We’re Number 7!

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.




13 Responses to We’re Number 7!

  1. Jason Bedrick says:

    Mazel tov!

  2. Jason Bedrick says:

    Let me know when you reconsider your position on distance learning. 😛

  3. Greg Forster says:

    Congratulations to Jay and the U.Ark. team for their extraordinary accomplishments in the field of acquiring arbitrary and meaningless recognition!

    I just know someday soon you’ll get that coveted Montgomery Burns Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence.

    • jean sanders says:

      I agree it is “arbitrary and meaningless” see some of my reasoning below; it also appears that there is hypocrisy in brining Sandra Stotsky on to the staff??? would like some explanations as to how all that is funded and what the purpose and mission is (other than to destroy any competition ????)

  4. Tim says:

    You and Sara Goldrick-Rab were on the selection committee? That must have been . . . interesting.

    • jean sanders says:

      Thank you, Tim, for clearing up some of the ‘muddiness” that I was reading into this story with inferences from my own experience ….

  5. WT says:

    Perhaps he should limit the list to scholars with actual tenure or tenure-track professorships and who write actual scholarship at least occasionally (thus omitting the Diane Ravitches and Tony Wagners, who are not “scholars” any more than Richard Simmons is).

    • Greg Forster says:

      I know a lot of people who are scholars but don’t have tenure or tenure-track positions; I know a lot of people who have tenure or tenure-track positions but are not scholars.

      Just saying.

      • jean sanders says:

        I consider myself a professional educator; I have been adjunct faculty at 5 different colleges over the years because my full time job was research/administrator in pubic schools…. I know that disqualifies me for any “scholar ” category but I do believe I have become a critical reader (if not capable of critical thinking)… If Diane Ravitch has a long time career/experience with a specialty in educational history I don’t see how that disqualifies her? I don’t know how many people would be left on your “scholars” listing???? or where they might be but I would entertain a reading list because I try to keep up with my field. Are there any “scholars”? please tell me where they are so that I can also leave the group of “the unwashed” and read what they are disseminating. Or, are we talking about the golden globes here???

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