Bensimon to receive AERA Division J 2016 Outstanding Publication Award

March 8, 2016

CUE co-director also leading hands-on academic pathway implementation in “real-time”

Dr. Estela Bensimon

Dr. Estela Bensimon

Estela Mara Bensimon will be recognized at the upcoming conference of the American Education Research Association (AERA) in Washington, DC, as one of three editors of the book Critical Approaches to the Study of Higher Education, published in 2015 by John Hopkins University Press. She and fellow editors Ana M. Martinez-Aleman, from Boston College, and Brian Pusser, from the University of Virginia, will receive the AERA Division J 2016 Outstanding Publication Award on Saturday, April 9.

The award recognizes scholars for specific publications judged as making substantial contributions to the literature and/or practice of higher education.

Bensimon is professor of higher education and co-director of USC Rossier’s Center for Urban Education.

Critical research designs and theories can help scholars further understand the environment shaped by higher education institutions as well as through governance and policies. Conceptual theories are far from abstract as they relate to the study of higher education. These theories and models have concrete applications for critical research and practice. This book bridges discussions of critical theory and makes long overdue contributions to contemporary scholarship and can have practical policy and practice implications. The book can serve as an invaluable guide for researchers who seek innovative strategies in higher education scholarship and can be essential for faculty to aim to transform their course development, curriculum and pedagogy through a critical and equity perspective.

Bensimon is also co-author of the recently published Five Principles for Enacting Equity by Design (Association of American Colleges and Universities), co-authored by Alicia C. Dowd and Keith Witham PhD ’15. Dowd is the former co-director of CUE is now a professor in the School of Education at Pennsylvania State University and research associate of Penn State’s Center for the Study of Higher Education (CSHE). Witham is as assistant professor at Temple University.

The work elaborates on the five principles for achieving equity by design that the authors first introduced in In America’s Unmet Promise: The Imperative for Equity in Higher Education (AACU, 2015).

CUE Continues to Get Work Done in Student Equity

CUE’s commitment to student equity led to a recent collaboration with Los Angeles Trade-Technical College (LATTC) that embarks on a comprehensive overhaul of a campus looking to “do well” for their students. LATTC is in the process of implementing comprehensive academic pathways campus wide. Discussions of academic pathways have surged as high schools and colleges are attempting to adapt a more holistic approach to serving diverse student populations. This initiative would entail centralizing student support services, faculty or other resources according to specific areas of focus. The idea and intention is that students would receive a seamless education and have all the resources and knowledge needed to be successful.

Prior to this current project and through the Ford Foundation, CUE provided a developmental evaluation of how academic pathways are developed, sustained and what outcomes they provide for student success. Through this new collaboration, CUE will coach LATTC’s leadership and faculty in onboarding, career and technical education, and basic English and math indicators of success, key areas for academic pathways in the college.

Using an on-the-ground research strategy, CUE engages teams of faculty and staff through a structured process of examining data and qualitative inquiry to improve their practices and student success. By providing various kinds of competencies, knowledge and strategies, along with hands-on action research, CUE is confident that the college will reach its goal of transforming their college to better support student success.