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Dr Ramon Del Castillo

Chicano Studies

Rectory, room #104

Personal Biography Statement

I am Professor and Chair of the Chicana/o Studies Department. My role as an instructor at Metropolitan State University of Denver began in the Sociology Department in 1984 as affiliate faculty. I transferred into the Chicana/o Studies in 1995.

As past Chair of the Masters Program in Nonprofit Program at Regis University (1999-2005), I directed educational services and program development for the department and taught classes in the history of the nonprofit sector, leadership, ethics, managing diversity in organizations and the capstone project. I traveled to Mexico for 5 years, developing collaborative bi-national curricula between the nonprofit and civil society sectors through the “Making Connections in Mexico Program,” in collaboration with ITESO Jesuit University, located in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.

Educational Biography

I possess a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a double major in Sociology and Mexican American Studies from the University of Northern Colorado. My Master's Degrees are in Social Science and Public Administration from the University of Colorado at Denver (UCD) and my Ph.D. is from the Graduate School of Public Affairs at the same university. My Master's research was on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Chicano Viet Nam Veterans and my doctoral dissertation, examined Curanderismo, a traditional approach to holistic and spiritual healing, using theories of innovation to critique the institutionalization process within a publicly funded mental health agency.


I am an activist scholar with professional experience in the fields of mental health, community/economic development and education. I am a published poet and recently was invited to recite at the Taos Poetry Festival. I have written and recited poetry for 4 decades at many venues locally, statewide and nationally. I am also a musician, playing congas and percussion instruments. Shooting pool is one of my hobbies.

Professional Affiliations

My professional history includes 13 years of mental health administration for the Mental Health Corporation of Denver including Centro de las Familias, which included institutionalizing Curanderismo, an indigenous holistic approach to healing, into the repertoire of services in the clinic. I was a Head Start Consultant for 10 years. I have been a member of the National Association of Chicana/o Studies (NACCS) for 25 years. I have sat on several Boards of Directors for nonprofit organizations, which included CLEO Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Rocky Mountain Public Broadcasting System and Radio KUVO, 89.3 FM.

I spent three years as a columnist for the Rocky Mountain News years and am currently a columnist for El Semanario, writing thought provoking essays and public commentary on public policy issues regarding Chicanas/os in American society.

Awards include: Richard T. Castro Memorial Community Service Award for multicultural mental health program innovation (1996; Colorado State Division of Civil Right’s Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award (1998); “Spirit of Tlatelolco Award;” (2005) National recognition from the Latino and Latina Student Law Association (2005) for my contributions to humanitarianism; Cesar Chavez Peace and Justice Committee’s Founders Award (2008); Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales Civil Rights Award by the Latin American Research and Service Agency (LARASA) (2009); Mauricio Sarabia Award for contributions to Chicana/o Literature and Poetry (2011; and the Cesar Chavez Award presented by the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA, 2012); Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Award at Metropolitan State University of Denver (2013). Lena Archuleta Education Award CLLARO Organization. 2014. 2014 Cesar Chavez Leadership Hall of Fame, Denver Public Library. Chicano Humanities and Arts Council (CHAC) 2013 Life Work Achievement Award.

Selected Publications

My professional publications include: "Institutionalizing Curanderismo in Colorado's Community Mental Health System," in "Enduring Legacies: Ethnic Histories and Cultures of Colorado" (2011); "Institutionalizing Curanderismo into a Mainstream Healing System: Boundary Spanners and Innovation in Action,” in Hispanics in the Southwest: Issues of Education, Immigration, Health, and Public Policy (2011; and "The Life History of Diana Velazquez: La Curandera Total," in La Gente: Hispano History and Life in Colorado (1998).

Poetry publications include the following: Tales from a Michoacano; Broken Concrete; From the Corazon of a Bato Loco; and When the Owl Can’t See at Night. Chile Colorado, a CD with three local poets and a storyteller has been used in the Chicana/o Studies Department curriculum at Metro State University. For the last 2 decades, my work has appeared in a variety of magazines and books including but not limited to: Cantos Al Sexto Sol: An Anthology of Aztlanahuac Writing; Cool Salsa edited by Lori M. Carlson and Encyclopedia Chicana; Yellow Medicine Review: A Journal of Indigenous Literature, Art and Thought. I am working on my next book "Quetzales are not Extinct."

Teaching Philosophy

Students are not empty vessals, walking into classrooms ready to be filled with knowledge; they are human beings seeking growth and development in becoming fully humanized. Students entering my educational domain are encouraged to share their experience with their peers through critical dialogue. I believe that students possess knowledge by virtue of living life, and need to understand the power they already possess. Through the creation of gracious space in the classroom, students feel comfortable sharing as they become teachers and learners. I am both a teacher and a learner in the process of teaching. Respect is a cornerstone value in my classroom as student's engage with each other and are transformed into active participants in creating knowledge. As a life-long learner, I challenge students to engage in courageous conversations about the many issues they encounter in our society so that together we can create a more just world. I recently created a class entitled, "Social Justice and Activism in the Chicana/o Community," which is offered in the Honor's Program.

Current Projects

My most recent research includes the continued struggle of "Stigma in Mental Health," as I faciliated focus groups with the 4 major ethnic groups in society for the Mental Health America of Colorado (MHAC corporation. I also participated in research for the Adelante de la Salud Program on "Latinos and Obamacare: Myths and Realities."

As a diversity trainer, I am called upon on many occasions to provide diversity and cultural competency workshops to businesses, government and nonprofit organizations.

As one of the founders of the Cesar Chavez Peace and Justice Committee, we recently celebrated our 15th Annual Event. There are opportunties for students to link in this project and other community projects that strive to make a better world. I play music occasionally with groups in the Denver area and write perform poejazz with musicians in the community.

Courses Taught


Photo of Dr Ramon  Del Castillo

Current Semester Schedule

56723 CHS-3100-001 Social Justice/Activism Chican TR 1100-1215
58301 CHS-1000-003 Introduction Chicano Studies MW 0930-1045
58528 HON-3101-001 Soc. Just./Activism Chicana/o TR 1100-1215
60750 SWK-3110-001 Social Justice/Activism Chican TR 1100-1215
61094 CHS-4850-001 Research Exp Chicana/o Studies MW 1530-1645