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.