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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 specializes in race, gender, sexuality, and social justice curriculum development. In addition to co-directing the Knapsack Institute, she is a Senior Consultant for UCCS' Matrix Center for the Advancement of Social Equity and Inclusion, and 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. Among her many publications on the pedagogy of social justice, she is the author of How Prepared are Faculty for Building Campus Cultural Inclusiveness? (Teachers College Press, forthcoming). 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. Samuels has received UCCS' Outstanding Instructor Award, and has also earned a Certificate of Achievement for Advancing Campus Diversity.

Andrea O’Reilly Herrera, Ph.D.

Andrea O’Reilly Herrera, Ph.D.is a Professor of Literature and Women's and Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. In 1998, she received the State University of New York's Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching; and in 2009 she was selected as a University of Colorado President's Teaching Scholar. O'Reilly Herrera was also the 2006 Fulbright Distinguished Chair in American Studies; and she is the recipient of the Elizabeth Gee Award, The Thomas Jefferson Award, and the University of Colorado's Chancellor's Award for Research, Teaching and Service. In addition to being a published poet and the author of the novel The Pearl of the Antilles, 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 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 project is a monograph titled Cuban Artists across the Diaspora: Setting the Tent Against the House (University of Texas Press, 2011).

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 also contributes regularly to the Women’s and Ethnic Studies Program by teaching the Introductory courses, Latino History and Immigrant Histories. 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 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.

Abby L. Ferber, Ph.D.

Abby L Ferber Ph.D should read: 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. She is the author of 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 & Littlefield (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 recognized as a leading scholar of the far right, and her articles have been 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. She is an invited member of the Founding Editorial Board of Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, a journal of the American Sociological Association; an editor and co-founder of the Journal Understanding and Dismantling Privilege; director of the Graduate Certificate in Diversity Social Justice and Inclusion, and on the national planning team for the annual White Privilege Conference, which is housed in the Matrix Center. 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.

Beth Yohe, M.S.

Beth Yohe, M.S.is the Assistant Director of the Training and Curriculum Department of the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) Education Division. 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 her role as Associate Director, she has written program models and resources on a variety of topic areas including cyberbullying, ally-building, analyzing curriculum through a social justice lens, and facilitation. Beth 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. 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.