Kenyon NineGAMBIER, Ohio (April 9, 2012)
The Kenyon Nine stand with the best professors in the United States.
The Princeton Review's new book The Best 300 Professors includes the Kenyon bunch selected from about 42,000 professors using a student survey and results gleaned from RateMyProfessors.com, a Web site built on anonymous student critiques. The book is intended as an aid for prospective students and their families.
Kenyon professors among the top 300 include Fred E. Baumann, professor of political science; Jay R. Corrigan, associate professor of economics; Pamela K. Jensen, professor of political science; David M. Leibowitz, assistant professor of political science; Kim McMullen, John Crowe Ransom Professor of English; Natalia L. Olshanskaya, professor of Russian; Joel F. Richeimer, professor of philosophy; Timothy B. Shutt, professor of humanities; and David N. Suggs, professor of anthropology.
While McMullen is grateful for the honor, she feels the real reward has been the number of contacts it has prompted from former students. McMullen has not looked at RateMyProfessors.com more than a couple times in her life and finds it random in nature, but she appreciates the compliments noted by critiquing students.
"The most substantial part of the project was the Princeton Review's invitation to each of us to discuss our teaching goals and expectations," she said. "They sent us a questionnaire asking, for example, what habits we consistently see in students who have the most success in our classes and what we hope to accomplish with our pedagogy." Responses from professors are included in the book.
"While it's nice to be singled out, it's exciting to have a chance to convey to the general public what we're trying to accomplish as teachers."
The Kenyon contingent represents a range of academic expertise and teaching styles, but what emerges is a common thread of dedication to the needs of individual students, she said.
"This wonderful recognition for nine of our faculty members speaks well of the College," Provost Nayef H. Samhat said. "The dedication to teaching that they demonstrate can be found in classrooms across the College."
Kenyon's roll call tops each of the Ivy League schools mentioned. Mount Holyoke College (fourteen), James Madison University (eleven), Colgate (ten), and the College of William and Mary (ten) slipped ahead of Kenyon. Professors from 120 institutions are listed.
"The number of Kenyon faculty who were acknowledged," Richeimer said, "tells you what Kenyon is all about, where we stand as an institution. It makes it public that the priority at Kenyon is teaching. It's nice to have an independent body confirm what we already know. And, of course, we all know that many other faculty at Kenyon deserve this recognition."
Richeimer never visits RateMyProfessor.com and said educators should not be swayed by what is written there. "You should do in the classroom what you think is right."