Education Week Lists U.Va. Professors Among Nation's Most Influential Education Thinkers

January 6, 2012 — Eight University of Virginia professors are among the 121 most influential education scholars in 2012 in a national ranking compiled by Education Week columnist Rick Hess and released Wednesday.

U.Va. placed the third-highest number of professors on the list, behind Stanford University (14) and Harvard (13).

“The study of education has always been an interdisciplinary pursuit, and schools of education bring together faculty from various disciplines in an effort to solve complex problems," said John D. Simon, U.Va.'s executive vice president and provost. "These eight U.Va. faculty are firmly grounded in psychology, economics, education, public policy and more. Together, they are part of the outstanding faculty in our Curry School -- one of the best schools of education in this nation.”

The metrics for the rankings are designed "to recognize those university-based academics who are contributing most substantially to public debates about schools and schooling," according to Hess' "Straight Up" column. The author is also director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute.

U.Va. Curry School of Education Dean Robert Pianta led the U.Va. contingent, ranked the 19th-most influential education scholar in the nation.

Others from U.Va. to make the list – all of whom have some affiliation with the Curry School – are:

  • Carol Tomlinson, William Clay Parrish Jr, Professor of Education and chair of Curry's Leadership Foundations & Policy Studies program, 27th;
  • Daniel Willingham, professor of psychology in the College of Arts & Sciences, 33rd;
  • James E. Ryan, law professor, 57th;
  • former Curry Dean David Breneman, University Professor & Newton & Rita Meyers Professor of Economics of Education, 63rd;
  • Thomas Dee, professor of public policy, Frank Batten School of Leadership & Public Policy, 85th;
  • Sarah Turner, University Professor of Economics & Education, 95th;
  • Michelle Young, professor of education, 101st.

Ryan and Dee are affiliate faculty members of the Center on Educational Policy and Workforce Competitiveness, a joint effort of the Curry and Batten schools. Willingham is an affiliate faculty member of Curry's Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning.

The list, which Hess calls the "Edu-Scholar Public Presence Rankings," is based on the number and distribution of each scholar's books, articles and academic scholarship, and the scholar's presence among a variety of media outlets.

The rankings also take into consideration an academic's status as a "Google scholar," which is tracked by the number of articles and books a professor has written that are widely cited.

The top-ranked scholar was Stanford's Linda Darling-Hammond.

The complete list is here and the methodology behind it is here.

— By Rebecca Arrington

Media Contact

Rebecca P. Arrington

Assistant Director of Media Relations Office of University Communications