Dr. Michael Benitez, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion, Metropolitan State University of Denver
Dr. Michael Benitez is a nationally acclaimed scholar, practitioner and educator in the field of diversity, equity and inclusion in higher education. He also is a part of Colorado Inclusive Economy’s roster of amazing speakers leading cohort sessions, including understanding systemic racism, bias and privilege.
A highly sought out speaker and go-to workshop leader at colleges and conferences nationwide, Dr. Benitez is known for his down-to-earth, insightful commentary and critical perspectives on social and cultural issues, ranging; leadership and identity development, intersectionality, race and ethnicity, organizational culture in the workplace, and inclusive teaching and practice.
Part of Dr. Benitez’s success lies in his ability to speak heart-to-heart while bridging theory and scholarly inquiry with everyday life, his use of accessible language that multiple audiences can relate to, and his deep knowledge and practice of innovate equity and inclusion-based strategies and approaches to address some of higher education’s more pressing issues of today.
Dr. Benitez has authored book chapters and articles on student identity, hip hop culture, cultural centers, cultural and ethnic studies, institutional research and campus climates, and faculty development. He is co-editor of the anthology, Crash Course: Reflections on the Film “Crash” for Critical Dialogues About Race, Power and Privilege, has contributed to online magazines, scholarly databases, books, and journals, has been featured in educational documentaries and is often asked to appear on radio talk shows to provide critical commentary on national issues. Dr. Benitez has been recognized with multiple leadership and scholarly awards throughout his career, is highly engaged in the community cultural work, and continues to serve as one of higher education’s leading and transformative change-makers and DEI leaders.
Over the last two decades, Dr. Benitez has served higher education in different capacities, ranging academic and student affairs, diversity, equity and inclusion, EEO and Title IX compliance, and teaching. Dr. Benitez completed both his B.S. and M.Ed. at the Pennsylvania State University, where he gained interest in pursuing doctoral studies as a TRIO student and McNair Scholar, and holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy from Iowa State University School of Education. Dr. Benitez currently serves as Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion and Associate Professor of Multicultural Education in the School of Education, at Metropolitan State University of Denver.