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Cottom ranks among most influential education scholars in the country

Tressie McMillan Cottom, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Sociology in the College of Humanities and Sciences, has been ranked among the 200 scholars in the U.S. who had the biggest influence on educational practice and policy over the past year.

Tressie McMillan Cottom, Ph.D.
Tressie McMillan Cottom, Ph.D.

Cottom ranked 113 on the 2019 Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings compiled by Frederick M. Hess, American Enterprise Institute director of education policy studies and Education Week blogger. The rankings recognize education scholars who move ideas from academic journals into the national conversation.

Cottom is author of “Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy,” which has been featured on “The Daily Show,” NPR’s “Marketplace” and “Fresh Air,” WNYC and in The New York Times Book Review section. She is also the author of “Thick: And Other Essays,” which published Tuesday.

On this year’s Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings, Cottom was the second-highest ranked junior faculty member in the nation, and only one of six to crack the top 200. There are more than 20,000 university-based faculty who are focused on tackling educational questions in the United States.

“One small way to encourage academics to step into the fray and revisit academic norms is, I think, by doing more to recognize and value those scholars who engage in public discourse,” Hess said in a news release. “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. This whole endeavor is admittedly an imperfect exercise. Of course, the same can be said about college rankings, NFL quarterback ratings, or international scorecards of human rights. Yet such efforts convey real information and help spark useful discussion.”