UO's Zhao and Neville make national list for "public presence"

Yong Zhao
Yong Zhao

University of Oregon professors Yong Zhao of the College of Education and Helen Neville of the Psychology Department are among 168 scholars recognized today for moving ideas "from the pages of academic journals into the national conversation."

Both were included on the third annual "Edu-Scholar Public Presence Rankings" by Frederick M. Hess, who is director of education policy studies for the American Enterprise Institute and a blogger for Education Week.

Helen NevilleZhao cracked the list's top-ten at No. 8, while Neville rounded out the top-25 at the No. 25 spot. The full list is available at Rick Hess Straight Up

“One small way to encourage academics to step into the fray and revisit academic norms is … by doing more to recognize and value those scholars who engage in public discourse,” Hess said. “These results offer insight into how scholars in a field of public concern are influencing thinking and the national discourse.”

Hess uses seven metrics to calculate whether and how university-based academics contribute to public debates about schools and schooling. The rankings reflect both a scholar's body of academic work – including books, articles and the degree to which the publications are cited – and their 2012 footprint on the public discourse as reflected by appearances in education news outlets, blogs and both new and traditional media.

 “As I see it, the extraordinary policy scholar excels in five areas: disciplinary scholarship, policy analysis and popular writing, convening and shepherding collaborations, providing incisive media commentary and speaking in the public square," Hess said. "I'm not sure that I've got the measures right, that categories have been normed in the smartest ways, or even how much these results can or should tell us.

"That said, I think such efforts convey real information – and help to spark useful discussion. That's what I've sought to do here.”

Stanford University accounted for three of the top five scholars and five of the top 20. Harvard University also had five of the top 20 scholars, while the University of Virginia had three and NYU claimed two.