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Photograph of Rodney Hopson

Rodney Hopson Acting Co-Dean, SOE and Professor SOE Faculty

Rodney Hopson
SOE | General Academics & Research
Spring Valley Building 447
Ph.D., Educational Evaluation, University of Virginia
M.A., Linguistics, University of Virginia
M.Ed, Educational Evaluation, University of Virginia
B.A., English Literature, University of Virginia

Rodney Hopson, PhD is an accomplished scholar, academic leader and thought partner who serves as Acting Co-Dean and Professor, School of Education. Most recently, Hopson served as Professor of Evaluation in the Department of Educational Psychology, College of Education, with appointments in the Department of Educational Policy and Organizational Leadership and the Center of African Studies at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign. As part of the inaugural University of Illinois System Distinguished Faculty Recruitment Program, Hopson served as catalyst in re-envisioning the Evaluation unit in the department, developing externally funded partnerships with and for PhD students, and leading assistant professor development efforts.

Hopson received his doctorate from the Curry School of Education, University of Virginia, with major concentrations in educational evaluation, anthropology, and policy, and sociolinguistics. He was awarded a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH) postdoctoral fellowship at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University. Hopson is an American Educational Research Association (AERA) Fellow, and has affiliated previously in the Faculty of Education, University of Namibia as a JW Fulbright Scholar and the Centre of African Studies, Cambridge University (UK). Currently he is affiliated with the School of Health, Victoria University-Wellington (Aotearoa New Zealand), is Editor of the Studies in Educational Ethnography Book Series, Emerald Publishers, and Co-Editor of Educational Policy as/in Practice: Critical Cultural Studies, Information Age Book Series.

Central to Hopson’s research agenda over the last 25 years are questions that: 1) analyze and address the differential impact of education and schooling on marginalized and underrepresented groups in diverse global nation states; and 2) seek solutions to social and educational conditions in the form of alternative paradigms, epistemologies, and methods for the way the oppressed and marginalized succeed and thrive despite circumstances and opportunities that suggest otherwise. He has co-authored and co-edited 10 books, including Culturally responsive inquiry in education: Improving research, evaluation, and assessment (Harvard Education Press, 2022), Tackling wicked problems in complex ecologies: The role of evaluation (Stanford University Press, 2018), New directions in educational ethnography: Shifts, problems, reconstruction (Emerald, 2016), Power, voice, and the public good: Schooling and education in global societies (Elsevier, 2008), and others.

Hopson’s cumulative work is driven by quests to: a) understand the role of language as a harbinger of social and educational change, especially in post-apartheid and postcolonial nation states that wrestle with the tensions and opportunities of democracy and freedom; and b), emphasize the transformative possibility of developing mechanisms that promote educational and social equity through the development of communities of practice in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary ways to broaden participation, inclusion, and diversity for those often forgotten and underserved in schools, community, social systems, and the larger society. His work has been funded by philanthropic and governmental agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Ford Foundation, W.K.Kellogg Foundation and other local and international funders. Most notably, he is the founding Program Director of the American Evaluation Association (AEA) Graduate Education Diversity Internship (GEDI) Program, a program in its 20th year that supports graduate students of color from traditionally underrepresented communities to embed culturally responsive evaluation approaches and practices in their yearlong training, current academic studies, and future career.
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