Dr. Estela Mara Bensimon is a professor of higher education and co-director of the Center for Urban Education (CUE) at the USC 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 practitioner-driven inquiry as a means of organizational change in higher education.
Bensimon’s publications about equity, organizational learning, practitioner inquiry and change include: Confronting Issues of Equity on College Campuses: The Equity Scorecard in Theory and Practice (with L.Malcom), 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; Dimensions of the “Transfer Choice” Gap: Experiences of Latina and Latino Students Who Navigated Transfer Pathways (with A.C. Dowd); 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. 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); Promotion and Tenure: Community and socialization in academe (with W.G. Tierney); and Working with Junior Faculty: The Role of Department Chairs (with K. Ward and K. Sanders).
Prior to this, she 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. 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). ). In 2011 she was inducted as an AERA Fellow in recognition of excellence in research. She is the recipient of USC’s Mellon Award for Excellence in Mentoring; The University of Wisconsin’s Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award; and the Association for the Study of Higher Education’s Service Award.