Main Menu Summer 2013

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-
  • Chair, Palmer O. Johnson Award Committee, AERA, 2008-2010
  • Senior faculty, ASHE Committee on Equity and Diversity/ASHE Equity Institute on Scholarship and Publishing, Association for the Study of Higher Education, 2008-2010
  • 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, 2000-2000
  • Outstanding Scholar, American Educational Research Association, 1999-1999

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

Dec. 31, 1969

Dec. 31, 1969

Dec. 31, 1969

Dec. 31, 1969