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Fri, Apr 16



Decolonizing Research - Alternative Research Methodologies in Western Academic Institutions.

How are researchers, from a diversity of backgrounds, adopting Anti-racist, Decolonial, and Indigenous Research Methodologies from within Western academic institutions in increasingly challenging times?

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Decolonizing Research - Alternative Research Methodologies in Western Academic Institutions.
Decolonizing Research - Alternative Research Methodologies in Western Academic Institutions.

Time & Location

Apr 16, 2021, 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM PDT


About The Event

The Deep Water Initiative (DWI), and the Student Union and Center for Writing and Scholarship (CWS) at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), would like to invite you to participate in an interdepartmental online gathering on April 16, 2021 entitled – Decolonizing Research – Alternative Research Methodologies in Western Academic Institutions.

23 of CIIS’ students, recent alumni, and co-presenters will share their experiences and thoughts that address the question: How are researchers, from a diversity of backgrounds, adopting Anti-racist, Decolonial, and Indigenous Research Methodologies from within Western academic institutions in increasingly challenging times?

This gathering is a CIIS student and alum lead initiative, coordinated by Dr. Heidi Fraser-Hageman representing CWS, Tiffany Konyen representing Student Union, and Chantal Noa Forbes, PhDc, representing DWI. The vision for this gathering resulted from an academic panel that we co-coordinated in the Fall of 2020 entitled: Decolonizing Research – Indigenous Research Methodologies in Western Academic Institutions. Watch the full panel on YouTube:

The coordinators of this event are grateful for the support of CWS, Student Union, ODI, Online Learning, MARCOM, and select faculty.

We are honored to be working with a talented committee that has been working with us in supporting students and presenters in preparing for the gathering and who will also be moderating our circles.

Moderators include Rev. Dr. Sunshine Michelle Coleman, Dr. Angela Michtlanxochitl Anderson Guerrero, Chip Mc Neal, PhDc, and Tiffany Konyen, M.A.

We would like to ask you to please support this student-led initiative by joining us on the day for one or more circles or activities in our gathering. Our gathering will take place in two sessions, from 09:00 AM to 02:00 PM and from 03:00 PM to 08:00 PM. 


First Gathering - 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM PST

09:00 AM – 09:30 AM

Opening - Chantal Noa Forbes, PhDc

Opening Sharing - Rev. Dr. Sunshine Michelle Coleman

09:30 AM – 10:45 AM

Circle 1 - Էլիզ Եուսուֆեան ~ Elise Youssoufian, గ్రీష్మ గౌతమ్ ~Grishma Gautam, Rev. Glencie Rhedrick

Moderated by Rev. Dr. Sunshine Michelle Coleman

10:45 AM – 12:00 PM

Circle 2 - Heather Weiss,  Fredrick Zal & Draven L. Alexander

Moderated by Tiffany Konyen

12:00 PM – 1:15 PM

Circle 3 - Shameeka Smalling & Phoenix L. Quetzal DeLeon

Moderated by Dr. Angela Michtlanxochitl Anderson Guerrero

1:15 PM – 2:00 PM

Closing Forum Esraa Abd El Fattah

Moderated by Chip Mc Neal

Second Gathering - 2:30 PM – 8:00 PM PST

02:30 PM – 03:00 PM

Opening Guest - Chip B. Goldstein, Associate Provost

Opening Sharing - Prof Carma J Corcoran

03:00 PM – 04:30 PM

Circle 1 - Manu Multani, Hemalatha Swaminathan

Moderated by Chip Mc Neal

04:30 PM – 06:00 PM

Circle 2 - Titine Angela Newsham, Tamara Elke Litke, Michelle Boyle & Shmee Giarratana

Moderated by Rev. Dr. Sunshine Michelle Coleman

06:00 PM – 07:15 PM

Circle 3 -  Luna, Shelly Nixon, Myrriah Jannette

Moderated by Dr. Angela Michtlanxochitl Anderson Guerrero

07:15 PM – 08:00 PM

Closing Forum


Rev. Dr. Sunshine Michelle Coleman

Rev. Dr. Sunshine Michelle Coleman is a spiritual leader, facilitator, inspirational speaker, and author.  She is an ordained minister in New Thought spiritual philosophies and has a deep consciousness of love and service.  She is a ritualist and has a passion for convening safe space for healing and transformation.  Her professional career spans over 20 years in Human Resources and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in management and professional roles within the retail, higher education, and financial and insurance services, and nonprofit sectors.

Dr. Coleman recently completed her doctorate in Transformative Studies with an emphasis on Consciousness Studies.  Her dissertation explores the empowerment of authentic self-expression within Black and Brown Women in America using as a methodological approach her original contribution of Feminist Participatory Action Organic Inquiry. Her academic research is based on a sacred sister circle that she conducted in Oakland, California, given her expertise in having convened sister circles for many years.  Additionally, she has a master’s degree in Consciousness Studies and a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Behavior. She is a self-published author of inspirational essays, and her second book is pending based on her doctoral topic of inquiry.  A native of Northern California, Dr. Coleman enjoys creative writing, participating in Beloved Community, and being in service to life. She has one son who is a professional artist and youth advocate.

Dr. Angela Michtlanxochitl Anderson Guerrero

Angela ‘Mictlanxochitl’ Anderson Guerrero strives to serve communities through culturally inclusive strategic development, art-based inquiry, and critical psychology.  Her policy studies led to the immersion into public health, as Director of Operations for the Institute for Diversity in Health Management, Anderson co-founded the National Forum for Healthcare Executives, the Asian Health Care Leaders Association. The experience motivated Angela to return to her community development roots as the Program Director of the Center for Metropolitan Chicago Initiatives of the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Recognizing the possibilities at the intersections of education, spirituality, and development, she completed her doctorate at the California Institute of Integral Studies.  Her dissertation project is titled; “Testimonio and Knowledge Production Among Transterritorial Mexican and Mexican American Indigenous Spiritual Practitioners: A Decolonial, Participatory, and Grassroots Postmodernist Inquiry”. As a doctoral student, she initiated the “Indigenous Knowledge Gathering”, which was activated in Ohlone territory in 2015 and in Tohono O'odham land in March 2016.  She pushes issues of cultural and racial equity in the arts and institutional development. Most recently, she linked the ethos of Álgido (Mexico City) and Matatu (Oakland) to kick off the Transterritorial Citizenship Series, a forum of creatives who model present and future,e models of citizenship through the lens of culture and the politics of personhood. Her projects strive to explore and question pluralities of knowledge across cultural and organizational differences. She serves as a council member of Danza de la Huiztlimeztli and Danza de Luna Xinachtli Meztli, both transterritorial Mexica ceremonial practices. Currently, she is exploring the social impact of ancestral spiritual movements for community building and leadership.

Chip McNeal, M.Ed., PhDc (TSD)

Currently a doctoral Candidate in Transformative Studies, Chip is also making strides in other avenues. Not long ago appointed to the inaugural position of Director of Diversity, Equity and Community for San Francisco Opera. This unique and coveted position represents a milestone for equity in the field of classical arts and music. As director of Diversity, he is charged with setting in motion landmark initiatives that help to make the art of opera and classical music studies more accessible, more equitable, and more diverse. Chip continues to work for educational equity on local, state, and national levels. He is on the leadership board of Create California, an advocacy agency, where he promotes arts access for underserved students. Chip is also developing multimedia programming that includes podcasts, YouTube videos, and Facebook events – all focused on amplifying the “voice” of artists and educators of color. His research focus lies at the intersection of arts, education, and social justice, as he investigates emancipatory pedagogy and critical teaching practices for a new era. He employs anti-oppressive and indigenous research methodologies as well as other creative and transdisciplinary professional practices. He is a subject matter expert in culturally and linguistically responsive teaching methods with over 25 years of experience facilitating adult learning and teacher education. As an equity and diversity expert, he consults worldwide on issues of community engagement and racial equity in the arts. You can find out more about his work by exploring

Tiffany Konyen, M.A.

Tiffany Konyen (she/they) is a 1st generation college student learning in the Bay Area for the last 11 years. Guided by a deep interest in the evolution of individual and collective consciousness, Tiffany joined the Bachelor Completion Program (Cohort I 11-12’) at CIIS, where they were first exposed to the pedagogies and praxis of Transformative Education by way of Dr. bell hooks.

Entering into the Anthropology and Social Change Department Master’s Program, Tiffany wrote an auto-ethnography reflecting on the values, practices and structures of educational methodologies they experienced, both learning and working within K-12 Public and Private schools. They continued into the Anthropology PhD track to further explore the alienation of intellectual labor and the commodification of knowledge production through the student debt market, especially along the lines of gender, race, and class.

Tiffany is in the proposal phase of the dissertation process with the desire to host a Participatory Action Research(PAR) project, engaging Alums of the School of Consciousness and Transformation. This project will consider the value of Transformative Education, alongside the impacts of indebtedness on Graduate Students of CIIS. For the last year, they have been organizing with the Debt Collective to begin a Bay Area Debtor’s Union and is one of the Biden 100 Debt Strikers, currently striking for full cancellation. They believe that power and knowledge belong to communities!


Chantal Noa Forbes, PhDc

Chantal is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Ecology, Spirituality and Religion at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) and the co-founder of the non-profit, the Deep Water Initiative. Chantals' research looks at Indigenous and Decolonial approaches to environmental engagement with a focus on human-animal relationships in hunter-gatherer cosmology.

South African born and raised, Chantals' professional background spans 15 years of experience in media, corporate communications, and the agricultural development sector. Chantal received a B.A. in film production from the internationally award-winning film school AFDA, in South Africa, and an M.A. in Middle Eastern History from Tel-Aviv University. In the past decade, Chantal has worked extensively throughout Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the U.S. In 2017 Chantal relocated to the U.S. to pursue a Ph.D.

Chantal is passionate about effecting social change through artistic mediums of cultural expression and storytelling. Chantals' broad fields of interest include; human-animal relations, religion and ecology, and the Primal and Indigenous origins of religious rites and practices.

Heidi Fraser Hageman, PhD

Heidi Fraser Hageman completed her Ph.D. in East-West Psychology (EWP) at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in May 2015. Her doctoral research focused on exploring an integral education at CIIS through surveying and interviewing alumni from the EWP program about the personal and professional value of their non-traditional graduate degree.

Currently, Heidi teaches research, writing, and leadership courses at CIIS, where she also resides as Director of the Center for Writing and Scholarship. She serves as co-chair of the Human Research Review Committee and is a member of the Faculty Research Committee. Passionate about lifelong learning, and self-reflective teaching that nurtures student development along multiple lines of intelligence simultaneously, she aspires to assist students in understanding the value of their integral education and how to effectively communicate that to circles outside CIIS.

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