Manuel Del Real

Manuel Del Real, Ph.D., serves as the Executive Director of Hispanic Serving Institution Initiatives and Inclusion at Metropolitan State University of Denver. His areas of expertise include HSI/Minority Serving Institutions, diversity, equity & inclusion, Greek-letter organizations, civic engagement, Title V grants, and National Science Foundation grants. His professional focus is centered around culturally responsive pedagogy and curriculum. 

Del Real is the assistant vice president of membership for The Alliance of Hispanic Serving Institution Educators. He is also the co-founder of the Colorado HSI Consortium and is the current president of the Colorado Coalition for the Educational Advancement of Latinxs. He has presented at a panel at the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) conference and facilitated the 2021 Sigma Lambda Betas International Fraternity Inc.’s Virtual Leadership Institute. 

Before joining MSU Denver, Del Real was an adjunct faculty member in Ethnic Studies at Colorado State University.  

 He earned his Doctorate in Education with a focus on higher education and social justice from Iowa State University, Master of Arts in higher education with a focus on diversity in organizations, and Bachelor of Arts in French, Psychology, and Spanish from the University of Denver.

Michael Benitez

Michael Benitez, Ph.D., is the vice president for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Metropolitan State University of Denver. He is a nationally acclaimed scholar practitioner and educator in the field of diversity, equity and inclusion in higher education. Benitez has a critical perspectives on social and cultural issues on topics related to leadership and identity development, intersectionality, race and ethnicity, knowledge production as well as critical and inclusive pedagogy/practice in higher education.

Prior to his current role at MSU Denver, Benitez served as director of diversity initiatives at Dickinson College, director of intercultural development and the black cultural center at Lafayette College, affiliate faculty in the Graduate School of Leadership and Professional Advancement at Duquesne University, director of intercultural engagement and leadership at Grinnell College, and chief diversity officer/dean of diversity and inclusion, and Title IX and EEO officer at the University of Puget Sound.

Benitez’s deep knowledge and practice of innovative equity and inclusion-based strategies has helped to address some of higher education’s more pressing campus climate issues of today, including the Diversity Monologues- a critical spoken work initiative he helped implement and shape at multiple institutions, the campus climate community participatory framework and the Northwest 5 Consortium for supporting faculty of color.

He has authored book chapters and articles on student identity, hip hop culture, cultural centers, cultural and ethnic studies, institutional research and campus climates as well as faculty development. Benitez has also been featured in educational documentaries such as “Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity” and has appeared on talk shows such as “Worlds Apart,” “Hard Knock Radio” and “Speak out with Tim Wise.”

Benitez received his Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy with a focus on social justice in higher education from Iowa State University, a master’s in counselor education and a bachelor’s in human development and family studies from Pennsylvania State University.

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