The University of Wisconsin system will award Estela Mara Bensimon of the USC Rossier School of Education with a 2010 Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award in recognition of her contributions to equity and commitment to educational excellence in the Wisconsin system.
Fifteen other women will receive the award, but Bensimon, co-director of the Center for Urban Education (CUE), is the first woman outside the state of Wisconsin to earn the honor.
“Under Estela’s leadership, CUE has developed rigorous research that is now helping the University of Wisconsin system and other institutions of higher education be more accountable to students from underserved racial and ethnic communities,” said system president Kevin P. Reilly. “Eleven UW institutions are now using Dr. Bensimon’s equity scorecard to engage a process of sustained inquiry in this important area. By drilling down beneath the aggregated data, we can find ways to eliminate gaps in educational opportunities and, more important, outcomes.”
The scorecard is an inquiry tool designed to identify and examine gaps in educational outcomes between majority students and students of color.
Participating institutions began the scorecard process by forming evidence teams made up of faculty, administrators and staff to examine institutional data involving race and ethnicity. As part of the five-year partnership between the UW system and the Center for Urban Education, inequalities in outcomes for African Americans, Latinos and American Indians have been uncovered.
For example, one campus discovered that one reason why African American and Latino students experienced inequitable graduation rates was due to the fact that they were disproportionately likely to be on academic probation by the end of the first year. That institution is now developing a program to prevent students from getting on probation, and for those who slip through the cracks, get them off probation quickly.
The 15th annual Outstanding Women of Color in Education Awards will be presented April 17 at UW-Whitewater. University of Wisconsin institutions submit nominations for the awards, which highlight each recipient’s contributions to diversity, women’s studies scholarship or activism, or to improving the status and climate for women, particularly women of color.