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CMU absent on list of most influential professors of 2011

Central Michigan University did not qualify a professor for the Rick Hess Edu-Scholar Public Presence Rankings released Jan. 4 on the Education Week website.

The list ranked the top 121 publicly-influential professors of 2011 on a scale based on mentions throughout congressional records, newspapers, blogs and education press, as well as highest Amazon rankings, book points and Google scholar scores.

The rankings were composited by Daniel Lautzenheiser, a research assistant in education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, with the intent of recognizing those scholars in a national light.

“As far as CMU professors, the list was definitely not meant to be exhaustive,” Lautzenheiser said. “Rather it’s a cross-section of relevant faculty members who are known as serious scholars and often engage the public square.”

Three universities in the state of Michigan did make the list in CMU’s absence. Four professors from the University of Michigan appeared on the list, as well as professors from Michigan State University and Western Michigan University.

“As I look through the list, there are many universities that are not represented on this list,” said CMU Director of Public Relations Steve Smith, who chose not to comment any further.

CMU graduate student Arielle Watts said the list said something about the size of the university, rather than its quality.

“I don’t think CMU is even very-well known as a college outside of Michigan,” she said. “I’ve had some really great professors over my almost five years here and sometimes I even wondered how they got stuck here at this small college in the middle of nowhere Michigan.”

Monica Holmes, a professor of business and associate dean in the College of Business Administration, said CMU professors tend to spend more time on students than attempting to become more visible.

“CMU professors tend to be more modest about their work,” Holmes said. “We tend to focus on our students and their futures and I know that there are many excellent professors at CMU. However, in order to be visible and to show up on rankings, time and money have to be spent on becoming more visible.”

Fremont junior Abi Haggart said it was unfortunate no CMU professors made the list, but such absence doesn’t cast a negative shadow on the university.

“We have outstanding professors who are knowledgeable in their fields and they’re dedicating their time to educating students, rather than making it onto a prestigious list such as this one,” Haggard said. “Let that list be motivation for our professors to continue to better themselves, not something to lose sleep over.”

Grand Rapids sophomore Zach Mitchell said he wasn’t surprised by the lack of CMU professors on the rankings, nor did he believe it was CMU’s less-popular name that kept them from recognition.

“I don’t think I’ve had a single decent teacher since I’ve been enrolled here,” he said. “I see WMU on that list of teachers, so I don’t think it’s the name (that can be to blame).”

The highest-ranked professor in the state was U-M’s David K. Cohen, listed at No. 10.

Nationally, Stanford qualified the most professors with 14, including the top-ranked Linda Darling-Hammond. Harvard had 13.


  1. I always felt like the faculty at CMU was out to just get a paycheck and the last few years I saw the reality of the situation… the faculty at CMU is terrible. I’ve gone to office hours for a professor and had their answer be “read the book again”, no explanation just a simple one line answer to rush a student out of their office. I’m not surprised to see CMU not on this list, the education wasn’t worth the money I put in and the professors act like a bunch of children over their pay and benefits… they should be sent to MMCC  to teach, at least the students there pay a reasonable rate to be treated without respect.

  2. I had some great professors. Rich Gergel, Alan Gumm, Laura Grow, Doina Harsanyi, Johanna Pass, Greg Stahly, Glen Williams… I’ve really liked most of my professors (although some are gone now). The only professor I had that I felt wasn’t in it 100% was Sterling Johnson… He failed every one of my exams, didn’t do SOS forms, didn’t show up for the final exam, and gave me an A-. I still don’t understand what that was all about. We just watched a PBS documentary everyday. 

  3. I also want to mention that I don’t consider a professor good because s/he publishes a lot of books or articles. Its great when they do that but I’d rather they were focused on education.

  4. Michmediaperson says:

    I’m no fan of our faculty but this is a worthless list.  These are theory people who write books on education, publish papers.

    I’d like to see any of these overeducated PHD’s go into the Detroit, Flint or any urban school district and get into the real world of education.  They’d all probably fail.  Their theories are worthless.

    I’d like to see our faculty out of this business and in the classroom. 

    MSU is often seen as having the best Education school, yet look at the Detroit school system down the road.  Why aren’t all those book-minded PHD’s down in Detroit solving the problems and turning that system into one of the best in the country.

    I wouldn’t lose any sleep over not having anyone from CMU on this list. 

  5. What this article doesn’t say?  That this is a meaningless list with right-wing leanings.  Also, what isn’t mentioned:  that this is a list for education professors only.  Also look at the actual list published.  University of Chicago isn’t on it.  Cornell isn’t on it.  Notre Dame isn’t on it.  Ohio State isn’t on it.  U of Purdue isn’t on it. U of  Indiana isn’t on it.  U of Minnesota isn’t on it.  MIT isn’t on it.  Caltech isn’t on it. Guess those institutions suck too.  Holy cow.  Maybe the worst article that CM LIfe has ever published.  

    • Michmediaperson says:

      Right-wing leanings?  According to wikipedia, Linda Darling-Hammond, number 1 on this list, was the education advisor for socialist Barack Hussein Obama’s 2008 campaign and was considered for his Secretary of Education.

      Hardly right wing Guest.  

      • Jordan Wright says:

        First we need to call into question the validity of Wikipedia.  Are you saying Wikipedia is quoted as saying “…was the education advisor…”  Sure, it gets legitimate editors to view and fix articles.  But until it is recognized in academia as a credible source, anything from it is essential non-credible.  I’m not saying I agree with that, but that’s how it is.

        Second, socialist?  Really?  Let me start by saying I am not a Democrat nor a supporter of President Obama.  I am a self proclaimed Libertarian and supporter of small, non-interventionalist government.  I dislike the lack of respect you show calling him by his full name.  Trying to incite disrespect by using his full name and calling into question his heritage is low and cowardly.  He deserves respect as President of the United States.
        Let me ask you:  Has you or anyone in your family ever used a bridge card?  Collected unemployment or social security benefits?  Received federal/state federal aid for education perhaps?  Ever gone to a public school?  Do not be so quick to point the finger on so called socialism that has been a part of our government’s workings for decades.  
        This also calls into question your knowledge of what Ms. Darling-Hammond has done.  Liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, she was only considered.  Do not take her position out of context to try and take away from this article.
        This article is quite articulate and very well written.  I applaud the writer for his efforts and believe that this is a quality article.   

        • Michmediaperson says:

          Jordan, go to Google and type in New York Times, her name and Obama.  The Times said the same thing Wikipedia said.  Is that enough proof?  The liberal New York Times?

          Now, respect for the President.

          Tell me about the rappers like Kanye West who went on national television during the Katrina fund-raiser and accused President George Walker Bush of not liking black people.  NBC had to cut away and apologize.  Where was his respect for the President?  Bush called it one of the most disgusting moment of his presidency.  West has since apologize and was blasted by many on the Left for doing so.  So, respect is a two-way street.

          His full name?  Didn’t you watch him take the oath of office in 2009.  He used his full name.  Barack Hussein Obama.

          I would never go on a bridge card or welfare.  I’d get a job before that.  How many people on bridge cards have cell phones, smart phones, TVs and many other luxuries?

          Social security benefits?  Since I’ve paid about $100,000 into the system, you don’t think I deserve to draw into it when the time comes?  I’ve got $100,000 coming to me.  They took it out of my paycheck.  I expect the Government to return the money I paid in!  Public school?  Does CMU count?

      • The list is sponsored by AEI.  That is a right wing think tank.  Most of the people on the list support conservative education policies (which is fine).  At least we can both agree that the list is useless, regardless of political leanings.  

  6. evilincarnate says:

    this ranking is completwly useless.  it ranks professors on how much publicity they have, which doesnt even tell you if their research is any good, much less whether they are a good professor.  on top of that it includes people, who are only profs on the side and make their real  money  working at outside firms while maintaining barely an affiliation with a university.  hardly a useful ranking.

  7. Hi folks.  I think we need to read the article.  “As far as CMU professors, the list was definitely not meant to be
    exhaustive,” Lautzenheiser said. “Rather it’s a cross-section of
    relevant faculty members who are known as serious scholars and often
    engage the public square.”  It’s not meant to be exhaustive.  Nor, if you go back to the original blog where this list was found, the explanation points out that the ranking was devised to encourage university scholars, who might be great researchers, to engage the public more.  I think Lautzenheiser would probably agree with Michmediaperson below–the entire point is to nudge faculty in the Ivory Tower to help Detroit schools. 

    Also, of the top 10, they are pretty evenly split.  With a liberal bent: Darling-Hammond, Ravitch, Cuban, Nogeura, and Cohen.  Conservative: Hanushek, Moe, and Peterson.  Can’t figure out: Arum and Koretz.  Hard to say it’s biased.

  8. Of course a Sophomore is going to say he hasn’t had any influential professors. The kid is probably sitting in lecture halls and hasn’t started his classes for his major. After graduating in December 2010, I can say that my CMU professors prepared me for a stellar career. Someone that should be on this list for CMU…..Professor Ken Cherry in the Sales Department. I had some great professors at Central. I had some lousy professors too, but this man really gives his students a kick in the pants and doesn’t put up with any BS. Not because he doesn’t like you as a student, it’s because he cares and wants to prepare you for the future. Hell of professor, but he doesn’t need everyone else to know….his past and present students already know.

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