Saturday, October 25, 2014

I Wait All Year For This!

A great professor can inspire a student, create a comfortable learning environment, and generally bring a course to life. released its annual list of Top University Professors on Tuesday, charting the best teachers in higher education based on student reviews.

These 25 professors were noted for accessibility, clarity, and ability to cultivate a discussion, among many other traits. They come from a variety of subjects and from colleges all over the country. Many students noted that these professors made them thrive in and love a subject they previous struggled with.

No. 25 Bonnie Mackey

Via University of Houston-Clear Lake
Education, University of Houston - Clear Lake
"ONE of the BEST teachers at UHCL. She is an amazing professor who helps your and teaches you so many things that you will use in the future. She makes class fun and interesting."
"Dr. Mackey is an awesome professor! She is very enthusiastic, and teaches very useful and relevant strategies. There are lots of hands on activities in class, and a few easy projects that are done outside of class. Take this teacher!! She is amazing!"

The Rest.


  1. Classic critical thinking skills, as demonstrated by Business Insider. The 25th best professor assigns only "a few easy projects." This prof may be extraordinarily talented and rigorous, but I can't believe people think RMT conveys anything meaningful.

  2. It's hard to tell, of course, but I'd bet many of these teachers really are quite good. Maybe I'm naive, but I suspect that students are more likely to be able to recognize truly great teachers -- of which there are relatively few, certainly not enough to populate all the K-16 classrooms of the world -- than they are to recognize the difference between a good-enough but somewhat boring teacher (who will get them where they need to be, if they meet him/her halfway) and an entertaining one who doesn't actually help them learn.

    In the case of Dr. Mackey, I, too, am disturbed by the "few easy projects that are done outside of class" (though aware that they might be "easy" because she breaks down the steps well). But I also notice the "useful and relevant strategies" and the "hands on activities in class." Those sound like solid teaching techniques (and also ones that work well with students who simply can't or won't spend much time working outside of class, which, I suspect, is all too many of our students these days).

  3. I have no real problem with Bonnie. Who knows what she actually does, but this fucking idiotic RMP gets cited when some magazine chooses the best professors in the country? And that's the extent of the criteria?

    I have an RMP account. 13 reviews. I wrote 7 of them. You can't believe how good they are.

  4. Didn't the original guy at RYS start an RMP account for some fictional prof in Arkansas? It was up for years unnoticed. And it was a tiny school too.

    1. Yes, Bell was part of an April Fool's Joke back in 2007. I'll find the link. He was supposedly outed. It caused a nice ruckus and even the Chronicle made a joke about it the next day.

      But his RMP page is still rocking. This guy may not be the best teacher at Arkansas Northeastern, but he sure teaches in the most classes.

  5. The "Emily Handbook" quote is great.

  6. As Contingent Cassandra says, I'm sure that plenty of these folks are very good teachers.

    Still, I can't help notice that the average "Easiness" rating for the group is 4.2, with plenty of them at 4.5 or above. And, in my experience, many students have a tendency to claim that a class is harder than it really is, so some of these folks could be even easier than their ratings suggest.

    My own Easiness rating tends to hover around 2.5-2.7, and while I consider myself to be rigorous and a critical grader, I don't see myself as requiring anything unreasonable or unattainable.

    The real outlier in the group is the woman at #3, the Classics professor from Grinnell College, who has an Easiness rating of just 1.8 but still manages an overall score of 5.0. If that's a real rating, based on genuine students reports, then it's impressive, and it says something not only about her teaching, but also about the commitment of Classics students at a rigorous and well-respected liberal arts college like Grinnell.

  7. It's as credible as the US News & World rankings where schools rate themselves...