Professional News

Martin School’s Zimmer Named One of Nation’s Top Education Scholars of Public Influence

headshot photo of Ron Zimmer
Ron Zimmer

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 14, 2019) The director of the University of Kentucky’s Martin School of Public Policy and Administration, Ron Zimmer, recently was named as one of the top education scholars in the nation whose published research moves from academic journals into the national conversation.

The 2019 recognition is based on a series of metrics employed by American Enterprise Institute Director of Education Policy Studies Frederick M. Hess, whose exercise spotlights the top 200 education scholars across the country who have contributed to public discussions of education over the past year. The work of more than 20,000 university-based faculty tackling educational questions in the U.S. was considered in establishing the list of 200, meaning Zimmer is ranked in the top 1 percent in this category.

Zimmer, who earned his master’s degree in economics from UK’s Gatton College of Business and Economics and his doctorate in public policy and administration from the Martin School, worked as a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation, prior to accepting a faculty appointment at Michigan State University. He later joined the faculty at Vanderbilt University before returning to UK as professor and director of the Martin School in 2016. His research on charter schools continues to be widely cited by news media and education policymakers throughout the nation.

“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,” explained Hess. “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.”

The rankings by Hess and all related information are being posted to the public at:

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