Featured Keynote Speakers

Dr. Bell PhotoDr. Christopher Bell is an Associate Professor of Media Studies at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. He specializes in the study of popular culture, focusing on the ways in which race, class and gender intersect in different forms of children's media. Dr. Bell is a TED speaker, a diversity and inclusiveness consultant for Pixar Animation Studios, a 2017 David Letterman Award winning media scholar, and the 2017 Denver Comic Con Popular Culture Educator of the Year. Recognized nationally for his expertise in the area of children's culture, he serves as the chair of the Southwest Popular/American Culture Association's Harry Potter Studies division. He teaches both theory and methodology courses in critical analysis of popular culture, rhetorical theory, representation theory and mass media. In what little spare time is left over, Dr. Bell is an author of the children’s books Do Not Open the Door! and Do Not Look Under the Rug!, travels with his wife and daughter, and plays a pretty mean ukulele.



Dr. Bates PhotoDr. Tierney J. Bates  is the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at North Carolina Central University. Reporting to the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, while providing leadership, vision, and planning for multifaceted operations that serve the North Carolina Central University campus community. He is responsible for the academic strategic implementation and programmatic initiatives with oversight and responsibility that includes leadership of direct reports, full-time professionals, and student employees with overall budget management. Dr. Bates has worked in many roles supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion practices at institutions of higher learning and corporate America in the Knoxville, TN, Nashville, TN, Louisville, KY, and Durham, NC communities. His work has garnered him a Chancellors Citation Award, Knoxville Business Journal Top 40 under 40 award, American Express Emerging Leader Award. He was named by Urban Voice Magazine 2010 Upcoming Leader and was an Inaugural Nashville New Leaders Council 2013 Fellow. He has also served on 5 major community boards like the Public Building Authority appointed by the Mayor, Tennessee Theater, Urban League and United Way. He is a sought after speaker on leadership development, diversity and inclusion or becoming culturally fluent, business networking, Greek life, and African-American student success, and more. Dr. Bates is also a co-author in two different publications on Fundraising for Diversity. Dr. Bates currently is a 2018 Higher Education Leadership Foundation Eta Cohort Fellow and is in the Center for Minority Serving Institutions Aspiring Leaders Presidential Fellow Program at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Bates is from Cleveland, Ohio and received his Bachelor of Arts in Mass Media Communications with a minor in African-American History from the University of Akron, his Master of Arts in Higher -Education Administration from the University of Akron, and his MBA from Bryan College, and a Doctorate degree from Spalding University. Dr. Bates is a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., The National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), the American College Personnel Association (ACPA), the National Black MBA Association (NMMBAA), Southern Association of College Student Affairs (SACSA), Southern Association of College Employers (SoACE).