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2021 Bennion Teachers' Workshop - Hidden in the Shadows of Democracy:
Engaging & Teaching the Strength of Race & Difference 


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Date: Monday, June 21 - Friday, June 25, 2021

Time: 10:00 AM - 3:30 PM daily 

Place: Dynamic Online Classroom originating from Utah State University

Director: Dr. Marisela Martinez-Cola, Asst. Professor of Sociology, USU

Endowed By: Ione Spencer Bennion

This will not be just another "diversity" workshop. The goal of this workshop is to deliver practical materials for teachers and administrators to incorporate in their classrooms and institutions throughout the Intermountain West. During the week, participants will learn how to:

  • Identify misinformation and misunderstandings they may have unconsciously accumulated over the years and replace them with strength-based knowledge,
  • Develop pedagogical tools, curriculum, and materials, rooted in social justice,
  • Define an anti-racist, culturally based approach to teaching,
  • Identify the strengths of students and communities traditionally characterized as marginalized, troubled, and problematic,
  • Develop a lesson plan or program based on a selected organization/activist.



Mariseal Martinez-Cola

Scholars & Speakers

Dr. Marisela Martinez-Cola will serve as  director and primary facilitator. As a sociology professor and a former Director of Multicultural Affairs, Dr. Martinez-Cola is uniquely qualified to guide our participants’ learning journey. Along with Dr. Martinez-Cola, participants will learn from and engage with Black and Latinx community activists, social workers, scholars on race, and fellow educators.

Prominent scholars will provide a transformative space for participants to learn and develop a program or  lesson plan for their students, staff, and/or teachers based on the principles of multiculturalism, diversity, and inclusion. With a regional focus in mind, participants will learn from experts about the experiences of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Polynesian, Refugee students, students who identify as LGBTQ+, and students that navigate the world with a disability.

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Daily Highlights

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Dynamic Online Learning

Gathering Together: Although we cannot gather in-person, we can still gather together online. This will provide a more inclusive classroom, allowing participants to join from anywhere! Those who are unable to travel to our annual workshop have the opportunity to participate this year!

Online Format: Far from passive participants, Bennion students will be highly engaged through a variety of online mediums. In addition to using Zoom break-out rooms to facilitate small discussions and group work, we will also provide recorded lectures and live webinars with scholars and activists.

Learning Environment: We will be working with Utah State University’s renowned Center for Innovative Design & Instruction to ensure that we provide a high quality and engaging learning environment for our participants.

Technology Requirements: Access to a computer with high speed data is recommended for full participation in the workshop. If you lack this but still want to attend, please contact the Mountain West Center for possible solutions, including attending the workshop from a Utah State University campus or center computer lab.


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Course Requirements, Registration and Scholarships


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