WMU provost again named among top 200 education scholars in the nation

Contact: Emily Monacelli

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University’s Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig, provost and vice president for academic affairs, has once again been recognized as one of the top education scholars in the United States. 

This prestigious ranking, revealed earlier this month, positions Vasquez Heilig within the top 200 university-based scholars nationwide who have influenced educational practice and policy, looking at his work during his previous position as dean of education at the University of Kentucky. The RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings, an annual compilation curated by Rick Hess, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute and a renowned blogger at Education Week, were published in his influential "Rick Hess Straight Up" opinion blog.

The rankings are determined by evaluating eight publicly accessible metrics that gauge a scholar's impact including their Google Scholar score, mentions in educational media, syllabus points and mentions in the Congressional Record. Vasquez Heilig, a prominent figure in the field of educational policy and leadership, has consistently appeared on this list for over a decade, placing him in the top 0.1% of education scholars. Hess estimates there are over 20,000 university-based faculty in the U.S. involved in education research.

"I am deeply honored to be recognized among such distinguished scholars in the field of education.” Vasquez Heilig says. “This accolade reflects years of collaborative work with colleagues and communities. My commitment to shaping educational practice and policy is deeply rooted in the belief that education is a powerful tool for societal transformation. We must strive to create learning environments that are equitable, innovative and deeply connected to our communities. This recognition fuels my ongoing passion for educational research and advocacy, aiming to profoundly impact learners' lives across the nation." 

About Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig

Vasquez Heilig is an established thought leader in the field of education, appearing on various media outlets including Al Jazeera, ABC, FOX, CBS, PBS, NBC, NPR, Univision and MSNBC. Among his numerous accolades, he has been recognized as the Diversity in Education Magazine Multicultural Champion in 2015; ranked by Harvard's Education Next magazine as one of the top 10 education policy voices; commended by the California Assembly Resolution 1459 in 2019 for his state and national impact; and was commissioned as a Kentucky Colonel by Governor Andy Beshear in 2022. He is the author of over 70 publications, with his research and institutional work focusing on equity and innovation, underscored by a commitment to collaboration and community engagement. 

Vasquez Heilig holds a Ph.D. in educational administration and policy analysis and a master's degree in sociology from Stanford University. Additionally, he earned a master's degree in higher education and a bachelor's degree in history and psychology from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

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