2021 Edu-Scholar Public Influence: Top Tens

And a special nod to junior faculty who earned spots on the list.


Yesterday, we unveiled the 2021 Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings. Of course, over the years, readers have also expressed an interest in how scholars fared when it came to particular fields of study. After all, education research includes a lot of people doing very different kinds of work. Consequently, where scholars rank overall may be less telling than where they rank within their field. Today, we’ll report on the top 10 finishers for five disciplinary categories and also give a special nod to the junior faculty who made the rankings. (For a detailed discussion of how the scoring was done, see Tuesday’s post.)

Now, there can be ambiguity when it comes to determining a given scholar’s discipline. For the most part, my eagle-eyed research assistants Hannah Warren, Hayley Sanon, and Tracey Schirra worked off CVs, relying primarily on a scholar’s earned degree. In the handful of cases where that didn’t do the trick, I made a judgment call. If you think I’ve made the wrong call on someone, just let me know, and we’ll do our best to make appropriate adjustments next year.

You can scroll through each chart below.

The tables pretty much speak for themselves. The top finisher in Curriculum, Instruction, and Administration was Gloria Ladson-Billings; in Economics, Raj Chetty; in Government and Policy, Terry Moe; in Psychology, Angela Duckworth (Full disclosure: Angela Duckworth blogs for Education Week); and, in Sociology, Robert Slavin.

Beyond the disciplinary breakdowns, I also want to give a special nod to junior faculty who made the Edu-Scholar rankings. Given that the exercise, by design, favors scholars who’ve built bodies of work and had a sustained impact, the junior faculty who fare well deserve particular notice. Indeed, readers will note that just four junior faculty made the rankings. University of Massachusetts-Lowell’s Jack Schneider topped the junior faculty chart this year, while other ranked junior faculty included Harvard’s Anthony Jack and Peter Blair and Wisconsin’s Bianca Baldridge.

Well, that wraps up the 2021 Edu-Scholar Rankings. We’ll do this all again next year; same time, same place. Next week, we’ll return to our regularly scheduled programming.

Frederick Hess is director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute and an executive editor of Education Next.

This post originally appeared on Rick Hess Straight Up.

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