MSU scholars named to Public Presence ranking in education

January 9, 2013

Rebecca Jacobsen

Education Week blogger Rick Hess has named four Michigan State University faculty members to the Edu-Scholar Public Presence Rankings, an annual listing of scholars known for making significant contributions to national debates in education.

College of Education Dean Donald Heller was ranked No. 76 on the list (up from No. 83 last year). Rebecca Jacobsen, assistant professor of teacher education, was new to the ranking at No. 141 (tied). The other MSU representatives listed by the Rick Hess Straight Up (RHSU) blog were Gary Sykes, professor emeritus of teacher education, and Sarah Reckhow, assistant professor of political science. A total of 168 scholars were spotlighted this year.


Donald Heller

The ranking, as Hess writes, “reflects both a scholar’s body of academic work–encompassing books, articles, and the degree to which these are cited–and their 2012 footprint on the public discourse.” That includes appearances in education and general news media, blogs and social media.

“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,” explained Hess, who serves as director of education policy at the American Enterprise Institute. “These results offer insight into how scholars in a field of public concern are influencing thinking and the national discourse.”

Heller is a national authority on issues of higher education accessibility, funding and financial aid, topics on which he has often been called to speak before university leaders, policymaking organizations and lawmakers. Jacobsen has conducted extensive research on public opinion and its impact on education. Her current work has focused on the role of accountability policies.

Several former MSU College of Education faculty members also are on the Public Presence list, such as Richard Elmore, Yong Zhao, David Cohen, Andrew Porter, Deborah Ball and David Labaree.

Read more about the rankings, including the metrics used to measure public impact.