About Dr. Jacques Benninga

Benninga is Professor of Education and Chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. He has directed Fresno State’s Bonner Center for Character Education and Citizenship since its founding in 1997.

Benninga completed his education at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro (BA) and George Peabody College, Vanderbilt University (MA and PhD). He came to CSU Fresno in 1983 after teaching preschool, kindergarten and special education in North Carolina and Tennessee, and stints at two universities in Kentucky--Western Kentucky University and the University of Kentucky (1976-1983).

At CSU Fresno Benninga has held various positions, including Liberal Studies Coordinator (1988-1998), Chair of the Department of Literacy and Early Education (1990-2003), and Chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction (since 2010). His teaching has focused on exploring with students the qualitative differences in children’s conceptual thinking and how those differences impact classroom instruction. Benninga’s academic interests have focused on children’s moral development and their character education. His research has focused on how moral understanding and character education rightfully impact schools’ structuring of a safe and welcoming environment.

In his research he has compared the effects of various school environments on children’s social development, the relation between excellent character education and academic achievement, and the effects of dilemma discussions on teachers’ development of professional ethical understandings.

Benninga has published one book on moral development and character education and approximately 40 journal articles, many of which have been republished and widely disseminated. The Bonner Center for Character Education that he directs has for 27 years sponsored an award program to recognize excellence in character education in the Central Valley, and co-sponsors the Kremen School’s annual Conference on Character and Civic Education, now in its 30th year. In addition, the Bonner Center sponsors a long-running weekly radio program on the Valley’s public radio station (KVPR, 89.3 FM) called “The Moral Is”.

Benninga has served on a variety of university and local committees and boards. In 2012 he was awarded the Sanford N. McDonnell Award for Lifetime Achievement in Character Education by the Character Education Partnership, Washington, DC.

Jacques Benninga VITAE (pdf)