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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rate My Professor College Rankings

Rate Rate My Professors has released a ranking of the Top 25 national universities, based on this methodology using more than 10 million student ratings of over 1 million professors:
  1. BYU-Utah
  2. Florida State
  3. Wisconsin
  4. Michigan
  5. Georgia
  6. UC-Berkeley
  7. Iowa State
  8. James Madison
  9. Ohio State
  10. BYU-Idaho
  11. Northeastern
  12. Florida
  13. Georgetown
  14. North Carolina-Wilmington
  15. Auburn
  16. College of Charleston
  17. Northern Iowa
  18. San Diego
  19. East Carolina
  20. UC-Santa Barbara
  21. William & Mary
  22. South Carolina
  23. Penn State
  24. Texas Christian
  25. Clemson

(Hat Tip: Francine Lipman.)

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I'm, well, suspicious of the methodology here. BYU is a very conservative school that tends to encourage students to share the values of faculty. So does its ranking really mean that it's better, or simply more conformist? Hard to tell.

Posted by: mike livingston | Apr 27, 2011 2:48:12 AM

ML's concern about BYU is more applicable to UC-Berkeley and a lot of other universities that "encourage" students to fall into the left-wing folds. Students who don't accept their radical agendas either never apply or are soon forced to leave.

Posted by: Woody | Apr 27, 2011 8:28:50 AM

@Woody--I don't disagree.

Posted by: mike livingston | Apr 27, 2011 5:39:54 PM

Give me a break Woody, UC Berkeley has one of the most active and largest chapters of College Republicans in the nation and there are more conservatives there than you think. Most professors don't force you to accept their values, but they will certainly challenge you to think critically about what you believe and to analyze why you believe certain things. It is too bad that one of the biggest things many conservatives lack is critical thinking skills; I often hesitate to call myself a conservative (and I no longer call myself a Republican) because of the lack of acceptance of facts, statistics, the uncompromising and poorly thought out rhetoric (like your own), and because of the large reliance on religion in the current iteration of the American Right.

Posted by: Tyler | Apr 27, 2011 10:46:44 PM

Went to BYU and I'm trying to remember if I had a bad professor and I can't. Had a few physics professors with wild hair and shirts coming untucked in the back, but they were pretty good teachers for the most part. I don't remember and discussions about politics, ever, no insinuations that a particular candidate or political party is crazy or misinformed, not even any discussions on social issues that I remember. On the other hand, most of my classes (but not all)were in the physical and mathematical sciences.

Posted by: ChrisGreen | Apr 27, 2011 10:59:41 PM

Since UC Berkeley isn't going to kick students out of school who drink a cup of coffee or have sex with their girlfriend I think the ideological argument holds a lot more weight with BYU. I was a conservative at UCLA and never feared that I was going to fail out of school or get kicked out for my personal actions off of campus. No matter how devout a conservative is at a UC I don't think any student would get kicked out of school for holding true to their beliefs.

Posted by: Marc | Apr 28, 2011 1:21:20 AM

Well, my father taught and my sister teaches at BYU. I went to the cross-town school, UVU, but I had some courses at BYU. I think BYU is a very "chipper" place, with lots of emphasis on positivity. BYU's faculty is also very good. There's more too this than conformity, though I don't doubt that willingness to live the university's standards plays a role.

Posted by: Zach | Apr 28, 2011 8:57:20 AM

BYU's professors are the best. Why go to an Ivy League school and be taught by graduate assistants who can barely speak English?

Posted by: Bot | Apr 28, 2011 9:05:01 AM

If the lower rankings of the other schools are purely a reflection of differences in politics between students and professors, that is remarkable in itself.

But I doubt congeniality in politics is the only reason why BYU students rank their professors highly. The school has made a conscious effort to emphasize quality undergraduate teaching, and that has to have some effect.

Posted by: Vader | Apr 28, 2011 10:30:10 AM

Why would holding similar moral or ethical beliefs make a student think their biochem or physics or english professor was a better teacher? Sometimes I'm amazed at the strange conclusions people come to when an institution they don't care for gets any sort of positive review.

BYU has primarily tasked its professors with intstucting the students rather than doing everything they can to avoid teaching in order to write grants and do research. I suspect that has a lot more to do with the high rating than any sort of issue with 'shared values'.

I'll also point out that BYU has the highest percentage of accepted students who actually matriculate in the country after passing Harvard last year.

The bottom line is it's a very good place to get an education. For some who don't care for the values, that may be a tough fact to process.

Posted by: CM | Apr 28, 2011 11:26:40 AM

BYU emphasis is on undergraduate study more than any other school, so it's no surprise they are #1.

Posted by: Tw92 | Apr 28, 2011 11:43:46 AM

BYU-Utah? Ugh.

Posted by: Adam G. | Apr 28, 2011 4:18:43 PM