SDSU researcher makes national ranking of impactful scholars
College of Education professor Frank Harris III, an expert on education equity matters, is named on 2024 Edu-Scholar Public Influence list.
To San Diego State University education researcher Frank Harris III, breaking out of the academic silo is essential to driving change. For his efforts in leading transformation, being named among the nation’s most influential education scholars underscores his ever-expanding reach.
Harris is No. 105 in the 2024 Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings — a list of 200 university-based scholars who shape educational practice and policy released on Jan. 4 by American Enterprise Institute director of education policy studies and Education Week blogger Rick Hess.
The Department of Administration, Rehabilitation and Postsecondary Education professor, who climbed from his No. 163 spot in the 2023 rankings, was among only two California State University faculty members recognized.
“I do not want to do research for the sake of doing research,” Harris said. “I want to do research that solves real problems and that impacts society. So I want to make sure that my work is getting in the hands of decision makers — the people that are making laws and making policies that impact education and access to resources that are critical for success in education.
“That's who I do my work for.”
The co-director of SDSU’s Community College Equity Assessment Lab (CCEAL), Harris studies equity in higher education for racially and otherwise minoritized populations. Recently, he has taken part in projects examining the effectiveness of culturally relevant curriculum and instructional practices. He also explores issues relating equity of access to digital course modalities, which have expanded since the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There's no shortage of important questions to answer and problems to solve as it relates to equity,” Harris said. “I've just tried to contribute to advancing understanding about how inequity hurts not only students, but our communities and our country at large — both economically and socially.
“But, more importantly, I’ve tried to offer real world strategies and solutions to help solve the problem.”
Harris said his research trajectory would not have been possible without his longtime collaborator J. Luke Wood, who left SDSU in 2023 to become president of California State University, Sacramento.
He also credited the rising reputation of SDSU and the College of Education, which U.S. News & World Report ranked No. 49 in the nation among education schools.
“I don't think it's any secret that my profile has ascended along the same lines and around the same time as both the college and the university,” Harris said. “I think being here has made a difference in what I've been able to do and the career that I've been able to have. And for that I'm grateful.”