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Three Pomona College Professors Featured in New Princeton Review Book: "The Best 300 Professors"

Pomona College has three of the country's best undergraduate teachers according to The Princeton Review’s  (www.PrincetonReview.com) new book The Best 300 Professors, which includes profiles of Professor of Geology and Environmental Analysis Richard Hazlett, Professor of Neuroscience Nicole Weekes and Professor of History Samuel Yamashita.

Released April 3, 2012, The Best 300 Professors is a collaborative project for which The Princeton Review, known for its test-prep courses, books, and student survey-based college rankings, teamed up with RateMyProfessors.com, the highest-trafficked college professor ratings site in the U.S. The book features professors in more than 60 fields ranging from accounting to neuroscience to sport management. They hail from 122 colleges and universities across the nation.  A complete list of the professors in the book is accessible at: www.princetonreview.com/best-professors.aspx

The selection process took into account qualitative and quantitative data from survey findings and ratings collected by both The Princeton Review and RateMyProfessors.com. (See “How the Professors Were Chosen” below.) The professors featured in the book are a select group:  from an initial list of 42,000 professors considered, the final group of “best” professors chosen constitutes less than .02% of the roughly 1.8 million post-secondary teachers instructing students at colleges and universities across the U.S. The professors in the book are not ranked (nor are their colleges ranked in this book) but each professor profiled received high ratings from the students they teach and inspire.

Richard Hazlett

In its profile on Professor Richard Hazlett, The Princeton Review editors cite undergraduates who say that he “goes above and beyond the call of duty to help students.” In the book, Hazlett says his office hours are “really the best time in which to get to know an individual student well—what makes each ‘tick’,” he says. He teaches classes that students call “eye-opening and important,” such as environmental studies and science, agroecology and agricultural impacts on the environment and physical volcanology; one of his courses, Food, Land and the Environment, includes a field section in which students grow and harvest their own crops, learn how to bee-keep, and engage in construction improvements (e.g., building an outdoor classroom, making biodiesel fuel, composting, etc.). Hazlett has received Pomona College’s Wig Distinguished Professor Award for Excellence in Teaching four times.

Nicole Weekes

For Professor Nicole Weekes, whose classes include Intro to Psychology, Human Brain, and a seminar in Biological Basis of Psychopathology, her desire for her students is to share her fervency for her subject: “There is nothing more contagious than passion,” she says. “I think they know how hard I work to be good at my job, and what this says about my respect for them as well as for my chosen career.” The book also includes comments from Pomona students who say, “She’s absolutely hysterical! What other profs tell jokes and do impressions? Plus there is that other little fact: She seems to know EVERYTHING.” Weekes’ research and teaching methods of psychopathology include scientific, legal, philosophical and first-person narrative approaches. She has received the College’s Wig Teaching Award three times.

Samuel Yamashita

Samuel Yamashita teaches Asian Traditions, Rethinking Modern Asian History, State and Citizen and Subject in Modern Japan, Early Modern Japan and Modern Japan. In his classes he uses material that he gathered, translated and published—the diaries of a kamikaze pilot, an Army straggler on Okinawa, a Tokyo housewife, a teenage girl mobilized for war work in Kyushu, and two children evacuated from cities to the safety of the countryside. “I want students to be engaged and to think as deeply as they can about whatever topics I present in classroom lectures or raise in seminars,” he says. Students refer to him as “absolutely brilliant, thoughtful, very tough and demanding, generous, [and] inspired.” Yamashita has received the College’s Wig Teaching Award six times.

 

 

How The Professors Were Chosen

The Princeton Review and RateMyProfessors.com annually collect data from students at thousands of colleges across the country (and abroad) about their classroom experiences and assessments of their professors. For this project, The Princeton Review culled an initial list of colleges where students highly rated their professors’ teaching ability and accessibility. Data from RateMyProfessors.com identified more than 42,000 professors at those schools that students had rated on its site.  Combining this info, a base list of 1,000 professors was formed.  After obtaining further input from school administrators and students, as well as from Princeton Review's surveys of the professors under consideration, the editors of The Princeton Review made the final choices of the professors they profile in the book.  Complete lists of the book's professors are at www.princetonreview.com/best-professors.aspx.

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