Today, we unveil the 2020 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 20,000 or more 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 2020 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 2019.
The top scorers are all familiar names. Topping the rankings was Stanford University’s Carol Dweck, the doyenne of “growth mindset.” Also making the top five, in order, were Stanford’s Linda Darling-Hammond, Harvard University’s Howard Gardner, Stanford’s Jo Boaler, and Harvard’s Raj Chetty. Rounding out the top 10 were NYU’s Diane Ravitch, UCLA’s Pedro Noguera, University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Gloria Ladson-Billings, Temple’s Sara Goldrick-Rab, and U. Penn’s Angela Duckworth.
Washington University education dean William F. Tate made the biggest single leap from last year, climbing 110 spots to 52nd place. His rise was boosted by media speculation that he was in line to be hired as the next chancellor at the University of Tennessee or president of the University of South Carolina. Others making the biggest jumps from last year included the University of Virginia’s Sarah Turner, UC-Berkeley’s Jesse Rothstein, Penn State’s Erica Frankenberg, and UC-Berkeley’s David Kirp.
Stanford placed three scholars in the top five and five in the top 20. Harvard, the University of Virginia, UCLA, and UC-Berkeley also placed multiple scholars in the top 20. In terms of overall representation, Harvard led the way with 23 ranked scholars; Stanford was second, with 17; and UCLA was third, with 14. All told, 58 universities had at least one scholar make the cut.
When it comes to the best-selling books penned by the top 200 scholars, Dweck’s Mindset: The New Psychology of Success continues to top the charts—14 years after its initial publication. Other books that fared 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), Jo Boaler’s Mindset Mathematics: Visualizing and Investigating Big Ideas (2015), and Christopher Emdin’s For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood (2016). Remarkably, these are the exact same five books that held the top five spots last year. Year in and year out, this list of titles invariably offers 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 an imprecise, 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.
See more on the 2020 RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings here.
Correction: The original version of this post incorrectly listed Jeffrey Henig’s Education Press score. The chart has been updated accordingly.
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.