A Quarter-Century of 'Posses' Underscores the Power of the Cohort

A Quarter Century of 'Posses' Underscores the Power of the Cohort 1

Caleb Kenna for The Chronicle

Shirley Collado, dean of Middlebury College and an associate professor of psychology there, was one of the first students in the Posse program, recruited 24 years ago to go to Vanderbilt U. She is now part of a consortium that wants to improve faculty diversity, using a similar model.

Twenty-four years ago this November, Shirley Collado was hanging out in a bustling activity room of an arts program for inner-city kids when a counselor pulled her aside. She showed the teenager a viewbook from Vanderbilt University, and asked, "What do you think about going away to college?"

The campus looked like an extravagant, distant land, a dot on the map so far from her Brooklyn home that Ms. Collado was certain she'd never experience it. "There's