“The race is long. It is better to drive within oneself and finish the race behind the other than it is to drive too hard and crash.” Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain

Rodney Hopson, Ph.D. serves as Professor of Evaluation in the Department of Educational Psychology, College of Education, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign. Previously, he served as Professor, Division of Educational Psychology, Research Methods, and Education Policy in the College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University and as Hillman Distinguished 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 at Duquesne University.
He received his Ph.D. from the Curry School of Education, University of Virginia with major concentrations in educational evaluation, anthropology, and policy, and sociolinguistics.

Research & Service

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. Author of 8 (co-authored and co-edited books), his research and evaluation work can be found in Addiction Research and Theory, American Journal of Evaluation, Anthropology and Education Quarterly, Chicago Policy Review, Diaspora, Indigenous, and Minority Education, International Journal of Human Rights, Journal of Negro Education, New Directions for Evaluation, Review of Education Research, Race, Ethnicity, and Education, Urban Education, and in a host of international handbooks and other book titles.


As the first born of two passionate and lifelong learners and teachers, I am blessed to inherit a spirit of resolve and perseverance, an unwavering commitment to my fellow man, and an increased desire to leave the world a better place than the one into which I was born. It is these qualities that I have attempted to nourish and expand during my professional academic and administrative career. I find the rewards and challenges of teaching extremely exhilarating and I hope and imagine myself tapping into and exposing my students, young and old, to an unraveling and a reopening of their intellectual growth, interests and passions, sometimes despite their initial frustrations and unwillingness.


Ethnographic Methods in Educ (EPOL 585) This course focuses on goals, nature, and methodological means of ethnographic research in educational settings broadly defined. Such research aims to describe and, moreover, to understand the ways of living of teachers, students, administrators, parents, and other participants in relevant social spaces. The class will be grounded in the disciplinary perspectives of cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and cultural studies. We will have an ongoing discussion of how one conducts ethnographic research, and all members of the class will conduct their own mini-study. 4 graduate hours. No professional credit.

Intro to Evaluation Theory (EPSY 470) Introduction to the major conceptual constructs and theories of evaluation; emphasis on the critical defining components of evaluation, particularly its role in program and policy development, and on critical distinctions among evaluation theories; provides grounding for further study of both evaluation theory and methods. 4 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours.

Intro to Evaluation Methods (EPSY 471) Introduces the methodology of educational and social program evaluation, including the design of an evaluation, the data collection and analysis, and reporting; emphasis on negotiating the unique facets of evaluative practice, notably evaluator role, working with clients and other stakeholders, the political dynamics of evaluation contexts, and utilization of evaluative results. Students collectively conduct a field-based evaluation project. 4 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours.

Qualitative Inquiry Methods (EPSY 578) Introductory course addressing the practice of qualitative inquiry. Topics include developing inquiry questions appropriate for qualitative studies; designing qualitative studies; generating data via interviews, observations, document analyses; analyzing and interpreting qualitative data; judging the quality of inquiry; representing and reporting qualitative inquiry; addressing ethical and political issues in the conduct of qualitative inquiry.

Ethnographic Methods in Educ (EPSY 590) Seminar in educational psychology; topics relate to the areas of specialization represented by the various divisions within the department. 0 to 4 graduate hours. No professional credit. Approved for Letter and S/U grading. May be repeated to a maximum of 8 hours in the same or separate semesters, if topics vary.

Hopson, Rodney

Professor, Educational Psychology



220A Education Building
1310 S. Sixth St.
Champaign, IL 61820

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