Bensimon named to the National Academy of Education

March 1, 2017

Director of Center for Urban Education recognized as champion for equity

By Ross Brenneman

Dr. Estela Mara Bensimon

Estela Mara Bensimon, a professor of higher education at the USC Rossier School of Education and director of the Center for Urban Education, has been elected into the National Academy of Education, the organization announced Wednesday.

The mission of the National Academy of Education is to advance high-quality research that improves education policy and practice. Members of the academy are chosen based on their portfolio of education-related research; Bensimon was one of 14 new members in this year’s class.

“Being voted into the National Academy is a great honor and I am very grateful for being recognized by the top scholars in education,” Bensimon said.

As director of CUE, Bensimon has made the organization into a national leader in improving racial equity within colleges and universities, most notably through use of the prominent Equity Scorecard. Under Bensimon’s leadership, CUE continues to innovate: Earlier in February, the Center collaborated with the Lumina Foundation to publish three new tools that provide guidance to state policymakers around building equity-focused policies for higher education.

“Receiving this recognition from the National Academy is affirming of critical action research as a legitimate form of scholarship,” Bensimon said. “I hope it will encourage others to think about ways of doing research to help higher education practitioners develop the knowledge and agency to be equity-minded change agents.”

The academy has 209 U.S. members and 11 foreign associates. Members are expected to serve on expert study panels that analyze pressing education issues as well as engage in the organization’s professional development and fellowship programs.

“Through her own research and as director of the Center for Urban Education, Estela has impacted countless college students by literally transforming the institutions that serve them,” said Dean Karen Symms Gallagher. “It is fitting that she be recognized by our nation’s most esteemed education academy just as our country is facing new challenges in ensuring equity for all students, regardless of race, sexual identity or background. I know this honor will embolden her as she continues to work with colleges across the country.”

Bensimon is now the fourth USC Rossier faculty member to earn admission to the academy, joining professors Ron Avi Astor, Robert Rueda and William Tierney. Astor was selected to the academy in last year’s class.

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