Key Professional Appointments

ProfessorDepartment of Educational Policy Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1992 - present

ProfessorDepartment of Sociology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1992 - present

Associate ChancellorResponsible for campus diversity issues, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1994 - 1999

Assistant, Associate ProfessorDepartment of Educational Policy Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1983 - 1992


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

Awards, Honors, Associations

Outstanding ScholarAmerican Educational Research Association, 1999 - 1999

Spencer Resident FellowThe Spencer Foundation, 2006 - 2007

Senior SpecialistFulbright Senior Specialists are selected based on achievements and the fit with the needs of the participating agencies and universities.Fulbright Program, 2003 - 2004

Visiting ScholarCollege Board, 2002 - 2003

Visiting Chair in Higher EducationJohnson and Wales University, 2000 - 2000

Research & Service

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.


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. (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., & Orr, T. (2007) The transition to college: Lessons from the disciplines [Special issue] The Teachers College Record 109 (10)

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., Orr, M., Ranis, S., & Holdaway, J. (2006) Transitions to college: Lessons from the disciplines Teachers College Record 109 (10), 2207-2221

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., & Trent, W.. Comparing 'Swirling' in STEM and non-STEM fields. 2010

Trent, W., & Trent, W.. School Desegregation: The Long View

Trent, W.. School Desegregation: Examining the Evidence on Persisting Barriers to Quality Education...

Trent, W.. The Limits and Posibilities of Mentoring

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) 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. (1991) Student affirmative action in higher education: Addressing underrepresentation. The racial crisis in higher education 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


Principal InvestigatorUrban Initiative, U.S. Department of Agriculture (Urban & Metropolitan Affairs Office, ACES Extension Program), 2005 - 2006

AdvisorIllinois Transition Project, Illinois Education Research Council, 2003 - 2006

Principal InvestigatorUnder-represented Minorities in the Academy: Understanding the Career Attainment Process, U.S. Department of Education, 2001 - 2006

Principal InvestigatorIllinois Longitudinal Study of the High School Class of 2002, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, 2004 - 2004

Principal InvestigatorData Analysis & Interpretation from 2002 Longitudinal Study, Illinois Education Research Council (Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville), 2004 - 2004

Principal InvestigatorUnderstanding The Academic Career Aspiration and Attainment of Underrepresented Students, Campus Research Board, 2000 - 0


MemberGovernment Relations Committee, American Educational Research Association, 2011 - 2014

PresenterChildren's Defense Fund Retreat on the Education of African American Males, Childrens Defense Fund, 2010 - 2010

PresenterWashington DC, Childrens Defense Fund, 2010 - 2010

consulting contributorNSF/NAE Colloquy on African Americans in STEM, National Science Foundation, 2010 - 2010

Senior facultyASHE Committee on Equity and Diversity/ASHE Equity Institute on Scholarship and Publishing, Association for the Study of Higher Education, 2008 - 2010

ChairPalmer O. Johnson Award Committee, AERA, 2008 - 2010

Research Advisory Committee Member, Gates Millenium Scholars ProgramBill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 2001 - 2010

Collaborator for a Local funding effortChampaign Urbana Schools Foundation, 2009 - 2009

member and reviewerSociology of Education, American Sociological Association, 2006 - 2009

PIC Facilitator. Member of Court Appointed Monitoring Team for Champaign, IL Unit 4 Consent DecreeChampaign Community Unit School District 4, 2003 - 2009

MemberNew York, Social Science Research Council, 2008 - present

Member, Research Planning CommitteeTransitions Research Project, Social Science Research Council, 2003 - 2008

MemberThe Higher Learning Commission, 2005 - 2007

Committee memberAmerican Educational Research Association, 2006 - 2006

ASA Spivak Committee memberAmerican Sociological Association, 2006 - 2006

Committee MemberKellogg Forum on Higher Education, 2002 - 2006

MeberNational Research Council, 2003 - 2005

MemberHigher Education Policy Advisory Board, American Council on Education, 2001 - 2004

AdvisorIllinois Education Research Council, 2002 - present

Co-chairCommittee on Educational Excellence and Testing Equity for the Board on Testing And Assessment, National Research Council, 1999 - 2002

memberBoard on Testing and Assessment, National Research Council, 1997 - 2002

MemberBoard on Testing and Assessment, National Academy of Sciences, 1996 - 2002

AERA - IES, AIR, ETS- Fellowship CommitteeAmerican Educational Research Association, 2000 - present


Sociology of Education Education as a social process in various cultures and historical periods, emphasizing current systems in Westernized countries. Course Information: Same as SOC 420. 3 undergraduate hours. 2 or 4 graduate hours. Differential credit will be based on additional assignments and requirements as specified by instructor. Prerequisite: SOC 100; or six hours of anthropology, social geography, political science, or sociology.

Access to Higher Education Explores current practices, conditions, and policies shaping access to college at the undergraduate level. The course is based in a sociological approach to understanding conditions of access to higher education. Provides an opportunity to examine and discuss current research on class, race, gender, institutional policy, and individual factors that are known to impact participation in higher education. Particular attention is given to stratification in higher education including but not limited to: the historical and legal context of access; points of access; pathways to higher education; and the effects of various policies and programs. Course Information: Same as EOL 579. Prerequisite: EOL 570 and EOL 571, or equivalent; or consent of instructor.

Education & Stratification Seminar in educational policy studies; sections offered in the following fields: (a) history of education; (b) philosophy of education; (c) comparative education; (d) social foundations of education; (e) philosophy of educational research; and (f) historical methods in education. Course Information: May be repeated. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

William Trent

Professor, Education Policy, Organization and Leadership



368 Education Building
1310 S. Sixth St.
Champaign, IL 61820

Edit Refresh

Refreshing data...please wait