Aaron Pallas

Aaron Pallas is the Arthur I. Gates Professor of Sociology and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. He has also taught at Johns Hopkins University, Michigan State University, and Northwestern University, and served as a statistician at the National Center for Education Statistics in the U.S. Department of Education.

Professor Pallas uses a variety of research tools to inform the public about the relevance and usability of educational research for policy and practice. He educates stakeholders—including representatives of the media—about the complexities and unexpected consequences of accountability and resource distribution policies in public schools. His research, taken up by the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and a variety of media reaching local political leaders, policymakers, parents, and voters, illuminates these dynamics across New York City, New York State and beyond.

Pallas’s efforts to strengthen the capacity of research to enhance educational discourse in the public sphere draw on his studies of the linkages between education policy and inequalities in life chances and the role of schooling in the course of human lives. His research has also addressed the sociology of teaching and teachers’ work and careers, including teacher accountability systems, undergraduate teaching improvement, and the preparation of education researchers. His current research examines patterns of segregation among and within New York City middle schools.

A former editor of the American Sociological Association journal Sociology of Education, he is a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association and an elected member of the National Academy of Education and of the Sociological Research Association, the preeminent honorary society of sociology scholars. He has also served as Chair of the Sociology of Education and Sociology of Children and Youth sections of the American Sociological Association.


Suzanne Walsh

Suzanne Elise Walsh became the nineteenth president of Bennett College on August 1, 2019. She was most recently deputy director of postsecondary success for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, leading and developing a team and a portfolio of over $70 million in postsecondary investments in institutional transformation in the United States. She previously served in leadership roles with the Lumina Foundation for Education and The Heinz Endowments.

Ms. Walsh has received national recognition for her portfolio of work with organizations at the intersection of innovation, technology and learning. Education leaders with whom she has consulted praise her ability to create and work with cross-functional teams as a key driver in affecting flexible, personalized and affordable approaches to higher education, and other leaders have expressed their appreciation for her work on several viability and sustainability initiatives at HBCUs, analyzing complex situations, developing innovative action plans to address challenges and motivating teams.

Ms. Walsh has been a frequent speaker and workshop leader at conferences such as the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities, the American Association of Colleges and Universities, and the Global Learning Council, of which she is an active member. She has published or edited several books and journal articles on the topic of educational transformation, and is the recipient of numerous awards, honors and fellowships.

Ms. Walsh earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from Cornell University, as well as a master’s degree in social work and a law degree from Case Western Reserve University. She is a member of the Ohio Bar.

Lilisa J. Williams

Lilisa Williams is the Director of Faculty and Staff Development in the Human Resources Department at Hudson County Community College.

She oversees the planning, organizing, managing, facilitating, and evaluation of an array of professional development training for faculty and staff. Her other roles include coordinating Adjunct Faculty recruitment activities and other related HR functions.

She is the former Co-Chair for the President’s Advisory Council on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She holds a Certificate in Diversity and Inclusion from eCornellUniversity and is enrolled in the Community College Leadership doctoral program in New Jersey.

Williams holds an Associates in Arts in Business/Public Administration, Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, and an MBA in Human Resources.