2024 Pedagogy Conference

Friday, April 12, 2024

Watch the Recording (Zoom Recording)

Transformative Education:

Engaging with the Past to Co-create the Future

Grounded in the Afrofuturistic visioning of Octavia Butler, Contra Costa proudly presents the 5th annual Pedagogy Conference. This year’s conference will focus on envisioning and constructing the future from the perspective of our students. It is imperative for students to craft their own narratives, to assert their identities, and to carve out their place in the world. Our mandate as educators of Minority Serving Institutions is to help marginalized students find their voice and assert their presence and humanity. In fulfilling our mandate, we must also look internally and challenge institutional practices which hinder or gatekeep the world our students are creating. We are honored to invite Associate Professor Dr. Alexandro Gradilla, founder of the Latinx Lab at Cal State Fullerton, to share a student-centered framework of storytelling and future building. Workshops will also offer critical pedagogical tools to navigate education in carceral settings, the power of neurodiversity, embedding integrity and community values in AI interactions, and other important issues. 

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Alexandro Gradilla

Co-Principal Investigator for the Latinx Lab

(He/Him) Born and raised in San Diego (City Heights) with parents from Jalisco, Mexico, Dr. Gradilla is a first-generation college graduate. He received two B.A. degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, one in Chicana/o Studies and the other in Anthropology. He then received an M.A. in Anthropology from the University of Michigan and his doctorate in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. His dissertation focused on the rhetoric and discursive practices that dehumanize the Mexican-origin population in the United States. His broader expertise includes medical anthropology, bioethics, political theory, decolonial theory, institutional racism,

racialization, cultural competency, popular cultures, and futurity/utopias/freedom dreaming for people of color. In addition to his research agenda, Dr. Gradilla is interested in issues connected to higher education policy, primarily focused on Latina/o student success, retention, graduation, mentorship, transfer student success, and other collaborations between student affairs and academic affairs. He is now focused on helping students of color and first-gen students with the project of academic healing and “undrowning” (desahogar) which are sub-projects of his current work for the Latinx Lab. 

In 2022, the Mellon Foundation awarded CSU Fullerton’s Chicana/o Studies Department $1.2 million to create The Latinx Lab for Storytelling and Social Justice. The Latinx Lab aims to inspire our students to use storytelling to uncover marginalized stories and experiences and share their narratives while building community and engaging in social activism. Our students’ stories are more important now than ever to address structural racism, find healing, imagine more just futures, and forge new compassionate and joyful relationships and experiences. The stewards of the Lab believe that all students are writers, scholars, and storytellers, and strive to affirm that all students bring skills, knowledges, languages, and assets from their homes/communities. The SJSI fellows explore the disciplines’ key ideas, methods, theories, and traditions. Key lessons include the foundational humanities skills and practices that shaped Chicana/o Studies. SJSI fellows engage with one of the program’s primary learning outcomes, which is comprehending the university’s conflicted history with social inequality.

Conference Agenda

Opening Remarks
Dr. Kimberly Rogers
Wakan Wiya Two Spirit Drum
Casa Tia Luna
Welcome Keynote
Dr. Alexandro Gradilla 
Zoom: Join Now
Morning Breakout Session
Afternoon Breakout Session
Closing Presenter
Truly Seeing and Partnering with Arab and Muslim Students: A Student Panel 
Zoom: Join Now
Closing Remarks

Breakout Session 1

Breakout Session 2

Closing and Acknowledgements

Need Help or Have Questions?
For more information or questions contact