What Makes A Good Professor?

Julianna French
jfrench@css.edu

Spend time on any college campus and you’re bound to hear students complaining about professors. What you don’t often hear is the students praising professors. Students prefer complaining to anything else, so how does one know how they are as a professor? Whether they’re “good” or not? Thanks to the increasing need to share our opinions, we now have sites such as Rate My Professor. Students are asked a series of yes or no questions, asked to choose the traits the professor exhibits, and are given a short essay section to further elaborate.

One hundred and eighty-nine CSS professors have been rated, with three of the top rated professors being Zachary Via (chemistry), Daniel Westholm (biology), and Gerald Cizadlo (biology). The traits these top professors, and others like them, tend to have are that they’re accessible outside of class, have clear grading criteria, are good lecturers, and are respected.

Every semester, surveys are sent out asking for feedback on how they lecture, but few students take it seriously. Professors, take note: if you want to know what makes a good professor, take note of these traits and don’t just focus on the surveys. Students, take note: go rate your professors and take their surveys seriously. The world needs better professors; tell them what makes a good one.