The 2013 Giant lineup

This post has nothing to do about an NFL team based out of New York.  Stick with me though.

Throughout my training in scholarship, I’ve heard a few cliches repeated, and two of them specifically:

“The best dissertation is a finished dissertation.”


“Stand on the shoulders of giants.”  


Translated and paraphrased together:  Don’t reinvent the wheel in your doctoral level research.  Build on what is already established.  Your goal is finishing, and then you can become a giant yourself later if you so desire.  But for now, go to the experts and see what works.

So take it for what it’s worth and embrace what resonates with you, but these cliches (and a wonderfully supportive and realistic committee and chair) helped refocus me on days I tried to do too much.  And ultimately I have to credit this thinking for helping me finish a doctoral program in less than three calendar years while working full-time and embarking on the adventure of motherhood.

I was very interested peruse the recently-published list of 2013 RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Presence Rankings, 168 individuals recognized for their influence in “contributing most substantially to public debates about K-12 and higher education.”  The metrics are clear and easily understood in case you’re interested in the methodology.

I was excited to recognize the name and work of 20 of the scholars (I’m a nerd), and my dissertation directly cited 9 (slightly nerdier).  I’ve had personal contact with 2 (yup, way nerdy).

So if you’re an NPR listener, newspaper reader, practitioner subscribing to journals, a professional researcher, or even an aspiring educational scholar, many of these names may already be familiar to you.  If you’re pursuing a line of research, this list might help you identify the giants on whose shoulders you might stand.


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