Webinar Series: Building Successful Academic Pathway Programs – Watch the Full Series

How can a university’s professors and administrators help build a strong academic pathway for underrepresented students? Over the next few months, join Curtis Byrd and Rihana Mason of Georgia State University, and various pathway program directors as they join Social Science Space to explore what makes for a successful pipeline program.  

In their new title Academic Pipeline Project: Diversifying Pathways from the Bachelors to the Professoriate (published open access by Lever Press), Byrd and Mason utilize the THRIVE Index (Type, History, Research, Inclusion, Identity, Voice, and Expectation) they created to contextualize and compare pipeline programs across the United States. The webinar series will dive deeper into the title’s content, allowing for pathway representatives to expand upon their programs and allow for audience Q&A. Each session will focus on a different part of the academic pipeline, including precollegiate, collegiate, and postgraduate/faculty.

The first event, “Positioning Underrepresented Minority Students for College: Best Practices of Precollegiate Pathway Programs,” took place on June 30. It can viewed below. Joining Byrd and Mason were Johnny Ray James from the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) network of schools and Ariel Cochrane-Brown of the College Advising Corps to discuss best practices in positioning underrepresented minority students for success in college.

This one-hour webinar kicked off a series of three conversations with Byrd and Mason drawing from Academic Pipeline Programs while panelists will share best practices of their programs.

The second webinar, “Transitioning from Bachelors to the Professoriate: College and Graduate Pipeline Programs,” saw Ansley Abraham, Southern Regional Educational Board-Doctoral Scholars Program, and Taiese Bingham-Hickman, associate director of the Leadership Alliance, join Byrd and Mason. In the video of the July 22 webinar below, they discuss best practices in positioning students from diverse backgrounds for the progression from college to graduate school.

The last webinar was “Leveraging Academic Pipeline Programs into the Professoriate” and brought Freeman Hrabowski, president of the University of Baltimore County, into conversation with Jamal Watson, editor of Diverse: Issues In Higher Education. They joined Byrd and Mason to examine how academic pipeline initiatives are used, replicated, and promoted at the institutional level around the country.


Curtis Byrd

Curtis D. Byrd  is the special advisor to the provost at Georgia State University (GSU). Dr. Byrd consults and provides leadership in GSU faculty and graduate student diversity and inclusion efforts. Most recently he served as a research associate and consultant for the HBCU STEM Undergraduate Success Center at Morehouse College. Prior to his time at Morehouse he served for eight years as the assistant dean of graduate studies and senior associate director of graduate enrollment at Clark Atlanta University. Before this he served as director of special programs (undergraduate research) and associate director of the McNair Scholars program at University of Florida and director of the McNair Scholars Program at GSU.  

Rihana Mason

Rihana S. Mason is a research scientist at the Urban Child Study Center at GSU. Prior to joining the UCSC, she served as an associate professor in psychology at Emmanuel College for several years where she helped to expand the undergraduate curriculum in psychology. She is the 2021-22 president of the Southeastern Psychological Association and a member of the Psi Chi Diversity Advisory Committee. 


Ariel Cochrane Brown

Ariel Cochrane-Brown is regional director, Southeast on the national program team, leading and supporting College Advising Corps programs and special projects in three states and working in collaboration with colleagues who lead programs in the Southeastern region. Before taking her current role, she served for two years as an adviser with CAC at the University of North Carolina. Most recently, Ariel directed a signature retention program at GSU that assisted academically at-risk students with their transition into college. She also led innovative efforts to increase the retention, progression, and graduation rates of students at the university. 

Johnny Ray James

Johnny Ray James, assistant principal of humanities, KIPP Soul Academy. James’ education career began in the department of First-Year Experience at Louisiana State University. Since then, he has taught and led in Clayton County and Atlanta Public Schools, and KIPP Metro Atlanta & KIPP New Jersey (Newark) Charter School networks. In Newark, he served as the school’s Director of Extended Learning and 8th Grade Level Chair.

Taiese Bingham-Hickman

Taiese Bingham-Hickman in the associate director of the Leadership Alliance. Before coming to the Alliance, she served as the assistant director of Biomedical Informatics Research and Operations at Brown University. Bingham is a member of the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics and a published author in her field. She is an alumna of the Leadership Alliance Summer Research Early Identification Program at Harvard Medical School.

Ansley Abraham

Ansley Abraham, director of the Southern Regional Education Board’s State Doctoral Scholars Program, joined SREB in 1985 as a research associate and became the founding director of the State Doctoral Scholars Program in 1993. A sociologist and psychologist, Abraham’s previous work at SREB covered perception of campus climate by minority- and majority-group students on historically black and predominantly white campuses and studies on statewide assessments and placement, college-level standards and the need for developmental education. He also worked as a program specialist in the Florida Department of Education and as a management analyst in the Florida governor’s office.

Freeman A. Hrabowski

Freeman A. Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland-Baltimore County since 1992, is a consultant on science and math education to national agencies, universities, and school systems. In 2012, he was named by President Obama to chair the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. In 2012, he was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by TIME, and more recently he received the American Council on Education’s Lifetime Achievement Award (2018), the University of California, Berkeley’s Clark Kerr Award (2019), and the University of California, San Francisco’s UCSF Medal (2020). His most recent book, The Empowered University, examines how university communities support academic success by cultivating an empowering institutional culture.

Jamal Watson

Jamal Watson is editor at Diverse: Issues In Higher Education, the nation’s most prominent publication focused on access, diversity and inclusion across the higher education landscape. A veteran journalist, he has written and edited for the publication since 2005. Watson is also a member of the graduate school faculty at Trinity Washington University, where he teaches in and directs the Strategic Communication and Public Relations program and the Journalism and Media Studies program. He is the author of a forthcoming biography on civil rights activist and MSNBC host, the Reverend Al Sharpton.

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