Ernest Morrell, Mark Berends recognized for their influence on educational practice and policy 

Author: Institute for Educational Initiatives

Ernest Morrell, left, and Mark Berends

Ernest Morrell and Mark Berends, professors from the University of Notre Dame Institute for Educational Initiatives, were among 200 scholars selected for the Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings, an annual listing published by Education Week that highlights academics who had the year’s biggest impact on educational practice and policy.

Morrell, associate dean for the humanities and equity in the College of Arts and Letters, director of the Notre Dame Center for Literacy Education and the Coyle Professor in Literacy Education, ranked 80th. This is the 10th year that he has been included in the rankings.

And Berends, the Hackett Family Director of the Institute for Educational Initiatives and professor of sociology, placed 172nd. This is his sixth appearance on the list.

Morrell’s research focuses on how the use of popular culture in the classroom can successfully engage urban youth and communities, as well as on translanguaging — the idea that students can maximize their learning by incorporating the many different languages they use every day.

He holds appointments in the departments of English and Africana studies. Morrell, who was elected to the National Academy of Education in 2022, is a fellow in the Kellogg Institute for International Studies and director of the National Council of Teachers of English James R. Squire Office of Policy Research in the English Language Arts. He also is a fellow of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). 

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 underserved students and school reforms aimed at improving their educational opportunities. He is currently conducting several studies on school choice, including an examination of the Indiana Choice Scholarship Program.

Berends is a member of the National Academy of Education and an AERA fellow. He also is a fellow with the Kellogg Institute for International Studies.

In addition, David Yaeger, a graduate of the Alliance for Catholic Education’s Teaching Fellows — a two-year Notre Dame program in which participants earn a master’s degree in education while teaching in Catholic K-12 schools in the United States — placed 97th in the rankings.

Yaeger is now an associate professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin.

Rick Hess, director of education policy studies for the American Enterprise Institute, compiles the rankings. They are based on performances in nine categories, including publications, inclusion on syllabuses across the country, education press and web mentions, and mentions in the Congressional Record.

Originally published by Institute for Educational Initiatives at on Jan. 8.