Dr. Arauz is a sought-after speaker and facilitator, inspiring and captivating audiences through his creative storytelling approach. He has mastered the art of addressing the delicate topics of 21st century education, equity, immigration and Black/Brown male youth development. He is featured in a documentary that focuses on contemporary civil rights activists and has traveled internationally as an inspirational 'Spoken Word' storyteller. His fresh and compelling vision cultivates collaboration between the private and public sectors, providing solutions to humanize the educational process for every student and educator. He has worked in the educational sector for over 30 years.
Dr. Arauz received his B.A. and M.A. in Social Science Education from the University of South Florida. He received his Ed.D. in International and Multicultural Education at the University of San Francisco. His dissertation focused on the racial identity development of undocumented youth. Dr. Arauz’s belief that we cannot have educational excellence without equity led him to found the nonprofit, , where he currently serves as the Executive Director. In addition, Dr. Arauz is an adjunct professor at Dominican University and has served as a trustee for several independent schools and educational organizations.
Vernon A. Wall has accumulated over 30 years of professional Student Affairs experience at Iowa State University, the University of Georgia, UNC-Charlotte and UNC-Chapel Hill. He has experience in Greek life, new student orientation, student activities, leadership development, global education and university housing. Vernon currently lives in Washington DC where he serves as the Director of Business Development for LeaderShape, Inc. Prior to this position, Vernon served as the Senior Director for Professional Development, Research & Scholarship for the American College Personnel Association (ACPA - College Student Educators International) and as Assistant Dean of Students at Iowa State University. In spring of 1998, Vernon sailed with Semester at Sea as a member of the Student Life Team accompanying 600 students on a voyage around the world. With degrees from North Carolina State University and Indiana University, Vernon is the consummate scholar-practitioner. Vernon has received numerous awards for his contributions to the quality of student life in is a nationally known speaker in the areas of social justice and leadership styles and is one of the founders and facilitators of the Social Justice Training Institute. Vernon has written several articles and has co-edited two books on issues of inclusion on today’s college campus. His award-winning programs and presentations have been seen by thousands of students, faculty, and staff on campuses across the country. Vernon’s passion for social justice and inclusion is grounded in a quote from his late grandmother: “May the work I’ve done speak for me.”
A leading national social justice educator and activist-scholar with extensive experience in education and diversity issues, Dr. Benitez is known for his down-to-earth insightful commentary and critical perspectives on social and cultural issues. Dr. Benitez integrates multifaceted pedagogies, scholarly inquiry and personal narrative to provide multi-context and -issue frameworks for empowerment and transformation, and has served higher education in different capacities for the last fifteen years, including academic affairs, student affairs, diversity and inclusion and teaching.
Dr. Benitez completed his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at the Pennsylvania State University (PSU) where he also worked with and helped revive and strengthen the University’s College Assistance Migrant Program. Throughout his career, he has been recognized with several leadership awards as he has served in increasingly broad and challenging roles. Informed partly by his poetry and love for spoken word and as Director of Diversity Initiatives and Social Justice at Dickinson College, Dr. Benitez established the Diversity Monologues: An ongoing annual program aimed at highlighting the creative talents of students while addressing diversity and social justice — a program he has helped implement and shape at multiple institutions. In previous roles, Dr. Benitez has served as Director of Intercultural Development and the Black Cultural Center at Lafayette College, as adjunct faculty in the Graduate School of Leadership and Professional Advancement at Duquesne University and as Director of Intercultural Engagement and Leadership at Grinnell College.
A highly sought out speaker and workshop leader at conferences and colleges across the nation, Dr. Benitez has authored book chapters and articles on topics of identity, cultural centers, ethnic studies, pedagogy and hip hop culture. He often collaborates with leading scholars and activists in the field of anti-oppression and social justice education addressing issues related to diversity and multiculturalism, identity formation, race and ethnic relations, knowledge representation and production, youth and leadership development, pedagogy and praxis.
Currently, Dr. Benitez is Chief Diversity Officer and Dean of Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Puget Sound.
Dr. Garnett S. Stokes is the provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Missouri. Dr. Stokes came to MU in February of 2015.
Prior to joining MU, Dr. Stokes served as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and interim president at Florida State University (FSU), a public research university in Tallahassee. Prior to joining FSU, Dr. Stokes served at the University of Georgia as a faculty member, chair of the department of psychology and dean of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.
Dr. Stokes earned a B.A. in psychology from Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tennessee, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Georgia in industrial/organizational psychology. Her research has focused on personnel selection and promotion, specifically the use of biographical information in job selection and promotion decisions. As a consultant, Stokes has assisted businesses, government agencies and Fortune 500 companies in the development of their hiring procedures.
She is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, the American Psychological Association and the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology.
Angela P. Harris is currently a professor at U.C. Davis School of Law. She began her career at the U.C. Berkeley School of Law in 1989, and has been a visiting professor at the law schools of Stanford, Yale and Georgetown and vice dean of research and faculty development at the University at Buffalo School of Law (SUNY). She writes widely in the field of critical legal theory, examining how law sometimes reinforces and sometimes challenges subordination on the basis of race, gender, sexuality, class and other dimensions of power and identity. She is also a prolific co-author of casebooks, including Criminal Law: Cases and Materials; Race and Races: Cases and Materials for a Diverse America; Gender and Law; and Economic Justice. Her writings have been widely anthologized and have been translated into many languages, from Portuguese to Korean.
Harris received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in social science (with a specialization in the sociology of culture) from the University of Chicago, where she also received her J.D. She clerked for Judge Joel M. Flaum on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and then briefly practiced with the firm of Morrison & Foerster in San Francisco before making her way to Berkeley. At the University at Buffalo, along with Professor Stephanie Phillips, she pioneered a seminar called “Mindfulness and Professional Identity: Becoming a Lawyer While Keeping Your Values Intact.” She is the recipient of the Rutter Award for Distinction in Teaching from Berkeley Law, and received the 2008 Clyde Ferguson Award from the Minority Section of the Association of American Law Schools for her mentorship of students and junior faculty.
Jeff Guillory resides in Lapwai, Idaho on the Nez Perce Indian reservation. He is a graduate of the University of Idaho in Political Science, 1970. He is the current Director of the Diversity Education Program, Office of the Provost, Washington State University. Jeff has twenty years’ experience in the Diversity Education profession: 10 years in Human Resources and 15 years as a consultant for major companies, colleges and universities, Washington State Senate staff, over fifty native American organizations, and local Idaho government agencies including the City of Lewiston, Nez Perce County and the Idaho Department of labor, Lewiston Branch. Jeff also provides professional consultation in Sexual Harassment, Organizational Development; Conflict Management; Diversity Education, Cultural Competency and Teambuilding.
Jeff grew up in Houston, Texas during the 1950’s and 60’s where segregation was the norm. Milestones during his formative years include the passing of the Civil Rights Act, 1964, and the Voting Rights Act in 1965. His first experience with Caucasians came during his first football recruiting trip to the University of Idaho in 1965. This was also his first experience with integration.
The experience made an indelible impression on Jeff and inspired him to begin his search for an understanding of how hate began in this country — how it cross-pollinated with race, gender, sexual orientation and religion. He believes that despite the great strides we have made in recent years, hate has once again become a persistent and pervasive presence in our society. What is the glue that keeps it intact?
The philosophy and theme on which Jeff bases his work is, “We have more things in common than our differences.” When he is not working, Jeff enjoys reading, horseback riding, camping and church activities.