CEHD faculty recognized for being among elite group of most often cited scientists worldwide

November 10, 2023

Faculty from the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) at George Mason University have been recognized as being among the top 2% most cited scientists in their respective disciplines worldwide. Laurence Chalip, Anastasia Kitsantas, and Jered Borup are listed in the prestigious science-wide author database, prepared by a team from Stanford University, that was published in October 2023. The list provides standardized information on citations, h-index, co-authorship adjusted hm-index, citations to papers in different authorship positions, and a composite indicator (c-score). The list was updated to reflect career-long data through the end of 2022 and single-year data on citations received during 2022. Scientists included on the list are recognized as renowned experts across 22 disciplines and 174 sub-specialties.

Laurence Chalip

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Laurence Chalip from Mason’s School of Sport, Recreation and Tourism Management (SRTM), was selected for inclusion on the career-long most cited list of scientists in the field of Sport, Tourism, and Leisure. Chalip is a professor in the Sport and Recreation Studies and Sport Management programs at Mason and serves as academic program co-coordinator for the Recreation Management program within SRTM.

Chalip has been conducting research in the sport, tourism, and leisure arena for about 40 years. While the specific focus of his research has evolved over the years in response to changes that have taken place within this discipline, the underlying theme of Chalip’s work is centered on sports policy, which includes tourism and leisure. He explained, “Much of my early work examined specific policies and the ways those were implemented. That led to further focus on how we market sport and events. For the past several years, I’ve been particularly focused on strategic leverage of sport investments, particularly leverage of events.”

When asked to comment about the importance of the research he is doing, Chalip observed, “There is an underlying problem in much of sport, tourism, and leisure research. The research is typically undertaken by advocates who presuppose that benefits are intrinsic to sport, tourism, and leisure. Or sometimes imperfections are criticized as if intrinsic values could be enabled if we did not mess things up. But none of that is true. Research clearly demonstrates that good, bad, and indifferent outcomes depend on the policies and practices through which we craft sport, tourism, and leisure experiences. It is critically important to understand that.”

Chalip offered his thoughts on what future research priorities should be within the realm of sport, tourism, and leisure and what he views as the related challenges and opportunities going forward. He stated, “The core question that cries out to be addressed is: What would sport look like if we developed, managed, and marketed it in ways that are consistent with all that we claim about it?”

Anastasia Kitsantas

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Anastasia Kitsantas, professor of Educational Psychology in Mason’s School of Education, was included on the list of most cited scientists within the Education category for calendar year 2022. Her selection recognizes the extensive research she has conducted on education issues, with a focus on student motivation and self-regulated learning (SRL). She has also studied the role of learning technologies in supporting SRL.

Kitsantas explains that self-regulating learning is a process by which a student develops the ability to set learning goals and utilizes technique-oriented strategies to monitor their own progress and adjust those strategies as needed to achieve desired academic outcomes. In describing her interest in this area, Kitsantas stated, “I focused on this topic because all students have the potential to learn, and we can teach them to develop a sense of responsibility for their own learning so that they can grow to become successful, self-motivated, and independent learners.” She added that there is considerable evidence showing that self-regulation can be a powerful predictor of academic success and that differences in low and high-achieving students are closely linked to an individual’s level of self-regulation and motivation. Kitsantas strongly believes that self-regulation skills can be taught and that this will lead to success in the classroom. “If students are able to successfully regulate their learning and are self-motivated,” she emphasized, “then students will be well-equipped to learn.”

Kitsantas maintains that the research she is doing can provide PK-12 teachers with a better understanding of how to create learning environments conducive to the development of self-regulatory skills in students. She recommends that professional development workshops should be made available to equip educators with the strategies they need in teaching students how to set goals, monitor goal progress, and reflect on outcomes. Looking at future research priorities and needs, Kitsantas states, “One main challenge remains the development of systematic and permanent how-to-learn interventions in schools designed to teach students how to self-regulate essential study skills and improve their confidence regarding their academic capabilities from early ages.”

Jered Borup

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Jered Borup, associate professor, and academic program co-coordinator in the Learning Technologies in Schools program within Mason’s School of Education, earned a placement in the listing of scientists whose research was recognized for having the greatest single year impact in the field of Education during calendar year 2022. Borup’s work is centered on K-12 blended and online learning and the support students need to be successful in these environments. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, online learning has been the focus of increased attention from the academic community and Borup believes this trend has contributed to the recent spikes in citation of his published works.

Borup’s interest in K-12 blended and online learning can be traced back to the days when he was a junior high school social studies teacher and used technology to create online videos, consisting of lectures, that students could watch if they were absent from class and missed any work. “This showed me how technology could solve instructional challenges. But I also came to realize that I was only using technology to support learning through lectures—not the best instructional strategy,” he acknowledged. It soon became apparent to Borup that technology could be leveraged to support learning in more innovative and meaningful ways, and this realization shaped the direction of his research. “Coming from a K-12 teaching background,” he explained, “The questions I address tend to have practical applications. For instance, high attrition rates have been a persistent issue with K-12 online learning.” However, Borup maintains that with proper support provided to students, online course pass rates can improve. To this end, he has been conducting research that builds on previous work examining how online programs and teachers support their K-12 students. “One thing that was mostly missing from the academic conversation was the parental support roles, a gap that I have been addressing,” Borup notes.

Sharing his thoughts on future research priorities, Borup observed, “More research is needed to identify practical and effective ways to support K-12 online learner engagement. Through our research, my co-authors and I developed the Academic Communities of Engagement (ACE) framework to describe how learner engagement can be supported by actors within the learner's personal community and course community. The ACE framework represents years of research but is just the first step. I am currently working to develop and validate measures based on the ACE framework that will allow for more generalizable quantitative research—research that can help to identify effective practices that move the needle on learner outcomes.”

Please join us in congratulating Laurence Chalip, Anastasia Kitsantas, and Jered Borup for their remarkable achievements as reflected by their selection for inclusion in the prestigious Stanford University worldwide listing of the elite group of scientists whose work is most often cited. The important contributions made by these three CEHD faculty in their respective disciplines demonstrates why Mason is one of the top research universities in the nation, with an R1 designation from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.