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• A “knapsack” full of tools to use in teaching the concepts of privilege and oppression
• Hands-on activities to replicate in your own organization or institution
• Concrete strategies and contemplative practices that encourage growth
• Framework for understanding diversity intersections (race, gender, etc.)
• Pedagogical approaches to teaching diversity
• A supportive forum for sharing ideas and strategies


Institute Topics include:
• Setting the Scene for Effective Dialogue
• Facilitating Difficult Discussions
• Dealing with Resistance
• Curriculum Transformation
• Building Support for Inclusion and Diversity in Organizations


Specialized Workshop Topics
• The impact of race and gender on students’ evaluations of educators
• Issues facing both white teachers and teachers of color
• Transgender issues
• Bullying and Microaggressions
• Creating inclusive environments
• Culturally responsive practices
• Ally building
• Teaching with films
• Incorporating Disability Studies

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The Faculty are award-winning & highly regarded around the nation for cutting edge research and pedagogy reflecting a diverse array of disciplines and specialties. They actively research and publish articles and books that address the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, ability, class, etc. In addition to the faculty below, a range of diverse specialists are invited to lead workshops each year.

Dena R. Samuels, Ph.D.

Dena R. Samuels, Ph.D., Director of the Matrix Center, is an Assistant Professor in Women’s and Ethnic Studies at UCCS and received the university's Outstanding Instructor Award. She specializes in race, gender, sexuality, and social justice curriculum development. In addition to co-directing the Knapsack Institute, through her own consulting firm: Dena Samuels Consulting (denasamuels.com) and as the Director of the Matrix Center for the Advancement of Social Equity and Inclusion, she provides seminars and consultation to campuses and organizations locally, nationally, and internationally on the processes of integrating diversity and building inclusiveness. Some of her many clients include: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado, the Center for Legal Inclusiveness, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and Caring for First Nations Children Society in British Columbia. Samuels created curriculum for, coordinated, and facilitated the Building Inclusiveness program at UCCS, which provides diversity workshops for administration, faculty, staff, and students. Samuels' latest book, The Culturally Inclusive Educator: Preparing for a Multicultural World (Teachers College Press, 2014) offers transformative strategies for building cultural inclusiveness. In addition, she co-edited the anthology, The Matrix Reader: Examining the Dynamics of Oppression and Privilege (McGraw-Hill, 2009), and authored Teaching Race, Gender, Class, and Sexuality, a teaching guide that accompanies this volume. She also serves as a culturally inclusive, trauma-sensitive yoga instructor in a locally owned donation-based studio.

Abby L. Ferber, Ph.D.

Abby L. Ferber Ph.D. is Professor of Sociology, and Womens' and Ethnic Studies, and co-founder and Associate Director of the Matrix Center for the Advancement of Social Equity and Inclusion at UCCS. Her research, teaching, and service all coalesce around ideas of inequality, privilege, and the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality. Ferber is the author of numerous books including: White Man Falling: Race, Gender and White Supremacy, (Rowman & Littlefield, 1998); co-author of the American Sociological Associations' Hate Crime in America: What Do We Know? (2000) and Making a Difference: University Students of Color Speak Out, (Rowman and Littlefield, 2002); co-editor, with Michael Kimmel, of Privilege: A Reader, (Westview Press, third edition 2013); and editor of Home Grown Hate: Gender and Organized Racism, (Routledge 2004). She has co-edited (with other KI facilitators) two recent texts for classroom use: The New Basics: Sex, Gender and Sexuality (Oxford University Press, second edition 2012) and The Matrix Reader: Examining the Dynamics of Privilege and Oppression (McGraw Hill, 2008). Ferber is widely published in academic journals (including, among others, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Journal of Social Issues, National Women's Studies Association Journal, Sociological Perspectives, Men and Masculinities, and Teaching Sociology) as well as news outlets (including The Denver Post and The Chronicle on Higher Education). Ferber has been honored with numerous awards, including CU Chase Community Service Award; the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences Research Award, and the CU Elizabeth Gee Memorial Lectureship Award. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of two non-profits, The Privilege Institute and Youth Celebrate Diversity.

Andrea O’Reilly Herrera, Ph.D.

Andrea O’Reilly Herrera, Ph.D.is a Professor of Literature and Director of the Women's and Ethnic Studies Program at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. She is a President's Teaching Scholar and is a recipient of the University of Colorado system-wide Thomas Jefferson Award, and the 2015 Chase Award. She was also selected as a Fulbright Distinguished Chair in American Studies and completed a residency in Lublin, Poland in 2006. In addition to being a published poet and the author of a number of critical essays, she also wrote the novel The Pearl of the Antilles, (Bilingual/Review Press, 2001) O’Reilly Herrera is the editor of the essay collection Family Matters in the British and American Novel (Popular Press, 1997) and the literary collection A Secret Weavers Anthology (White Pine Press, 1998), which features the work of contemporary Latin American women writer. Among her other publications is a collection of testimonial expressions drawn from the Cuban exile community and their children residing in the United States, ReMembering Cuba: Legacy of a Diaspora, (University of Texas Press, 2001); an edited collection of critical essays, Cuba: Idea of a Nation Displaced, (SUNY Press, 2007); and the co-edited textbook The Matrix Reader: Examining the Dynamics of Oppression and Privilege, (McGraw Hill, 2008), which presents an intersectional approach to the study of race, class, gender, and sexuality. Her most recent work is a monograph titled Cuban Artists across the Diaspora: Setting the Tent Against the House (University of Texas Press, 2011), and Tres Flores, a play based on her novel, which was selected as a finalist in the 2015 Latina/o Theatre Commons (LTC) Carnaval of New Latina/o Work. 

Christina Jimenez, Ph.D.

Christina Jimenez, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, specializing in Mexican, Latin American and Latino History. She has also done cross-disciplinary work with bilingual and diversity educators. In 2012, Jiménez received the campus-wide award for Faculty Contributions to Diversity and Inclusiveness at UCCS and, in 2008, she was awarded the Outstanding Teaching Award of the College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences. Her work explores the local dynamics of Mexican citizenship, urban politics, and popular culture in the city during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. She has published chapters and peer-reviewed articles in City Halls and Civic Materialism, (Routledge, 2014), Urban Theory Beyond the West (Routledge, 2011), Spaces of the Modern City (Princeton UP, 2008), Urban History, Journal of Urban History and Black History Bulletin, among others. She co-edited (with Ferber, Herrera and Samuels) The Matrix Reader: Examining the Dynamics of Oppression and Privilege (McGraw-Hill, 2008). She co-authored, with Samuels, “The Big idea workshop” and “The Big Idea 2.0,” both universal diversity workshops at UCCS focusing around the concept of inclusiveness.

Stephany Rose Ph.D. 

Stephany Rose, Ph.D. is an activist, public commentator, and an assistant professor of Women's and Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. An interdisciplinary scholar and a social justice activist, Dr. Rose produces transformative scholarship that reaches far beyond the walls of academia. She is the author of Abolishing White Masculinity: From Mark Twain to Hiphop, (Lexinton Books, 2014) and has written articles for The Feminish Wire, For Harriet, and NewBlackMan. Additionally, as a faith leader and social justice worker, she has worked closely with grassroots organizations that include, but are not limited to the NAACP Colorado/Montana/Wyoming Regional State Conference, Together Colorado, and the Matrix Center for the Advancement of Social Eqity and Inclusion. She currently serves as Pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church of Colorado Springs. With a B.A. and M.A. in Literature from Clark Atlanta University and Purdue University, respectively, as well as a Ph.D. in American Studies from Purdue University, she specializes in critical race and gender studies, English literature, and American popular culture. She is often called upon to expertly address and consult on issues concerning race and gender dynamics in American popular culture and society. Dr. Rose's scholarship, courses, and activism continue to be a rising voice dedicated to interrogation of privilege, power, and the intersectionalities of identities. 

Beth Yohe, M.S.

Beth Yohe, M.S. is a facilitator, consultant, and training designer. She has writtenand delivered training programs on a variety of topic areas including bias, understanding privilege, religious respect, ally-building, analyzing curriculum through a social justice lens, and facilitation skills. Yohe is the Director of Development for the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) Rocky Mountain Region. Beth develops anti-bias training and curricular materials for the ADL’s A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute, a leading provider of anti-bias education and diversity training programs. Beth oversees the Train-the-Trainer program and facilitator development for the Institute. In addition, Yohe also serves as an instructor for University of Colorado at Denver’s Department of Education in the Cultural Responsive Urban Education teacher licensure program. Beth has more than 15 years experience in anti-bias training and social justice work and serves on the board of The Privilege Institute, the International Bullying Prevention Association, the Mapleton Education Foundation, and the Matrix Center for the Advancement of Social Equity and Inclusion. She has a Master of Science degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Colorado State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication from Texas A&M University.