Barbara Catbagan | 303-245-4834

Associate Professor, Department Chair


MEd, Colorado State University
BA, Colorado State University

Barbara Catbagan is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Contemplative Education Department, at Naropa University.    Her dedication to contemplative education has evolved through the intersections of her daily practice, her K-12 teaching background and her association with the National Coalition for Equity in Education through which she works with institutions of higher education on issues and initiatives of equity, social justice, and personal and professional development.    The opportunity to work with and learn from excellent colleagues at Naropa University informs her thinking and writing about the connections of contemplative pedagogy and culturally responsive teaching.  With a varied professional background, which includes school teacher, human rights director, mediator, life coach and academic, Barb experiences life as a sojourner through the tangle that is our delicate, beautiful and resilient multicultural world.  Barbara presents locally and nationally on topics germane to cultural responsive teaching, social justice and transformative leadership. She earned her M.Ed. with an emphasis on administrative leadership from Colorado State University.Barbara is an educator with more than twenty years of experience. She is the director of the Counseling Psychology concentration for the Transpersonal Counseling Psychology Department and teaches the department’s multicultural courses. Barbara’s background in diversity, multicultural education, and social justice include having been the multicultural specialist for a large school district and her work as the director of the Human Rights Resource and Education Office for the city of Fort Collins. She is a certified mediator and consultant who has worked with groups throughout Colorado.

From the Heart

Naropa students are the most beautifully complicated people.  I love how they embody contemplative education, growing beyond who they believe they are when they enter Naropa and taking their talents into the world in compassionate and innovative ways.


Research endeavors have been focused on cultural responsive professional development for cohorts of university faculty and staff, and it's impact on student retention and persistent rates.

Courses Taught

Multiculturalism and Diversity in the U.S.
Writing Seminar II
Education, Culture and Contemplative Critical Pedagogy
Social and Cultural Foundations of Counseling Psychology

Student "ah ha" moment

 I once had a student who had grown up in a war torn country.  Through this experience she had never considered the "other" people--the ones against whom the conflict was being fought--as true humans.  "I only thought of them as terrorists," she said.  Through a series of readings, discussions, experiential learning activities, she gave herself the opportunity to think differently about the people who had only been "other."  If I helped in any way, it was through providing the materials, listening and asking difficult questions.  Her opening, her ah-ha, was totally hers.

Recent Publications

  • Culturally Responsive Leadership (February 2016). A workshop for high school teachers seeking more ways to become culturally responsive leaders.  Los Gatos, CA
  • Unidos Equity Institute (July 2015). Five day institute focusing on culturally responsive and equitable practices for university faculty and staff.  Alamosa, CO
  • Relational Intelligence (July 2014)  Three day professional development institute for university faculty.
  • HILOS Cultural Institute (July 2013)  Three day workshop focusing on culture, relational intelligence and active learning strategies for faculty of Adams State University. San Luis, CO
  • Best Practices in Higher Education Enrollment Management (July 2013)  One day workshop for enrollment management professionals at Adams State University.
  • Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education (September 2012)  World Café closing session to complement and complete the three day conference.  Amherst, MA.
  • Transformational Leadership for Educators (June 2011) Three day workshop with PassageWorks faculty.  Denver, CO 
  • Title V Best Practices Conference (March 2011)  Paper presentation:  An Intersectional Approach. 
  • CELT Leadership Institute (May 2011, May 2012, May 2013)  A six-day institute on equity in education for faculty of Adams State University and Northern New Mexico College.
  • Leadership Summit (July 2010)  Three day leadership summit for planning and implementation of equity plans for Trinidad State Junior College.
  • Leadership for Equity  (May 2010)  Three day leadership and planning retreat for Adams State College, Trinidad State Community College, Otero Junior College faculty to follow-up previous work on equity.
  • NCORE—National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education (May 2010)  Reframing Pedagogy: Race, Environment, and Contemplative Education