CU Denver student commons building with sunset in the sky.

A Message from Chancellor Dorothy Horrell: Associate Professor Manuel Espinoza selected to deliver 2020 CU Denver Distinguished Faculty Lecture

January 27, 2020

Dear Colleagues:

It gives me great pleasure to announce that Associate Professor Manuel Espinoza, PhD, from our School of Education & Human Development, has been selected to deliver the 2020 Distinguished Faculty Lecture at CU Denver. Please join me in congratulating him.

Dr. Espinoza rose to the top of an internal competition from a talented pool of candidates with superb qualifications. He will present his lecture, “Masterpieces Made Visible: Educational Dignity, Social Dreaming, and the Colorado Constitution,” at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4, in Student Commons 2600. Registration is now open.

At that time, the three finalists will also be recognized. They are:

  • Professor Nancy Leech, PhD, (Research, Statistics, and Measurement, School of Education & Human Development)
  • Professor Maria Buszek, PhD, (Art History, College of Arts & Media)
  • Professor Bryan Wee, PhD, (Geography & Environmental Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences) 

The Distinguished Faculty Lecture has been created to complement our highly successful Chancellor’s Distinguished Lecture, which features external scholars of professional prominence. That lecture series started in 2014, made possible by a generous donation from Robert Damrauer, PhD, associate vice chancellor for research, and his wife, Lennie Damrauer, PhD, in honor of their parents, Martha and Karl Kohn and Rose and Clarence “Butch” Damrauer.

Expanding the lecture series to include our own faculty is a fitting way for us to further engage with the community and highlight the exceptional research and creative activities taking place at CU Denver. Last year’s inaugural lecture by Professor Stephanie Santorico, PhD, from our Mathematical and Statistical Sciences Department in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, was tremendously successful.

I encourage you to attend Professor Espinoza’s lecture this spring. See below for more on his impressive accomplishments.

Dorothy Horrell

About our lecturer

Manuel Espinoza, PhD

Associate Professor, School of Education & Human Development

Areas of research:

A child of desegregation (Keyes v. Denver School District No. 1, 1973) and a Chicano ethnographer of education, Espinoza’s research links social scientific research to everyday struggles for a just society.

With his Right to Learn Undergraduate Research Collective, founded in 2007, Espinoza is developing two interconnected strands of research: 1) an inquiry into the historical and legal origins of educational rights; 2) a social interactional method for studying the manifestations of dignity in educational activity.

Areas of Expertise:



Sociogenesis of Mind

History of Civil Rights in the U.S.


2018 – 2019, University of Colorado Denver, ThinqStudio Digital Pedagogy Fellowship

2017, The Spencer Foundation, Discretionary Grant, Developing the Concept of Educational Dignity: Examining the Highlander Folk School Audio Archives

2017, University of Colorado Denver, Office of Research Services, Understanding the Concept of Dignity in Four Landmark Cases: Creating a Handbook of Usage and Meaning, 2004-present

2012 – 2013, National Academy of Education & The Spencer Foundation, Postdoctoral Fellowship