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Heslop taught for four decades at Claremont McKenna College, where he served as Executive Vice President and Dean of the Faculty, and was the founding director of the Rose Institute of State and Local Government. His current academic appointment is as a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Politics and Economics at Claremont Graduate University.
Heslop held senior staff and consulting positions in the California Legislature, and served as research director for a number of California statewide and local initiatives. He was a Congressional Fellow and a consultant to the Committee on Administration in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Heslop served on several advisory commissions, including the California Constitution Revision Commission (1994–97). In 1985 he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to be the Chairman of the National Advisory Council on Educational Research and Improvement and was reappointed to that position by President George H. W. Bush in 1989. He has been a consultant on education and other subjects to many organizations in the U.S. and abroad.
- Oreskes, Michael (8 November 1990). "The 1990 Elections: The Future - Redistricting; Elections Strengthen Hand of Democrats In '91 Redistricting". The New York Times. p. 21. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
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