The greatest thing about Rick Hess’ ranking of Edu-Scholar Public Influence is how much anger and denunciation it riles up. People argue about the methodology, complain about who is excluded from the ranking, and dismiss the whole enterprise as irrelevant, all the while secretly hoping that they and their friends will rise higher in the rankings next year. Rick is pretty up front about how imperfect his ranking is. And he probably just views the whole thing as an amusing recreation.
Ranking scholars is like ranking actors or ranking albums. It’s great fun and provokes lots of debates, but doesn’t really mean too much. The Oscars and Rolling Stones lists tell us something about what people think about movies and music, but they offer far from objective methods of identifying excellence. You are free to like what you like and make your own ranking.
That being said, I’m going to go ahead and abuse Rick’s ranking and brag about how the University of Arkansas Department of Education Reform is the 7th most influential education policy program in the country. Three of our six regular faculty members are listed among the 87 most influential scholars. Only 6 other universities have more scholars in the top 87: Stanford (with 14), Harvard (with 9), Columbia (with 6), and NYU, Vanderbilt, and UCLA (each with 4). We tie the Universities of Virginia, Wisconsin, Michigan, Berkeley, and Pennsylvania with having 3 scholars in the top 87.
And since 3 of our 6 faculty members are in the top 87, you could argue that we are the most influential department since no other program has half of its scholars in the top 100. Anyone interested in working with these excellent people to get a Ph.D. in education policy should check out our doctoral program and learn how to apply there. We cover tuition and fees and offer a generous stipend for all students admitted to our program.
Now I’m going to check out this list of the top 100 Bob Dylan songs. What? No Way! Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands and It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue should definitely be 1 and 2. How’d they do this stupid ranking? Well, just enjoy this Joan Baez cover.