Governor names USC Rossier professor to top education commission

January 16, 2018

Estela Bensimon appointed to Education Commission of the States

By Ross Brenneman

USC Rossier Professor of Higher Education Estela Mara Bensimon

Governor Jerry Brown has appointed USC Rossier Professor of Higher Education Estela Mara Bensimon to be a member of the Education Commission of the States.

The commission started as an interstate compact on education policy in the 1960s. Each state holds a seven-person delegation, including the governor, a state senator, a state representative, and four appointees.

Bensimon, director of the Center for Urban Education, will represent the higher education community in California’s delegation.

“Dr. Bensimon has built the Center for Urban Education into a national force for equity in higher education, making a mark especially in California by transforming the practices of community colleges and universities in our state,” said Karen Symms Gallagher, dean of USC Rossier. “This appointment by the governor is both a recognition of her individual contributions and an indication that her equity-minded practice in education is becoming the norm at the highest levels of government.”

The commission creates education policy research and reports, and also tracks education policy within each state. Commissioners are responsible for identifying and communicating state policy issues, sharing commission resources and research, encouraging engagement among other commissioners within their own states and participating in two annual meetings.

“I am very proud of being appointed to represent the interests of California’s public education systems in the Education Commission of the States,” Bensimon said. “In my role as commissioner my intent is to draw on ECS’ extensive resources and knowledge to address the equity challenges faced by minoritized students in higher education, particularly in the areas of community college transfer, increasing degree attainment and reforming non-credit developmental education.”

In 2017, Bensimon received the Social Justice in Education Award from the American Educational Research Association, and was elected into the National Academy of Education.

Commissioners serve at the pleasure of their respective governors. The commission is funded by state dues, in addition to foundational and corporate giving.

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