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Rodney Hopson

PhD, University of Virginia
Center for Education Policy and Evaluation

Contact Information

Send email to Dr. Hopson

Phone: (703) 993-4178
Fax: (703) 993-3678

George Mason University
Fairfax Campus
West Building 2102
4400 University Dr.
MS 6D2
Fairfax, VA 22030


Rodney K. Hopson is Professor, Division of Educational Psychology, Research Methods, and Education Policy, College of Education and Human Development, George Mason University.  Previously, he served as Professor, Department of Educational Foundations and Leadership in the School of Education, and teaching faculty member in the Center for Interpretive and Qualitative Research and Honors College in the School of Liberal Arts, Duquesne University.  He received his Ph.D. from the Curry School of Education, University of Virginia and has done post-doctoral/sabbatical studies in the Faculty of Education, University of Namibia, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Centre of African Studies, Cambridge University.

Research Interests

Hopson’s research interests lie in social politics and policies, foundations of education, sociolinguistics, ethnography, and evaluation. Relative to his research interests, Hopson raises 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.

One strand of his research focuses on 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. This is illustrated by his foundational attention to an analysis of forces that have driven official language politics in a post-Reagan presidential administration, exploration of language meanings of participants in an HIV/AIDS community-based project in Baltimore, MD in an effort to contribute to developing and evaluating culturally appropriate public health prevention interventions, and the paradox of language policy in post-apartheid Namibia.   He is the co-editor of a book on educational language policies in postcolonial Africa, Languages of Instruction for African Emancipation: Focus on Postcolonial Context and Considerations (with Birgit Brock-Utne, Mkuki na Nyota/The Centre for Advanced Studies of African Society: Dar es Salaam/Cape Town, 2005) that raises important questions about the role and choice of language in post-colonial African education, schooling and society.

Related to these interests in language policy in southern Africa, Hopson was recipient of a J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship in the Republic of Namibia and is developing a book on the nature of educational language policy change and social transformation in post-apartheid Namibia.  Two recent publications related to language policy in Namibia explore the tensions and opportunities related to language issues in the 21st century.  One focuses on the complexities and relevance of understanding language rights among the San in Namibia, including mechanisms that support their human rights.  The other, part of a larger set of manuscripts that illustrate a unique historical colonial context among alumni of an Anglican mission school in northern Namibia, provides analysis to ways to understanding ethnographic studies of schooling within complex theoretical, comparative, and historical treatment. 

A second set of Hopson’s research have been through manuscripts and funded projects that emphasize the transformative possibility of developing mechanisms that promote educational and social equity.   To advance this focus on educational and social equity, Hopson is co-editor (with Ted Hamann) of the Information Age Book Series, Educational Policy as/in Practice: Critical Cultural Studies.  Additionally, Hopson’s interdisciplinary work in this area attends to unpack the notions of schooling and education in global, international, and comparative contexts and the concomitant hope and liberation of community, institutional structures that purport to lift how opportunities are realized. A co-edited book, Power, Voice, and the Public Good: Schooling and Education in Global Societies (with Carol Camp Yeakey & Francis M. Boakari, Elsevier, UK, 2008) focuses on schooling and education in globalized societies within the challenge, impact, and costs of globalization and its affect in comparative educational policy and praxis.

Within this stream of research, Hopson critiques educational reform and practice that neglects attention to unique talents and experiences of particularly of communities of color and those considered in distressed and marginalized in ways that support and legitimate their intergenerational educational and sociocultural histories, perspectives, and experiences.  This work is illustrated in a variety of evaluation, urban education, policy, and educational research journals.  For instance, in two co-authored recent publications in Urban Education, his work extends notions of mainstream educational leadership. In one paper, he helps to situate and consider how and why African-centered leadership should be considered in the larger discussions of educational leadership or leadership for social justice.  In another, he and his co-authors explore how themes from Paulo Freire’s critical ideologies help to expand conceptualizations of educational leadership and facilitate pragmatic responses to complex urban dilemmas.

In his educational evaluation and research publications, he raises critical questions to and about how to situate matters of culture and context, especially in reconstituting shifts of knowledge production in the field.  This work is illustrated in a recent book (including another book in development on a similar topic that integrates more indigenous and international perspectives), The Role of Culture and Cultural Context in Evaluation: A Mandate for Inclusion, the Discovery of Truth and Understanding (with Stafford Hood & Henry Frierson, Information Age: Greenwich, CT, 2005).   In addition to the book, his scholarship and evaluation work continues to contribute to the ways of imagining the transformative potential of evaluation in dynamic urban communities such as in an international urban education handbook.  In a recent Review of Educational Research co-authored publication, he re-positions and redirects the field of evaluation to be more welcoming and inclusive of the historical contributions of specifically African Americans who have historically contributed to democratic and culturally responsive evaluation despite their being neglected from mainstream journals, publications, and discussions.

Recent Publications

Books published

Yarbrough, D., Shulha, L.M., Hopson, R., and Caruthers, F. (2010).  The program evaluation standards: A guide for evaluators and evaluation users (3rd ed.)  Thousand Oaks, CA:  Sage.

Hopson, R.K. , Yeakey, C.C.,  and Boakari, F.. (Eds.).  (2008).  Power, Voice and The Public Good: Schooling and Education in Global Societies. Oxford, UK: Elsevier.

Brock-Utne, B. and Hopson, R. (Eds.).  (2005).  Languages of instruction for African emancipation:  Focus on postcolonial contexts and considerations.  Cape Town/Dar es Salaam:  The Centre for Advanced Studies of African Society/Mkuki na Nyota.

Hood, S., Hopson, R., and  Frierson, H. (Eds.) (2005).  The role of culture and cultural context: A mandate for inclusion, the discovery of truth, and understanding in evaluative theory and practice.  Greenwich, CT:  Information Age.

Book Editorships

Co-Editor (with Ted Hamann), Education policy as/in practice:  Critical cultural studies, Information Age Publication Book Series (2009 - present)

Edited journals

Collins, P. & Hopson, R. (Eds.) (2013, accepted for publication).  Building a new generation of culturally responsive evaluators:  Contributions of the American Evaluation Associations’ Graduate Education Diversity Internship Program.  San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass.

Hopson, R. & Dixson, A. (Eds.) (2011).  Race and ethnography:  Intersections, theories, and meanings.  Ethnography and Education.  London: Routledge.

Thompson-Robinson, M., Hopson, R., & SenGupta, S. (Eds.). (2004).  In search of cultural competence in evaluation:  Toward principles and practices.  New Directions for Evaluation.  San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass.

Peer reviewed articles

Hopson, R., Miller, P., & Lovelace, T. (2013, accepted for publication).  Community-university partnerships as vehicles of radical leadership, service, and activism.  Leadership and Policy in Schools.

Siple, B.J., Hopson, R.K., Sobehart, H.C., Turocy, P. S. (2013, forthcoming).  Who should mentor me?  Giving voice to black woman students.  Athletic Training Education Journal.

Kim-Prieto, C., Copeland, H.L, Hopson, R., Simmons, T., & Leibowitz, M.J. (2013).  The role of professional identity in graduate school success for under-represented minority students.  Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education.  DOI: 10.1002/bmb.20673.

McCarty, T., Collins, J., & Hopson, R. (2011). Dell Hymes and the new [language] policy studies: Update from an underdeveloped country. Anthropology and Education Quarterly, 42(4), 335-363.

Miller, P., Brown, T., & Hopson, R. (2011)  Centering love, hope, and trust in the community:  Transformative urban leadership informed by Paulo Freire.  Urban Education, 46(5), 1078-1099.

Stokes, H., Chaplin, S., Dessouky, S., Aklilu, L., & Hopson, R. (2011).  Serving marginalized populations through culturally responsive evaluation. Diaspora, Indigenous, and Minority Education., 5(3), 167-177.

Hopson, R. (2010).  Language Rights and San in Namibia: A fragile and ambitious but necessary proposition.  International Journal of Human Rights, 15(1), 111-126.

Hopson, R., Hotep, U., Schneider, D., & Turenne, I. (2010).  What’s Educational Leadership Without an African-Centered Perspective?: Explorations and Extrapolations. Urban Education, 45(6), 777-796.

Hood, S. & Hopson, R.K. (2008).  Evaluation roots reconsidered:  Asa Hilliard, a Fallen Hero in the “Nobody Knows My Name” Project, and African Educational Excellence.  Review of Educational Research, 78(3), 410-426.

Book chapters

Hopson, R. (2013, accepted for publication).  Historical and linguistic ontology of post-racial in 21st century U.S. life.  In Dixson, A., Reynolds, R., and Donnor, J. (Eds.).  NSSE Yearbook on Post-Racial United States.  NY:  Columbia University Teacher’s College Press.

Hopson, R., Whitaker, R., Roebuck-Sakho, J., and Wilkins, T., (2013, accepted for publication). Interest convergence and the challenges facing urban educational school leaders in the 21st century. In Khalifa, M., Grant, C., and Arnold, N. (Eds.).  Handbook of Urban School Leadership.  Lanham, MD:  Rowman Littlefield.   

Allie, A. and Hopson, R. (2013, accepted for publication). Walking in more circles:  Interest convergence, race, and educational reform in Western Pennsylvania.  In Brooks-Buck, J. (Ed.).  Being on the wrong side of history:  Critical readings on re-segregation and race in the 21st century.  Greenwich, CT:  Information Age Publishing.

Casillas, W., Gomez, R., and Hopson, R. (2013, accepted for publication).  Making culturally responsive decisions in evaluation practice.  In Christie, C.A. & Vo, A.T. (Eds.). Issues in Evaluation Use and Decision Making in Society. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Hopson, R.K., Kirkhart, K.E., and Bledsoe, K.L. (2012).  Decolonizing evaluation in a developing world:  Implications and cautions for equity-focused evaluations.  In Segone, M. (Ed.). Evaluation for equitable development results (pp. 59-83).  NY:  UNICEF.

Frazier-Anderson, P., Hood, and Hopson, R. (2011).  Preliminary considerations of an African American Culturally Responsive Evaluation System. In Lapan, S.D., Quartaroli, M.T., and Riemer, F.J. (Eds.).  Qualitative Research:  An Introduction to Methods and Designs (pp. 347-372).  San Francisco, CA:  Jossey-Bass.

Hopson, R. (2011).  Reconstructing ethnography and language policy in colonial Namibian schooling:  Historical perspectives of St. Mary’s High School at Odibo.  In  McCarty, T.L. (Ed.). Ethnography and Language Policy (pp. 99-118).  Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group: NY.

Hopson, R. (2009) “Oshinglisha oshapi eyi etia teka”  English, colonial power, and education int 20th and 21st century Owambo, Namibia.  In Brock-Utne, B. & Garbo, G. (Eds.).  Language and power:  Implications of language for peace and development.  Dar es Salaam/Oxford: Mkuki na Nyota/ABC.

Brown, L, Kouyate, M., & Hopson, R. (2009). Making so big a dream near and dear to all African American males.  In Frierson, H. & J. H. Wyche (Eds.).  The Diminishing African American Male in Higher Education (pp. 113-133).   Oxford:  Emerald.

Hopson, R. (2009). Reclaiming knowledge at the margins:  Culturally responsive evaluation in the current evaluation moment.  In Ryan, K. & Cousins, B. (Eds.).  International Handbook on Evaluation (pp. 431-448).  Thousand Oaks, CA:  Sage.

Hopson, R.K. & Hays, J. (2008).  Schooling and education for the San (Ju|’hoansi) in Namibia:  Between a rock of colonialism and the hard place of globalization.  In Hopson, R.K. , Yeakey, C.C.,  & Boakari, F.. (Eds.).  Power, Voice and the Public Good: Schooling and Education in Global Societies. Oxford, Emerald.

Bledsoe, K.L. & Hopson, R.K. (2008).  Conducting ethical research in underserved communities.  P.Ginsberg & D. M. Mertens (Eds.).  The Handbook of Social Research Ethics.  Thousand Oaks, CA:  Sage.

Other Information

Professional and Leadership Service

Hopson currently or recently served on the editorial boards of several publications related to evaluation, including New Directions for Evaluation, American Journal of Evaluation, the Encyclopedia of Evaluation, the Evaluation and Society book series, and the Journal of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation as well as Anthropology and Education Quarterly, Educational Foundations, Education and Ethnography (where he serves as North American co-editor), and Journal of Negro Education.

In leadership capacities, Hopson has served on the Board of the Directors of the Council of Anthropology and Education, the American Evaluation Association, and various program and committee chair roles in the American Educational Research Association, and the Comparative and International Education Society.    He served as the 2012 President of the American Evaluation Association.

Honors and Awards

Hopson has been recipient of the Robert Ingle Award for Service (2010) and the Marcia Guttentag Early Career Award (2000) of the American Evaluation Association, Visiting Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge University (2005-2006), and served as a J. William Fulbright Scholar in the Republic of Namibia (2001). Additionally, he was awarded the Eugene P. Award for Leadership in Ethics (September, 2011), he is a recent recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Scholarship (2009) and served as Hillman Distinguished Professor (2006-2011), Duquesne University, the first endowed chair position in the history of the School of Education at Duquesne University.