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, 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 PhD in early childhood education with a cognate in science education from Georgia State University. Currently she is Clinical Associate Professor with the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work as well as Director of Humane Education for the University of Denver’s Institute for Human-Animal Connection. At the University of Denver she teaches courses and internships in Sustainable Development and Global Practice, Humane Education and Animal Studies. She is also a Faculty Member with the Institute for Humane Education-Valparaiso University and the Director of Conservation Education at China’s Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding.
Mary Pat ChampeauMary Pat Champeau, the Director of Education at IHE and a faculty member at Valparaiso University, has been an educator for more than 30 years. She holds an M.A. in English from New York University. Mary Pat has been a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger, West Africa, and has supervised teacher training programs in Southeast Asian refugee camps in Indonesia and Thailand. Before moving to Maine in 1994, she worked for organizations serving refugee populations and coordinated English language and American culture programs for the World Trade Institute in New York City. She currently lives in Maine with her husband George, son Liam, daughters Claire and Jing Hui Fan, and numerous animal friends.
Natalie Evans Natalie Evans has been teaching in College and University classrooms and online for over 12 years. She is a Fellow with the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, and has designed, written and taught courses in environmental ethics and environmental philosophy. With a diverse and extensive teaching background in media studies, ethics, philosophy and applied ethics, she shares her passion for social justice by gently challenging students to question their own beliefs in order to find new paths for communicating and effecting change using new media. Natalie holds Bachelor’s, Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Philosophy, along with a University Certificate in Environmental Science. Her Master’s dissertation focused on environmental philosophy, and her Ph.D. thesis combined animal ethics and the study of animal consciousness.
Chitra Golestani, Adjunct FacultyChitra Golestani is on the faculty of IHE and Valparaiso University, co-founded the Paulo Freire Institute (PFI) at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and is a PFI Research Associate, educator, and educational consultant. 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 students’ capacity to play their unique role as “solutionaries” for a more just, peaceful, and sustainable planet.
Breeze Harper has a Ph.D. in Social Science with an emphasis on leveraging diversity challenges for social impact. She holds an MA in Educational Technologies (emphasis in black feminist theory, social impact, and educational technologies) from Harvard University, where she received the Dean’s Award for her masters thesis work. She earned her BA in feminist geography from Dartmouth College and received the Innovative Thesis award for her work on heterosexism in rural geographies. Dr. Harper created and edited the ground-breaking anthology, Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak On Food, Identity, Health, and Society.
Dana McPhall portraitDana 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. Since receiving her M.Ed. degree, Dana has volunteered with IHE as part of both the Alumni Association and Curriculum Advisory Boards and is currently helping lead IHE’s efforts in integrating racial justice issues more deeply into the field of humane education. Dana has recently joined IHE’s faculty, and will be teaching a course called Race, Intersectionality and Veganism. In addition, Dana recently joined Humane Education Advocates Reaching Teachers (HEART) as the California Program Consultant. In her own community of Los Angeles, Dana helps support parents and educators in talking with children about race and racism and other social justice issues and is interested in developing more humane resources for parents.
Cynthia Trapanese portraitCynthia Trapanese is a classroom teacher in an urban Atlanta Title I public school. Her professional focus centers on weaving together humane education, arts integration, culturally relevant pedagogy, and positive learning environments. Cynthia has a Master’s degree in Humane Education, Elementary Education (PreK-5) Teaching Certification, and ESOL Endorsement. She is a Ph.D. student in the College of Education and Human Development at Georgia State University.
Kristine TuckerKris Tucker is on the faculty of IHE and Valparaiso University and is a veteran teacher with 14 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. She is currently in the dissertation phase of her EdD in Higher Education and Adult Learning and works as full-time educator at Ridge and Valley Charter School.
Zoe WeilZoe 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.