Rick Hess of AEI recently released his annual list of the 200 most influential education scholars in the U.S. Concurrent with the unveiling of the 2018 list, institutions including Penn and UCLA, among others, issued press releases celebrating the public scholarship and public recognition of their faculty. So who are these 200 university-based scholars at the forefront of education policy and practice? The following seven figures provide a descriptive snapshot of the illustrious body of academics who currently hold a spot on this coveted list.
Two-thirds of the ranked scholars on the 2018 list are men (133) and one-third (67) are women. Despite the overall 2:1 ratio of men to women, eight of the top 10 spots went to women (with Linda Darling-Hammond of Stanford topping the list).
Highest Academic Rank
Nearly 80 percent of the 2018 edu-scholars have achieved the academic rank of full professor. Considerably smaller shares of associate professors (12 percent) and assistant professors (4 percent) made the list. Martin West of Harvard is the highest-ranked associate professor (No. 52), and Robert Kelchen of Seton Hall is the highest-ranked assistant professor (No. 54). Not all scholars are tenured or tenure-track faculty; the remaining 6 percent are university-based researchers or directors of research centers.
Current Affiliation Institution Type
Approximately one-third (72) of 2018 ranked scholars are currently affiliated with just eight institutions in the "Ivy+" category, which includes Brown, Columbia, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, U. Penn, and Yale. Harvard and Stanford lead the pack with the most number of ranked scholars (24 and 20, respectively). Overall, nearly 3 out of 5 scholars are affiliated with private institutions. The remaining 40 percent represent public institutions, though more than 75 percent of those at public institutions are affiliated with just 17 public flagship universities. Among flagships, UCLA boasts the most number of ranked scholars (13) followed by Berkeley (10). Fewer than 10 percent of ranked scholars are affiliated with non-flagship public universities. Sarah Goldrick-Rab of Temple University is the highest-ranked scholar among this group (No. 7).
Nearly all ranked scholars hold either a PhD (85.5 percent) or an EdD (10.5 percent). Thirteen of the 21 EdD holders received their degree from Harvard. Six individuals to make the 2018 list hold professional degrees as their highest degree (4 law, 2 medicine). One individual holds the Master of Public Administration degree, and one holds a B.A. from Harvard College.
Field of Highest Degree
The 200 ranked scholars represent a wide array of disciplinary training. More than one-quarter (28 percent) received their highest degree in the field of education. This broad categorization includes subfields such as curriculum and instruction, educational administration, and higher education. Nearly 20 percent of scholars received PhDs in economics or the economics of education. A similar share (17 percent) received doctorates in psychology or educational psychology. Approximately 10 percent received doctorates in sociology or sociology of education. Approximately 8 percent have their highest degree in the fields of government/political science (17) and public policy/education policy (15). Only two ranked scholars (1 percent) hold PhDs in anthropology and history, respectively.
Highest Degree from Institution Type
Where did the ranked scholars receive their academic training? More than half (107) of all 2018 edu-scholars received their highest degree from just 13 Ivy League or elite private institutions. Thirty-four individuals received their highest degree from Harvard, and 18 from Stanford. One-third of ranked scholars received their highest degree from public flagship universities (with UW-Madison leading flagships with 9). Only 10 percent of scholars received their highest degree from non-flagship public universities. Seven individuals received PhDs from international universities.
2017 to 2018 Rank Change
How did scholars' 2018 rankings compare to 2017? Approximately 40 percent of 2018 scholars remained in the same position or moved up the rankings from 2017. One-third remained within plus/minus 10 spots from their 2017 position. The scholar who realized the greatest positive rank change was Daniel Koretz of Harvard, moving from No. 152 in 2017 to No. 20 in 2018. The 2018 list saw 13 individuals who did not appear on the 2017 list, with Raj Chetty of Stanford ranking the highest (No. 14) among this group.