Estela Mara Bensimon, Ed.D., is a professor of higher education at the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education and codirector of the Center for Urban Education, which she founded in 1999. Bensimon applies her knowledge on organizational learning, leadership, and equity at colleges and universities in several states. With a singular focus on increasing equity in higher education outcomes for students of color, she developed the Equity Scorecard—a process for using inquiry to drive changes in institutional practice and culture.
She is the principal investigator of Equity in Excellence in Colorado, a place-based project funded by the Ford Foundation and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She was also the principal investigator for the Equity Scorecard Initiative in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. In 2007 Professor Bensimon received a grant from the Ford Foundation to organize a series of institutes on the use of critical research methods for over 100 young scholars of equity in higher education.
Bensimon has published extensively about equity, organizational learning, practitioner inquiry, and change; and her articles have appeared in journals such as the Review of Higher Education, Journal of Higher Education, Liberal Education, and Harvard Educational Review. Her most recent publications include a coedited book, Confronting Equity Issues on Campus: Implementing the Equity Scorecard in Theory and Practice. She is also the coeditor of Critical Perspectives on Race and Equity, a special issue of the Review of Higher Education.
Bensimon was president of the Association for the Study of Higher Education in 2005–2006, and vice-president of the American Education Research Association, Division on Postsecondary Education in 1992–1994. She has served on the boards of the American Association for Higher Education and the Association of American Colleges and Universities. She is the current chair of AERA’s Social Justice and Action Committee. In 2011, she was inducted as an AERA Fellow in recognition of excellence in research. She is a recipient of the USC Mellon Mentoring Award for faculty and Distinguished Service Award from the Association for the Study of Higher Education.
Bensimon was associate dean of the USC Rossier School of Education from 1996 to 2000 and was a Fulbright Scholar to Mexico in 2002. She earned her doctorate in higher education from Teachers College, Columbia University.