School of Education News

UW-Madison faculty rated among most influential education scholars

January 07, 2015

In an effort to recognize university-based scholars in the United States who are contributing most substantially to public debates about education, Rick Hess on Wednesday released his annual rankings of the most influential education scholars in America.

And three faculty members from UW-Madison’s School of Education are spotlighted in these 2015 Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings, which appear each January in Education Week’s “Straight Up” blog, which is penned by Hess.

Influential Scholars
Gloria Ladson-Billings (top-left), Sara Goldrick-Rab
(bottom-left) and Geoffrey Borman (bottom-right)
each were ranked among the most influential
education scholars by Education Week blogger
Rick Hess.
“One small way to encourage academics to step into the fray and revisit academic norms is, I think, by doing more to recognize and value those scholars who engage in public discourse,” Hess, who is the American Enterprise Institute’s director of education policy studies, explained in a news release. “As I see it, the extraordinary policy scholar excels in five areas: disciplinary scholarship, policy analysis and popular writing, convening and shepherding collaborations, providing incisive media commentary, and speaking in the public square. I'm not sure I've got everything exactly right, but I think such efforts convey real information and help to spark useful discussion.”

Those from UW-Madison’s School of Education being recognized include:

Gloria Ladson-Billings, who ranks 12th, holds the Kellner Family Chair in Urban Education and is a professor with the departments of Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Policy Studies, and Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis.

Sara Goldrick-Rab, who is tied for 29th in the rankings, is a professor of educational policy studies and sociology. She also is the director and founder of the Wisconsin HOPE Lab, a Senior Scholar at the Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Education and an affiliate of the Institute for Research on Poverty, Center for Financial Security, La Follette School of Public Affairs, and the Wisconsin Center for Education Research.

Geoffrey Borman, who ranks 149th, is a professor with the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, and also is affiliated with WCER.

In addition, Adam Gamoran, who ranks 72nd on Hess' annual rankings, left UW-Madison in the summer of 2013 after spending nine years as the director of the Wisconsin Center for Education Research. Gamoran, who also was the John D. MacArthur Professor of Sociology and Educational Policy Studies at UW-Madison, now is the president of the William T. Grant Foundation.

And UW-Madison’s John Witte checks in at No. 125.  Witte is a professor emeritus of public affairs and political science, and is a faculty affiliate with the Institute for Research on Poverty.

Earlier in the week, Hess explained the scoring rubric he uses to assemble the Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings.  Hess writes: The Edu-Scholar rankings employ metrics that are publicly available, readily comparable, and replicable by third parties. This obviously limits the nuance and sophistication of the measures, but such is life.”

The factors used in calculating these Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings include: Google Scholar scores; book points; highest Amazon ranking; education press mentions; web mentions; newspaper mentions, Congressional Record mentions; and Klout score.

He reports that those eligible for the list are university-based scholars who have a focus wholly or primarily on educational questions. The rankings include the top 150 finishers from last year, augmented by 50 ‘at-large’ additions named by a selection committee of 31 accomplished and disciplinarily, intellectually, and geographically diverse scholars.”

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