Scholarly impacts, brief notes

Today is the start of the semester at ASU, and short-term projects are following me around this month like lost puppies, so time to respond to Rick Hess’s list from last week has been short. A few brief notes:

  • In the “nice to be mentioned” category: For some reason, I have not yet dropped off the list, after almost two years where I have been moving, starting a new administrative job, and then taking on some extra duties. While I was interviewed last year a few times about Jeb Bush’s time as governor in Florida, I thought his remarkable run at president has essentially killed the chances for future interviews. Either Hess’s list has a lag time for changes or those few interviews (plus a column on Arne Duncan) were enough. But for now, I suppose I can say, “I’m Number One Hundred Eightysomething!”
  • At ASU, others on the list are David Berliner, Gene Glass, and David Garcia. I can point out a number of others who could and should be listed. Perhaps the most important aspect of this spottiness is that everyone from ASU who has been on the list in the last few years are in ed policy, roughly speaking. I don’t think this is a blind spot of the list, necessarily, but there a few quirks in how Hess’s team has classified people: Larry Cuban has written primarily as an historian of education, for example, though that’s not how he’s classified, and while David Berliner’s degree is in psychology, his public speaking and writing is far closer to policy.
  • I take lists like this with a grain of salt. Rick Hess does, too, from everything he says (including today’s column in Ed Week). There are organizations that try to help faculty reach out to the general public (Scholars Strategy Network and History News Network, to mention two), but that is not the same thing as acknowledgment of the work in this area that faculty do. Recognizing scholars who conduct outreach beyond their peer circles should be done. I don’t think that’s done best by a ranking using arbitrary measures, and I also know no one has a great way to do this.