Meet Our Faculty

Our graduate program faculty are experienced educators and pioneers in the field of humane education. They are outstanding humane educators, mentors, and advocates for our students.

Sarah M. Bexell

Sarah Bexell, has worked in wildlife conservation, humane education and sustainable development for over 25 years. She holds a B.A. in biology and environmental studies from Augustana College, M.A. in biological anthropology from Northern Illinois University, M.Ed. in secondary science education from Georgia State University, and a Ph.D. in early childhood education from Georgia State University. Currently she is Clinical Associate Professor with the Graduate School of Social Work as well as Director of Humane Education for the Institute for Human-Animal Connection, both at the University of Denver. She is also a faculty member with the Institute for Humane Education-Antioch University and Senior Advisor to Conservation Education at China’s Chengdu Giant Panda Research Base.

Mary Pat Champeau

Mary Pat Champeau is the director of graduate programs at the Institute for Humane Education and faculty at Antioch University. She holds an MA from New York University.
Mary Pat has been in the field of education since 1979 when she began teaching as a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger, West Africa. Before becoming part of the IHE team, she worked in refugee camps in Southeast Asia and supervised American culture and language programs for the World Trade Institute in New York City. Since 2002, she has directed and taught in IHE’s graduate programs first with Cambridge College, then Valparaiso University, and now at Antioch. She has served on numerous school and non-profit boards and is a longstanding member of the humane education anti-racism working group.

Chitra Golestani

Chitra Golestani is on the faculty of IHE and Antioch University, associate director of the Wilmette Institute, and a co-founder of the Paulo Freire Institute (PFI) at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She holds a Ph.D. in Social Science and Comparative Education from UCLA and a Master’s in Education from University of California, Santa Barbara. She is engaged in numerous grass-roots programs aimed at raising human capacity for people of all backgrounds to build a more just, peaceful, and sustainable planet.

Dana McPhall

Dana McPhall has over 25 years of experience in the nonprofit and government sectors. In 2015, Dana graduated from the Valparaiso University/IHE Master of Education-Humane Education program, and she also has a Juris Doctorate and a Master of Public Policy. Early on in her career, Dana worked to protect and to seek justice for low-income women and children exposed to domestic violence and for animals suffering from cruelty and neglect. More recently, Dana has dedicated herself to promoting humane education in both K-12 and higher education. After receiving her M.Ed. degree, Dana volunteered with IHE as part of both the Alumni Association and Curriculum Advisory Boards. Last year, Dana joined IHE’s faculty at Antioch University, and teaches Human Rights, Environmental Ethics, and Race, Intersectionality and Veganism. Dana also chairs a working group of IHE staff and alumni dedicated to integrating racial justice issues more deeply into the field of humane education. Dana is exploring ways to expand this work, especially in terms of teaching educators, advocates, and parents about the systemic roots of anti-Black racism and the exploitation of non-human animals.

Cynthia Trapanese

Cynthia Trapanese is a classroom teacher at an inquiry-based school in San Francisco. Her professional focus includes weaving together humane education, arts integration, culturally responsive pedagogy, and positive learning environments. Cynthia has an M.Ed. in Humane Education, and GA and CA Elementary Education (TK-6) Teaching Certifications. As a writer, she has published articles in YES! magazine, and the Audubon Activist, and has co-authored a chapter in a college-level social studies textbook. Cynthia is a member of the IHE faculty at Antioch University where she teaches Creative Activism and Just, Good Food. She is a lifelong learner with a passion for continuously looking at contextual relevance based on what is needed in the moment for students and faculty, as cultural and societal changes happen.

Kris Tucker

Kris Tucker is on the faculty of the IHE program at Antioch University and teaches Writing for Social Change, Humane Education Capstone, and Building a Solutionary Practice. She has her Ed.D. in Higher Education and Adult Learning and is a veteran teacher with 20 years of classroom experience. Her interest in humane education, adult learning, literacy, special education, sustainability, outdoor/experiential education, and transformative learning is indicative of her deep commitment to social change. Kris works full-time as an educator at Ridge and Valley Charter School.

Zoe Weil

Zoe Weil is the co-founder and president of IHE. She is a pioneer in the humane education movement and has been teaching humane education and training humane educators since 1987. In addition to creating IHE's graduate programs, speaking around the world, and leading workshops, Zoe has authored several books, including The Power and Promise of Humane Education, Above All, Be Kind, and Most Good, Least Harm. Zoe received a Master's in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School and a Master's in English Literature from the University of Pennsylvania.