Estela Mara Bensimon, Ed.D., is a professor of higher education and co-director of the Center for Urban Education (CUE) at the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education. Her current research is on issues of racial equity in higher education from the perspective of organizational learning and socio-cultural practice theories. She is particularly interested in place-based, practitioner-driven inquiry as a means of organizational change in higher education. She’s received grants from the National Science Foundation to study Latina and Latino students in higher education, the Bill and Melinda Gates and Ford foundations to complete system-level work on college completion in Colorado, and the Teagle Foundation to examine the expanding role of private institutions in transfer pathways.
Dr. Bensimon’s publications about equity, organizational learning, practitioner inquiry and change include: The Underestimated Significance of Practitioner Knowledge in the Scholarship on Student Success; Doing Research that Makes a Difference; Equality in Fact, Equality in Results: A matter of institutional accountability; Measuring the State of Equity in Public Higher Education and Closing the Achievement Gap in Higher Education: An Organizational Learning Perspective. Previously Dr. Bensimon conducted research on leadership in higher education and is the author and co-author of several publications on college presidents, department chairs, and administrative teams. She is co-editor of a new book from Stylus Publishing entitled Confronting Equity Issues on Campus: Implementing the Equity Scorecard in Theory and Practice. In addition, Dr. Bensimon recently co-authored a chapter with Keith A. Witham about “Creating a Culture of Inquiry around Equity and Student Success” in Creating Campus Cultures, Fostering Success among Racially Diverse Student Populations.
Dr. Bensimon’s publications have appeared in Change, Review of Higher Education, The Journal of Higher Education, Liberal Education, and Harvard Education Review. She is the co-author of Redesigning Collegiate Leadership: Teams and Teamwork in Higher Education (with Anna Neumann) and Working with Junior Faculty: The Role of Department Chairs (with K. Ward and K. Sanders). In 2012 she edited a special issue of the Review of Higher Education called Critical Perspectives on Race and Equity.
Dr. Bensimon has held the highest leadership positions in the Association for the Study of Higher Education (President, 2005-2006) and in the American Education Research Association-Division on Postsecondary Education (Vice-President, 1992-1994). She has served on the boards of the American Association for Higher Education and the Association of American Colleges and Universities.
Dr. Bensimon was associate dean of the USC Rossier School of Education from 1996-2000 and was a Fulbright Scholar to Mexico in 2002. She earned her doctorate in higher education from Teachers College, Columbia University.