Dr. Heather W. Hackman

hwh_headshot_for_web3-150x150Dr. Hackman has been teaching and training on social justice issues since 1992 and was a professor in the Department of Human Relations and Multicultural Education at St. Cloud State University in St Cloud, Minnesota for 12 years before she began focusing full time on consulting. She has taught courses in social justice and multicultural education (pre-service and in-service teachers), race and racism, heterosexism and homophobia, social justice education (higher education leadership), oppression and social change, sexism and gender oppression, class oppression, and Jewish oppression. She received her doctorate in Social Justice Education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 2000 and has taught at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Westfield State College, Springfield College, St Cloud State University, Hamline University, and the University of St Thomas. In 2005 she founded Hackman Consulting group and consults nationally on issues of deep diversity, equity and social justice and has focused most of her recent training work on issues of racism and white privilege, gender oppression, heterosexism and homophobia, and classism. She has published in the area of social justice education theory and practice, racism in health care (with Stephen Nelson), and is currently working a book examining issue of race, racism and whiteness in education through a model she calls “cellular wisdom”. In 2009, she was awarded a Research Fellowship with the Great Place to Work Institute and has developed corporate training rubrics that combine her social justice content with GPTWI’s “trust” frameworks. She has sat on the board of Minnesota NAME as president, the board of Rainbow Families, has served on numerous committees committed to multicultural and social justice work, and since 2012 has served as a member of the Advisory Council for the White Privilege Conference. Her most recent research and conference presentations have focused on climate change and its intersections with issues of race, class and gender.


“The Urgency of Now: Addressing the Critical Connections Between Equity / Social Justice Work and STEM Education”

Description:  If engaging in equity work did not seem urgent before, its critical importance to our educational environments, and ultimately to the success of all of our students, is surely clear now. This talk outlines a handful of important considerations when leaning into equity and social justice work beginning with an explanation of what this work is and is not, followed by examples of how to teach about equity / social justice content in a range of settings. Of course, as we engage in this work, there is resistance and thus it is necessary to know what that resistance will look like and how to respond to it. In particular, it is valuable to understand and articulate the deep symmetries between STEM frameworks, i.e. systems thinking, and the ways we help educators and students alike comprehend the complexities of equity and social justice issues. Thus, this session will also highlight the expertise in the room and the particular areas of STEM education that are most conducive to equity and social justice linkages.


Dr. Hackman will also be leading a Session I workshop, Tuesday, April 25, 9:15 AM: Developing An Equity / Social Justice Lens and Its Application to STEM.

Dr. Robert W. Simmons III


simmons-1216Currently serving as the Vice President of Strategy and Innovation for the Campaign for Black Male Achievement (CBMA), Dr. Robert W. Simmons III is responsible for the national implementation and development of CBMA’s High School Excellence framework, and other place based efforts including mapping the impact of high quality early childhood education on high school completion rates for Black men and boys. CBMA has been recognized by the White House as a key national ally and partner in advancing President Obama’s vision for boys and men of color.

As a nationally recognized scholar and expert on issues of racial equity, urban education and science education, Robert has shared his expertise throughout the United States and on numerous media outlets including CNN. Robert served as the first Chief of Innovation & Research in the District of Columbia Public Schools. While managing numerous initiatives in the district, Robert was the chief architect of the nationally recognized Empowering Males of Color initiative. As a result of this work, Washington DC was recognized, along with Detroit and Oakland, as one of leading cities working to improve the lives of males of color according to the Promise of Place Report. Prior to joining the DC Public Schools, Dr. Simmons was the founding director of the Center for Innovation in Urban Education at Loyola University Maryland. As a tenured professor of urban education and science education, and associated faculty member in African and African American Studies program at Loyola University Maryland, Robert also held a joint appointment as a research associate at the Baltimore Education Research Consortium at Johns Hopkins University.

A former middle school science and math teacher in the Detroit Public Schools, his career has included being nominated twice as the Walt Disney National Teacher of the Year and once for the Whitney and Elizabeth MacMillan Foundation Outstanding Educator Award. Robert has been a fellow with the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundation where he conducted environmental research in the rain forest of Costa Rica, and participated in the Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund. The author of over 40 publications, including the book, Talking About Race: Alleviating the Fear (2013), his research has focused on the experiences of African American males in schools, African American male teachers, science education in urban schools, and the role of race in understanding the social context of schooling. Robert’s next book, Interrupting the School to Prison Pipeline: African American Males as Critical Scholars and Intellectuals, is part autobiographical reflecting on his fathers’ incarceration while offering insights into the educational experiences of African American males.

The author and evaluator of over $2 million in grants, including serving as one of the leading researchers on an NIH funded project designed to support the development of virtual science labs for K‑12 students and teachers, Robert has delivered workshops and lectures throughout the United States and Europe on his research. Robert is a renowned motivational speaker who openly shares his life experiences in Detroit during the height of the crack cocaine epidemic, the mental incarceration he experienced for much of his life due to the physical incarceration of his father, and the significant challenges he faced leaving his childhood home in Detroit to being one of the few African American students at an elite Jesuit high school.


Twitter: @Robert_Simmons3

Websites: http://robertwsimmonsiii.com

2017 Sessions

Keynote Speaker

Debjani Biswas

Debjani Biswas Photo 2014 (1024x1024)Debjani Mukherjee Biswas is the author of Unleash the Power of Diversity (AuthorHouse 2013) and has spoken at the last three NAPE Professional Development Conferences and Summits. Unleash the Power of Diversity was a 2014 NAPE Book Club Selection.

Ms. Biswas is a National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) Woman of the Year recipient and recently completed a US Barnes & Noble book tour. She is an international speaker, business strategist, and the trusted advisor to CEOs and global leaders. A Chemical Engineer from IIT, she also holds an MBA in Marketing and a MS in Organizational Strategy and International Management. She is a certified Emotional Intelligence practitioner, who consults with leaders around the world on leadership and diversity solutions.

Ms. Biswas’ executive and global corporate experience, coupled with an engineering and management background, results in her innovative, cutting-edge approach. Her application of engineering principles of data harvesting and pattern recognition to emotional intelligence and behavioral change is powerful and unique. A STEM Advocate, she is on the Board of Directors of her engineering alumni association IIT-NT, an active volunteer and a NAPE Diversity consultant.

2017 Sessions

Keynote Speaker

2016 Sessions

TitleIQ+EQ +? = QEI The impact of Emotional Intelligence on Classroom and Workforce STEM Success


Twitter @DebjaniBiswas