The Robert A. Corrigan Visiting Professorship in Social Justice

VPSJ logoIn recognition of the legacy of Robert A. Corrigan’s twenty-four years of leadership as the University’s 12th president, George and Judy Marcus established the Robert A. Corrigan Visiting Professor in Social Justice to enhance the University’s reputation as a premier public urban institution dedicated to interdisciplinary teaching, scholarship and community engagement for equity and social justice.

The Corrigan Visiting Professors are scholars who are firmly engaged in cutting edge academic, educational and community initiatives that promote social justice and advance the aspirations of people of African American/Black ancestry. The visiting professors are expected to contribute and enrich the work of faculty, students and constituent communities of the College of Ethnic Studies by advancing the theoretical framework, expression or practice of social justice. The awardee is assigned as a fellow to the College's César Chávez Institute for a term of six months to one year.

A Corrigan Visiting Professor teaches one course per semester, delivers one public lecture or event each semester, and participates in select activities related to the promotion of the Visiting Professorship. Successful candidates to the Fellowship are those who can best address the theoretical and practical impact to relevant constituent communities, their engagement with SFSU students and collaboration with SFSU faculty. 

2019-20 Corrigan Visiting Professor - Richard D. Benson II

Photo of Richard BensonDr. Richard Benson is an Associate Professor of Education at Spelman College, in Atlanta. He holds a Ph.D. in Educational Policy Studies/History of Education, an M.Ed. in Instructional Leadership/Educational Studies, and an M.A. in Inner City Studies/Education.

Dr. Benson identifies himself as an activist-scholar that produces scholarship, which aligns with his passion for teaching. His teaching philosophy, which is focused on providing students with experiences that foster anti-racist pedagogy, works to motivate future educators to embrace the importance of social justice education that pushes back against neoliberal agendas.

Currently, his research and teaching interests include four areas: 1) history of education, 2) socio-political foundations of education 3) school and community intersections and 4) alternative community-led educational movements domestic and transnational. With particular emphasis given to the intersections, shifts, and areas of convergence in thes four areas of education, he provides pedagogical experiences that challenge the dominant and hegemonic perspectives of education from historical and socio-political lenses.

Dr. Benson hopes to provide a unique opportunity for both undergraduate and graduate level instruction at the College of Ethnic Studies that focuses on curricular enhancement through critical pedagogy and social justice curricula. Additionally, he hopes to expose faculty, students and constituent communities of the College to the historical and educational comparisons of Black educational activism and social justice through this project that promotes the study of Black Internationalism.

For his Fellowship, Dr. Benson will advance work on his project entitled “Resistance Under the Crown”: Black Education, Protest and Radical Activism in Britain 1965-1988", a historical project that provides a critical examination and narrative of social protest for educational equity during the era of the Black Power movement in Britain. By utilizing a base of underutilized primary resources and historical data that has been omitted from the historiography of Black life in Britain, the resulting book will investigate the intersections of: race, student-worker organizing, independent institution building & the construction of non-traditional sites of counter-hegemonic pedagogy and learning.

His project will contribute to scholars’ understanding of the historical parallels between the 1960s/1970s Black Freedom Struggle of the United States and the protest activity of the West Indian population of Britain from the 1960s through the 1980s. This work can allow for the development of scholarship and curriculum that are Diasporic in scope and interdisciplinary in practice. Scholars and teachers will be able to use this new cultural and racial information to develop culturally responsive pedagogy that contributes to holistic student growth. He hopes this project will motivate more US-based scholars of Africana, Black Studies, African Diasporic Studies and  Education History to continue in the traditions of broadening their scholarly perspectives of transnational inclusion and interdisciplinarity when conducing scholarly investigations on people of African descent, education and social movements.


2016-17 Corrigan Visiting Professor - Jacqueline Francis, PhD

George (B.A., '65) and Judy Marcus (B.A., '62), who met while studying at SF State, have previously funded the International Center for the Arts and provided significant support to the Center for Modern Greek Studies, the Department of Cinema, student scholarships and other SF State programs. George Marcus is the founder and chairman of Marcus & Millichap, a real estate brokerage firm based in Palo Alto.

Corrigan established one of the nation's first black studies programs at the University of Iowa in the 1960s. As SF State president for nearly a quarter of a century until his 2012 retirement, Corrigan was recognized for his efforts to build a more diverse campus community. Approximately half of the tenure-track faculty hired during his administration were female, and almost half were minorities.

President Robert Corrigan in his library

President Robert A. Corrigan