Six CU-Boulder scholars ranked among most influential in education

By Staff

Six members of the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education faculty were recognized in the “Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings” for being among the nation’s top 200 researchers whose scholarship bridges academic and public audiences.



School of Education Dean Lorrie Shepard (No. 82) was joined on the list by faculty members Derek Briggs (No. 178), Gene Glass (No. 10), Kris Gutiérrez (No. 133), Alex Molnar (No 121) and Kevin Welner (No. 89).

The list was initiated by Rick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute and is published on Hess’ blog in Education Week. He began the project five years ago to “spur conversation about which university-based academics are contributing most substantially to public debates over education and ed policy, and how they do so.”

Hess and his colleagues scored each scholar on the list in eight categories, including number of books published and Amazon ranking; number of mentions in the press, blogs and the Congressional Record; Twitter Klout score; and Google Scholar score, which attempts to calculate citations of the scholar’s work.

“By bringing together measures of scholarly impact and broader impact on public dialogue, Hess has helped to advance a very important discussion,” said Shepard. “While we must recognize that the particular criteria used in these rankings are quite limited in capturing scholars’ influence, I am pleased to see our small School of Education featured so prominently as contributing to public discussion.”

Shepard hopes that education scholars will follow Hess’ lead and work together to create what are known as “altmetric” approaches to account for public scholarship. “As a community of scholars dedicated to this work, we must develop robust measures to capture authentic public engagement.”

Welner, who also is director of the National Education Policy Center housed at CU-Boulder, agrees.

“Developing policy-relevant ideas grounded in the best research, and then effectively communicating those ideas to the public, is itself an important scholarly endeavor,” he said. “A century ago, John Dewey convincingly argued that scholars must play a central role in advancing democratic problem solving. Public scholarship is integral to rigorous academic work and is a core responsibility of education researchers.”

Welner served as part of the 31-member selection committee for the 2015 rankings. He has been recognized by the list annually since its inception.