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William Trent

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., Sociology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1982
  • M.S., Sociology, George Washington University, 1974
  • B.S., Sociology, Union College, Barbourville, KY, 1966

Key Professional Appointments

  • Professor, Department of Educational Policy Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1992-present
  • Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1992-present
  • Associate Chancellor, Responsible for campus diversity issues, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1994-1999
  • Assistant, Associate Professor, Department of Educational Policy Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1983-1992

Activities & Honors

  • Member, New York, Social Science Research Council, 2008-present
  • Advisor, Illinois Education Research Council, 2002-present
  • AERA - IES, AIR, ETS- Fellowship Committee, American Educational Research Association, 2000-present
  • Member, Government Relations Committee, American Educational Research Association, 2011-2014
  • consulting contributor, NSF/NAE Colloquy on African Americans in STEM, National Science Foundation, 2010-
  • Presenter, Children's Defense Fund Retreat on the Education of African American Males, Childrens Defense Fund, 2010-
  • Presenter, Washington DC, Childrens Defense Fund, 2010-
  • Senior faculty, ASHE Committee on Equity and Diversity/ASHE Equity Institute on Scholarship and Publishing, Association for the Study of Higher Education, 2008-2010
  • Chair, Palmer O. Johnson Award Committee, AERA, 2008-2010
  • Research Advisory Committee Member, Gates Millenium Scholars Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 2001-2010
  • Collaborator for a Local funding effort, Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation, 2009-
  • member and reviewer, Sociology of Education, American Sociological Association, 2006-2009
  • PIC Facilitator. Member of Court Appointed Monitoring Team for Champaign, IL Unit 4 Consent Decree, Champaign Community Unit School District 4, 2003-2009
  • Member, Research Planning Committee, Transitions Research Project, Social Science Research Council, 2003-2008
  • Spencer Resident Fellow, The Spencer Foundation, 2006-2007
  • Member, The Higher Learning Commission, 2005-2007
  • ASA Spivak Committee member, American Sociological Association, 2006-
  • Committee member, American Educational Research Association, 2006-
  • Committee Member, Kellogg Forum on Higher Education, 2002-2006
  • Meber, National Research Council, 2003-2005
  • Senior Specialist, Fulbright Senior Specialists are selected based on achievements and the fit with the needs of the participating agencies and universities., Fulbright Program, 2003-2004
  • Member, Higher Education Policy Advisory Board, American Council on Education, 2001-2004
  • Visiting Scholar, College Board, 2002-2003
  • Co-chair, Committee on Educational Excellence and Testing Equity for the Board on Testing And Assessment, National Research Council, 1999-2002
  • member, Board on Testing and Assessment, National Research Council, 1997-2002
  • Member, Board on Testing and Assessment, National Academy of Sciences, 1996-2002
  • Visiting Chair in Higher Education, Johnson and Wales University, 2000
  • Outstanding Scholar, American Educational Research Association, 1999

Research Statement

My past research has focused on: 1) Educational Inequality: school desegregation effects (K-12, postsecondary), benefits and consequences, social organziation of school, status attainment research, co- and extracurricular activities, comparative education; 2) Race and Ethnicity: social stratification and mobility, equality of opportunity; and 3) Complex Organization/Social Change/Policy.

I am principal investigator for an Educational Reform Project focused on understanding the role of race, ethnicity, class and gender in school reform. I have also recently served as an expert witness on a court appointed panel in Vaughns, et. al. v. Bd. of Educ. of P.G. Co., MD.

I will be seeking funding for a major project on school desegregation, focused on educational consequences. I will return to theoretical writing on policy issues, their origins and evolution.


  • Principal Investigator, Urban Initiative, U.S. Department of Agriculture (Urban & Metropolitan Affairs Office, ACES Extension Program), 2005-2006
  • Principal Investigator, Illinois Longitudinal Study of the High School Class of 2002, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, 2004-2004
  • Principal Investigator, Data Analysis & Interpretation from 2002 Longitudinal Study, Illinois Education Research Council (Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville), 2004-2004
  • Advisor, Illinois Transition Project, Illinois Education Research Council, 2003-2006
  • Principal Investigator, Under-represented Minorities in the Academy: Understanding the Career Attainment Process, U.S. Department of Education, 2001-2006
  • Principal Investigator, Understanding The Academic Career Aspiration and Attainment of Underrepresented Students, Campus Research Board, 2000-present

Select Publications

  • Trent, W., Trent, W. Comparing 'Swirling' in STEM and non-STEM fields. 2010. .
  • Trent, W. The Limits and Posibilities of Mentoring.
  • Trent, W., Trent, W. School Desegregation: The Long View.
  • Trent, W. School Desegregation: Examining the Evidence on Persisting Barriers to Quality Education.
  • Trent, W. (2008). RESOURCES, ASSETS AND STRENGTHS AMONG SUCCESSFUL DIVERSE STUDENTS; Understanding the Contributions of the Gates Millenniun Scholars Program. Readings in Equal Education. AMS Press, Inc. Press: New York.
  • Trent, W. (2008). Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: High School Racial Composition and Becoming a GMS Scholar; the Implications of Strategin Recruitment.  William T. Trent, Dawn Owens Nicholson and Mary E. M. M. AMS Press Inc. New York.
  • Trent, W., Orr, T. (2007). The transition to college: Lessons from the disciplines [Special issue]. The Teachers College Record, 109(10).
  • Trent, W., Orr, M., Ranis, S., Holdaway, J. (2006). Transitions to college: Lessons from the disciplines. Teachers College Record, 109(10), 2207-2221.
  • Trent, W., Lee, H., Nicholson, D. (2006). Perceptions of financial aid among students of color: Examining the role(s) of self concept, locus of control and expectations. American Behavioral Scientist, 49(12), 1739-1759.
  • Trent, W., Gong, Y. (2006). Achieving justice and equality in U. S. higher education: An exemplary program to increase the participation of underrepresented students of color. International perspectives on diversity in higher education: Challenges and prospects. Elsevier: Oxford, UK.
  • Green, D., Trent, W. (2005). The public good and a radically diverse democracy. Higher education and the public good. Josey Bass: San Francisco.
  • Trent, W., Gong, Y., Owens-Nicholson, D. (2004). The relative contribution of high school origins to college access. REE.
  • Beatty, A., Neissere, U., Trent, W., Heubert, J. (2001). Understanding dropouts: Statistics, strategies, and high-stakes testing. National Academy Press: Washington, D.C..
  • Trent, W., Braddock, J. (1992). Extracurricular activities in secondary schools. In M. C. Alkin (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Educational Research (6th ed.) pp. 476-481. Macmillan: New York.
  • Trent, W. (1991). Student affirmative action in higher education: Addressing underrepresentation. The racial crisis in higher education. Southern University Press: Albany, NY.
  • Trent, W. (1991). Focus on equity: Race & gender differences in degree attainment 1975-76; 1980-81. College in black and white: African American students in predominantly white and historically black public universities. Southern University Press: Albany, NY.
  • Trent, W., Braddock, J., Henderson, R. (1985). Trends in Black enrollment and degree attainment. Desegregating America's colleges and universities: Title VI regulation of higher education. Teachers College Press: New York.

In The News

EPOL Professor William Trent weighs in on how safe colleges are for women

Nov. 30, 2012

William Trent, professor of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership, was recently interviewed for an article by about the safety of women on campuses in Massachusetts, specifically commenting on a Voices of Diversity study. Read more...