Education influencers: Six from MSU make national list

January 7, 2015
William Schmidt

William Schmidt

Six Michigan State University faculty members were named today on a national list of scholars recognized for having the greatest influence on public debates about education.

The Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings are published each year by Rick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute in his Education Week blog, Rick Hess Straight Up (RHSU).

This year’s ranking of the top 200 education scholars includes:

  • University Distinguished Professor William Schmidt at #69. Schmidt directs the Center for the Study of Curriculum and co-directs the Education Policy Center at MSU. His work focuses on the impact of curriculum and standards, particularly in math.
  • Donald Heller

    Donald Heller

    College of Education Dean Donald Heller at #76 (tied). Heller’s expertise is in higher education policy and finance, with a focus on issues of college access and choice.

  • Hannah Distinguished Professor Barbara Schneider at #78. Also a faculty member in sociology, Schneider studies how the social contexts of schools and families influence adolescents. Her current work focuses on improving college-going and engagement in learning science.
  • Gary Sykes, professor emeritus of teacher education, at #155. Sykes has focused on policy affecting teaching and teacher education. He now works for Educational Testing Service.
  • Rebecca Jacobsen, associate professor of teacher education, at #193. Jacobsen is associate director of the Education Policy Center at MSU and has studied politics and public opinion in education.
  • Sarah Reckhow, assistant professor of political science, at #197. Reckhow has studied how policy reforms affect urban schools, including the effects of large-scale philanthropy in this area.

The rankings reflects both a scholar’s body of academic work and their footprint on the public discourse in the past year. Hess writes, “The academy today does a passable job of recognizing good disciplinary scholarship but a pretty mediocre job of recognizing scholars who work to move ideas from the pages of barely-read journals into the national policy conversation.” He said great public scholars should excel in five areas: disciplinary scholarship, policy analysis and popular writing, convening and shepherding collaborations, providing incisive commentary, and speaking in the public square.

Factors used to calculate each scholar’s overall score on the Edu-Scholar list include Google Scholar scores; book points; highest Amazon ranking; education press mentions; web mentions; newspaper mentions, Congressional Record mentions; and Klout scores. Read more about the rankings rubric, and see the complete list of ranked scholars.

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