Gary Orfield

Co-Director, Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA

Gary Orfield is a Professor of Education, Law, Political Science and Urban Planning at UCLA, where he joined the faculty in 2003. Professor Orfield’s scholarship focuses on the study of civil rights, education policy, urban policy, and minority opportunity. As a former Harvard University scholar, Orfield was co-founder and director of the Harvard Civil Rights Project and is now co-director of the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA.

Orfield's central interest has been the development and implementation of social policy, with a focus on the impact of policy on equal opportunity for success in American society. His works includes six co-edited books since 2004 and numerous articles and reports.

Recent books include, Twenty-First Century Color Lines: Multiracial Change in Contemporary America. (edited with A. Grant-Thomas); Lessons In Integration: Realizing the Promise of Racial Diversity in America's Public Schools (with E. Frankenberg); Dropouts in America: Confronting the Graduation Rate Crisis; School Resegregation: Must the South Turn Back? (with John Boger), and Higher Education and the Color Line (with Patricia Marin and Catherine Horn).

In addition to his scholarly work, Orfield has been involved in the development of governmental policy and served as expert witness in several dozen court cases related to his research, including the University of Michigan’s U.S. Supreme Court case, which upheld the policy of affirmative action in 2003. He has been called to give testimony in civil rights suits by the United States Department of Justice and many other civil rights, legal services, and educational organizations.

Professor Orfield was awarded the American Political Science Association's Charles Merriam Award for his contribution to the art of government through the application of social science research. He was also honored with the 2007 Social Justice in Education Award by the American Educational Research Association for “work that has had a profound impact on demonstrating the critical role of education research in supporting social justice.” He is a member of the National Academy of Education. A native Minnesotan, Orfield received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and travels extensively in Latin America.