RateMyProfessors.com posts yearly Top 10

  • RateMyProfessors.com came out with its second annual Top 10 Teachers from Colleges and Universities across the country
  • Professors shared their insights on their teaching philosophies
  • While all teachers had different things to say, they all stressed that the most important thing was student involvement

RateMyProfessors.com has released its second annual Top 10 lists, commending the top rated teachers and staff in colleges and junior colleges around the country.

Teacher feedback is collected for the students by the students, allowing students to figure out in advance the easiness, helpfulness, clarity and the rater interest in the teacher.

While the teachers on the Top 10 are clearly well-liked among their students, the teaching philosophies they bring to their respective subjects are different.

Gaetano Guzzo, a sociology and anthropology instructor at Wright State University and No. 7 on the professor Top 10 list, has a unique perspective on what Ph.D. stands for.

"Piled higher deeper," Guzzo said. "Basically I have the letters after my name because I spent more time and money getting them."

Guzzo said he feels that there is not much of a difference between him and his students.

"We all operate on the same premise," Guzzo said. "I value what they have to say. I don't just consider myself someone on top that you have to listen to. I treat them like adults."

Student respect is very important to Scott Smith as well.

Smith, a hospitality professor at the University of Central Florida and No. 8 on the list, said he loves getting up for his job every day, and believes his students see this.

"Some professors are very bright, but are horrible in the classroom because, I suspect, they really don't care to be there or just think the classroom is a trivial annoyance," Smith said. "I wake up every morning and I cant wait to get to work because I love my job. Part of that love creates student enthusiasm."

Smith said he believes his student's enthusiasm not only creates better classroom discussion, but it also creates the perception that his classes are easier than they actually are.

"It is not that I am an easy grader but because students are engaged and they want to listen makes it that much easier to teach them," Smith said. "When you participate, then that stuff sticks with you and, as a result, you're going to do good."

Teresa Weldy, an assistant professor in the College of Business at the University of South Alabama and No. 10 on the list, also has a very close relationship with her students, though she is very firm with them.

"I think my philosophy is based on what I call a tough love approach," Weldy said. "I have very strict policies as far as missed tests and makeup assignments go."

While Weldy admits she has high expectations and standards, she also said that by communicating this with her students right away, the sense of fairness makes them feel better.

If her stern stance on fairness in the classroom is not enough for her students, she is always willing to lend an open hand outside the classroom.

"If my students want to talk about a test I tell them to come to my office, I'll break out some snacks and we will talk," Weldy said. "I will do anything for my students."

"Students first" seems to be the credo of most of the teachers atop this list, perhaps most of all with Randy Bott, who sits at No. 1.

Bott, a theology associate professor at Brigham Young University, believes learning can be something students look forward to.

Bott said his former doctoral chair is the one who introduced his present day teaching philosophy to him.

"My doc chair said, 'Look we don't have any exams or tests, we have celebrations,'" Bott said. "This was a mindset that 'this is fun and this is a celebration.' It was the first time I really enjoyed my education."

While he still actually does give exams for grades, he believes these "celebrations" make students look at school differently.

"When they go into what you call an exam or a test there is no test anxiety there," Bott said. "It just depends how much you understand and how much you have learned."

Bott also pointed out that he wants students to not just come out of school with grades but rather, an education. In order to do this, Bott makes himself available to students as much as possible.

"I really believe in the personal involvement with the students," Bott said. "I spend about four to six hours a day answering student emails and having meetings."

Bott said he helps students to prioritize their academics by looking past the thrill of the moment and towards something that will better allow them to become productive members of society.

"When I go in I tell them they will get out what they put in," Bott said. "If you pay the price to learn, then I am willing to pay the price to teach, and together, (we) will learn an awful lot."

Although not on the Top 10 list, C.J. Hribal, a professor of English, is one of the more highly rated Marquette professors according to RateMyProfessors.com. Like the other professors, Hribal puts his students first.

"I'm teaching a craft," Hribal said. "It's a question of getting students the tools to be better writers."

Hribal said that he has a very hands-on teaching approach, allowing students to better understand the principles of writing.

"I work pretty hard at looking at their work and expect them to look at their work and others' work as well," Hribal said. "It is a very collaborative process."

Hribal said although as a teacher he is there to help, it is up to the students to find their own way.

"The hard part I think is as a teacher to figure out ways to have the student discover themselves what is working and what is not," Hribal said. "You have to help guide but also be willing to stand back and let them discover."