steve Grafton, and introductions, the group brainstormed about how best to use our collective resources to benefit alums, students—present and future—and our schools.
Topics presented for consideration included:
Identifying and surveying Black alumni groups
Sharing “best practices”
Researching/creating data re: Black alumni organizations
Recruiting, retention and graduation rates for Black students
Assessing ABAO’s need to convene (frequency, location, virtual meetings)
Defining our governance and infrastructure
Platforms for disseminating information (social media, targeted messaging)
Activities – conferences/workshops; seminars; adopting local high schools; career networking
It was generally agreed that ABAO should heighten awareness of services currently existing to promote recruiting, academic success, retention and completion of degrees, not duplicate them. Identifying other Black alumni organizations and creating a survey to collect information emerged as the first step. Scott and Ralph agreed to query the alumni organizations that will be at the upcoming CAA meeting in Arizona, and ask each organization to identify any Black Alumni organizations at their university and provide the name of the organization and a contact for that organization. This should provide a comprehensive list of Black Alumni organizations, which then can be surveyed. ABAO will compile a list of questions and then get an expert from one of the universities to help design the survey document. Scott indicated that he may have a graduate student who could assist in this effort.
Those in attendance were Ralph Amos (Purdue), Huey Ball (Ohio University), Marcus Clarke (Purdue), Megan Davis (University of Michigan), Connie Lawson-Davis (Ohio University), Donna Moore Ramsey (Ohio University), Paris Ross (Michigan State University), Sherise Steel (University of Michigan), Scott Westerman (Michigan State University) and LaWanna M. White (Ohio University).