february, 2019

27feb4:00 pm6:00 pm2019 HED Leadership Speaker Series: Leslie Gonzales, PhD

Event Details

Each year, the Higher Education Department of the Morgridge College of Education at the University of Denver hosts a Leadership Speaker Series during which we invite leading scholars to share their reflections on higher education’s history and future. The Leadership Speaker Series also highlights groundbreaking research and thought focused on increasing equity in higher education and protecting the system’s public purposes. This year we are pleased to host Dr. Leslie D. Gonzales who will explore how definitions of legitimacy in higher education are often classed, raced and gendered in ways that privilege wealthy, elite, predominantly White institutions and their stakeholders while marginalizing working class and minority serving institutions. She will offer reflections and guidance about how to disrupt these powerful narratives and promote legitimacy across institutional types so that access institutions are positioned to enact their vital missions.

This February, we will be enjoying a keynote address by Leslie, Gonzales, PhD.

Leslie D. Gonzales is an Associate Professor at Michigan State University. Leslie’s research focuses on (a) legitimacy within academia; (b) relations of power that govern the recognition of knowledge and knowers within the academy; and (c) the possibility of agency among academics. Leslie is committed to exposing and challenging both material and symbolic injustices within academia, particularly in the careers of historically underrepresented scholars.

As a Latina, working class, first-generation-college-student-turned academic who earned all three of her academic degrees from Hispanic Serving Institutions, Leslie aims to inform various evaluation processes that shape the academic profession, including graduate student preparation, faulty hiring and onboarding, and faculty evaluation.

Leslie is incredibly honored to do this work in the name of her family, especially her parents: Thomas W. and Louise D. Gonzales. Leslie’s Dad, Thomas worked as a seasonal migrant farmworker until the age of 17 and later he found work, as many Latinx people have, in a meat packaging plant. Today, Thomas drives a school bus. Leslie credits her Dad for helping her to understand that every action we take in this world is a political action, and above all, “to never forget where I come from.” Leslie’s Mom, Louise grew up in home of two domestic workers, and today, Louise continues this proud tradition of labor as she is cook at a senior home in New Mexico. Leslie credits her mom for her love of reading and writing, and for “helping see myself not only as funny and pretty, but most importantly, as smart.”

Leslie often notes, “My parents remain the best teachers I have ever had. Today, I am able to labor with my mind because they have labored—all of their lives—with their hands.”




(Wednesday) 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm mst


KRH Commons

1999 East Evans Ave. Denver, CO 80208

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