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Last modified: Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Two IU School of Education scholars ranked among top contributors to education discourse


Jan. 4, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A new ranking compiled by education researcher and author Rick Hess and published on the Education Week website places two Indiana University School of Education faculty in a listing of the top contributors to public debate about education.

Jonathan Plucker

Jonathan Plucker

Print-Quality Photo

Jonathan Plucker, director of the Center for Evaluation and Education Policy and a professor of educational psychology and cognitive science, and Curt Bonk, professor of instructional systems technology, educational psychology and cognitive science and adjunct instructor for the School of Informatics, are listed among the inaugural "Edu-Scholar Public Presence Rankings." The rankings were unveiled this morning on the "Rick Hess Straight Up" blog on the Education Week website.

Hess described the rankings as a way "to recognize those university-based academics who are contributing most substantially to public debates about schools and schooling." The scores came from measuring the output of articles and academic scholarship, book authorship and book success, and the number of times scholars are cited or quoted on the Web and in print media. Hess and research assistants compiled a total score from Google Scholar citations, the number of books authored and co-authored, and the ranking of books on, as well as mentions in Education Week and the Chronicle of Higher Education, blogs, U.S. newspapers and the Congressional Record during 2011.

"We are very proud of the research-based contributions our faculty are making to the national debate on school reform," IU School of Education Dean Gerardo Gonzalez said. "Professors Bonk and Plucker have been at the cutting edge of these conversations and certainly deserve to be ranked among top scholars in the field. I wholeheartedly congratulate them on this first-of-its-kind recognition."

Plucker is 52nd on the list, scoring particularly highly in Google Scholar, blog and newspaper mentions. Just last month, Plucker was one of a record 10 Indiana University faculty members named as an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow. Founded in 1848, AAAS is the world's largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science. The AAAS noted that Plucker's selection was "For distinguished contributions to the science of creativity and the creation of research-supported education policy." Plucker will be officially presented as a fellow during the AAAS Annual Meeting in Vancouver next month.

Plucker joined the School of Education faculty in 1997 and has headed the Center for Evaluation and Education Policy since 2003. His research focuses on creativity and intelligence, school reform, and talent development. A frequently cited source on these issues, Plucker has appeared on CNN and been quoted in Newsweek among other media outlets in the past couple of years.

Bonk is at 108, scoring highest in rankings, Google Scholar score and blog mentions. Bonk authored a comprehensive book on how Web technology is changing worldwide education, "The World Is Open: How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education," published by Jossey-Bass/Wiley. It documents the many ways in which he says innovations have "opened up learning to the point where anyone can learn anything from anyone else at any time." A companion website,, includes regular updates from Bonk.

Since joining the faculty in 1992, Bonk has been a prolific presenter, delivering more than 100 talks in 2010 and more than 1,100 presentations on the changing world of education and technology. He'll appear at a "Cyberlearning Talks" event in Washington, D.C., this month, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, Stanford Research Institute and National Geographic. Bonk's presentation is called "Stretching the Edges of Technology-Enhanced Teaching: From Tinkering to Tottering to Totally Extreme Learning."

"It is time to stretch toward the edges of learning from those of us tinkering on the shores to those whose learning approaches are tottering in new directions and even landing in totally extreme or alien lands," Bonk wrote in the description of his session.

Hess noted that the scholars on the list are especially engaged policy scholars. "As I see it, the extraordinary policy scholar excels in five areas: disciplinary scholarship, policy analysis and popular writing, convening and quarterbacking collaborations, providing incisive media commentary, and speaking in the public square," Hess wrote on the Education Week website. "It's the scholars who are skilled in most or all of these areas who can cross boundaries, foster crucial collaborations and bring research into the world of policy in smart and useful ways."

The complete list of the rankings is available on the "Straight Up" blog. A further explanation of the rankings themselves is also available on the site.