News Release| Pat Brown Institute; Cal State L.A.

Professor, author and city governance expert Raphael J. Sonenshein named executive director of the Pat Brown Institute of Public Affairs

Los Angeles, CARaphael J. Sonenshein, a noted professor, author and expert on the governance of Los Angeles and the region, has been named executive director of the Edmund G. “Pat” Brown Institute (PBI) of Public Affairs at California State University, Los Angeles.

Sonenshein will begin his tenure at PBI in February 2012, replacing Jaime Regalado, who is retiring after heading the Institute since 1991. The Institute is a non-partisan public policy center dedicated to sustaining the vision and legacy of former California Governor Pat Brown through convening public policy forums, engaging multi-sector stakeholders and diverse communities, and conducting timely policy research and community-driven initiatives.

“It’s a great honor to follow in the footsteps of Jaime Regalado. PBI is a jewel, one that reflects the vision of the great governor for whom it is named, and the work of the many people who built and have sustained it for more than two decades,” said Sonenshein. “I hope to further expand the Institute’s impact on the daily lives of the people who live in our neighborhoods, our cities, our region and our state, and on the public policies that affect us all. For me, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Sonenshein is currently chair of the Division of Politics, Administration and Justice at Cal State Fullerton (CSUF), a professor of political science and public administration, and the director of the Division’s Center for Public Policy. He has been teaching at CSUF since 1982.

From 1997 to 1999, he served as executive director of the City of Los Angeles Appointed Charter Reform Commission, which helped create the first successful comprehensive reform of the Los Angeles City Charter in 75 years, and has since advised charter reforms in Glendale, Burbank, Culver City, and Huntington Beach. 

“The breadth of Dr. Sonenshein’s experience as an expert in city governance, politics and as an educator is immeasurable,” said CSULA Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Ashish Vaidya, who chairs the Board of Advisors of the Institute. “His prowess as a researcher and writer, as well as his innate ability to work collaboratively with civic leaders, policy makers, and educational administrators will be invaluable as he leads the Institute in expanding its mission, and in continuing the enduring legacy of former Governor Pat Brown.”

As a professor, Sonenshein has received numerous awards, including “Best Educator” from the CSUF’s Associated Students, Inc., “Distinguished Faculty Member” from the CSUF’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the CSU Wang Family Excellence Award.

As an author, he has written extensively regarding city governance and the relationships among racial and ethnic groups, and is currently working on his fourth book. His monthly column, “The Jewish Vote,” which runs in the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, was nominated in 2005 as the best column by the Los Angeles Press Club.

Sonenshein is also sought after as a political expert by many local and national media outlets. During the election seasons of 1997, 2001, and 2005, he served as the political consultant of the Los Angeles Times’ election-day exit polls, and has penned op-ed pieces for the newspaper. He has also appeared on CNN, NPR, KPCC and KCRW.

Sonenshein received his B.A. in public policy from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from Yale University.

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