Two Notre Dame professors named to 2021 Edu-Scholar rankings

Author: Theo Helm

Two professors from the University of Notre Dame and the Institute for Educational Initiatives are among the 200 scholars named to the 2021 Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings, an annual listing published by Education Week of academics who had the year’s biggest impact on educational practice and policy.

Ernest Morrell, the Coyle Professor in Literacy Education and director of the Notre Dame Center for Literacy Education, ranked 92nd in the 2021 list. Mark Berends, a professor of sociology, an associate vice president of research at Notre Dame and the director of the Center for Research on Educational Opportunity, placed 167th.

Morrell’s research focuses on introducing popular culture into the classroom to successfully engage urban youth and communities and on translanguaging, the idea that students can maximize their learning by using the many different languages they speak in their everyday lives. In 2020, he co-designed the first AP seminar on the African diaspora.

Morrell also holds appointments in the Department of English and Department of Africana Studies. He is a fellow in the Kellogg Institute for International Studies and the director of the National Council of Teachers of English James R. Squire Office of Policy Research in the English Language Arts. This is the seventh year he has been included in the rankings.

Berends has written and published extensively on educational reform, school choice, the effects of family and school changes on student achievement trends, and the effects of schools and classrooms on student achievement. His research focuses on how school organization and classroom instruction are related to student outcomes, with special attention to disadvantaged students and school reforms aimed at improving their educational opportunities. Currently, he is conducting several studies on school choice, including an examination of the Indiana Choice Scholarship Program.

In 2020, Berends was elected to the National Academy of Education and named associate vice president of research. He is the chair of the Program for Interdisciplinary Educational Research faculty committee and a fellow in the Kellogg Institute for International Studies. This is his third appearance on the list.

“This shows the national impact of Ernest and Mark in moving education issues from the academic world into mainstream conversation,” said John Staud, the acting director of the Institute for Educational Initiatives. “This in turn furthers the institute’s mission to improve the education of all children, particularly the most disadvantaged.”

Rick Hess, the director of education policy studies for the American Enterprise Institute, compiles the rankings each year. The rankings are based on performances in nine categories that include publications, inclusion on syllabi across the country, education press and web mentions, and mentions in the Congressional Record.

Originally published by Theo Helm at on January 12, 2021.