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BC to Host AHANA Retention Conference

(9-24-99) - The Boston College Office of AHANA Student Programs, highly regarded for its success at seeing students of color through to graduation, will host a conference Oct. 21-22 on the retention of African, Hispanic, Asian and Native American students.

"Models of Success: Retention of AHANA Students from Elementary Through College Years" will draw educators from across the country as well as representatives from several area school programs that have taken innovative approaches to retaining students of color.

Boston College is credited with setting an example for institutions seeking to retain AHANA students. By providing key services such as academic advising, tutoring and personal counseling, the AHANA Student Programs Office has seen the AHANA retention rate at BC rise from 17 percent two decades ago to more than 90 percent today.

A series of distinguished speakers will highlight the event, which will begin in the Heights Room of the Lower Campus Dining Hall, followed by an exhibition of successful retention programs in the adjacent Newton and Boston rooms.

The conference will get underway at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 21, with Syracuse University Professor of education Vincent Tinto presenting "Building Environments of Success" and Frank Hale, distinguished university representative and consultant from Ohio State University, speaking on "The Challenges that Colleges Face in Light of Educational Environments."

The presentation of model programs will begin at 4:30 p.m. Representatives will be on hand from the Gardner School Partnership, through which BC, the Boston Public Schools and local agencies have established an extended services program at an Allston elementary school. Other featured programs will include Paige Academy and the Jesuit-run Nativity Prep School of Roxbury; MASS PEP, a pre-engineering program at Wentworth Institute; Upward Bound, a summer program for high-school students at Rhode Island College; and the Urban Scholars Program of the University of Massachusetts-Boston Graduate School of Education.

A 9 a.m. panel presentation in the Heights Room on educational research affecting AHANA students will kick off the next day's schedule. Lynch School of Education Dean Mary Brabeck will discuss the role of university educators and Boisi Professor of Education George Madaus will speak on the impact of standardized tests on different ethnic groups. Harvard University Professor of Education and Social Policy Gary Orfield and UMass-Boston Professor of Education and Asian-American Studies Peter Kiang also will make presentations.

Gasson 100 will be the setting for the event's afternoon schedule on Oct. 22. AHANA Student Programs Director Donald Brown and staff will discuss their office's approach, with other presentations by Northwestern University Vice President for Research Lydia Villa-Komaroff and William Sedlacek, professor of education and assistant director of counseling at the University of Maryland.

"Many of our AHANA students have gone on to become lawyers, doctors and educators because BC gave them a chance they did not have before," said Brown. "I hope other schools with low retention rates can benefit from our experiences."

Information on the event is available from the Office of AHANA Student Programs at (617) 552-3358.

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