Today, we unveil the 2019 RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings, ranking the university-based scholars in the U.S. who did the most last year to shape educational practice and policy. Simply being included in this list of 200 scholars is an accomplishment, given the tens of thousands who might qualify. The list includes the top finishers from last year, augmented by “at-large” nominees chosen by the 29-member selection committee (see yesterday’s post for a list of committee members, an explanation of the selection process, and all the salacious methodological details).
Without further ado, here are the 2019 rankings (scroll through the chart to see all names and scores). Please note that all university affiliations reflect a scholar’s institution as of December 2018.
The top scorers are all mostly familiar education names, though perhaps not as broadly familiar as in recent years. Topping the rankings was Stanford University’s Carol Dweck, the celebrated scholar of “growth mindset.” Rounding out the top five, in order, were Stanford’s Linda Darling-Hammond, Harvard’s Howard Gardner, University of Wisconsin’s Gloria Ladson-Billings, and Stanford’s Jo Boaler. The rest of the top ten included Temple’s Sara Goldrick-Rab, Harvard’s Paul Peterson, University of Virginia’s Carol Tomlinson, and University of Virginia president Jim Ryan.
Stanford political philosopher Rob Reich made the biggest single leap from last year, climbing 110 spots to 34th place. His rise was fueled by his new book Just Giving and a near tripling in newspaper mentions. Others making especially big jumps from 2018 included UC Berkeley’s John Powell, Harvard’s Joshua Goodman, Northwestern’s Carol Lee, and University of Pennsylvania’s Richard Ingersoll.
Stanford had an impressive year, placing three scholars in the top five, and five in the top 20. Harvard, the University of Virginia, and Temple also placed multiple scholars in the top 20. When it came to overall representation, Harvard led the way with 22 ranked scholars; Stanford was second, with 18; and UCLA was third, with 13. All told, 57 universities had at least one scholar make the cut.
Several top scorers penned influential books of (generally) recent vintage. Dweck’s popular Mindset: The New Psychology of Success continues to fare remarkably well, even 13 years after publication. Other books that did especially well were Angela Duckworth’s Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance (2016), Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America (2018), Christopher Emdin’s For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood (2016), and Jo Boaler’s Mindset Mathematics: Visualizing and Investigating Big Ideas (2015). The titles of these volumes inevitably offer a snapshot into the popular mood.
Now, if readers want to argue the construction, reliability, or validity of any or all of these metrics, feel free. This whole endeavor is admittedly a highly imperfect exercise. Of course, the same can be said about college rankings, NFL quarterback ratings, or international scorecards of human rights. Yet, for all their imperfections, such efforts convey real information and help spark useful discussion. I hope the same is true here.
I welcome thoughts and questions and am happy to entertain any and all suggestions. So, take a look, and have at it.
Tomorrow, we’ll break down the top 10 faculty in each discipline, and highlight the top five junior faculty.
The opinions expressed in Rick Hess Straight Up are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.