Two Montclair State University professors made it into the top 10 on RateMyProfessors.com, the world’s largest website for college professor ratings. The website announced their annual lists that rank top professors and universities last month. Montclair State’s Timothy Purnell took the number one spot and Montclair State’s Julie Mazur took the seventh spot on the list of top university professors.
“I am still in shock,” said Purnell, a Health Sciences professor, about his first place ranking. “We have some incredibly talented professors in my department and at the university. My students deserve the credit for this, as they make our classes interesting, relevant and engaging.”
“This ranking was a complete surprise to me and a very proud moment in my career,” said Mazur. “It feels great to be recognized by the students at Montclair. I love working with them and I’m ecstatic that they have enjoyed my class. It’s an absolute privilege to be recognized for something that you enjoy.”
RateMyProfessors.com uses a five-point scale with which students can rank their professors based on the categories of clarity, helpfulness and easiness. Students also fill out a section about their level of interest in the subject prior to taking the class. Professors receive an overall quality score based on the clarity and helpfulness rankings. Overall quality, which is based solely on student opinions expressed on the website, is the ranking taken into account to generate the top lists.
Students are also able to leave comments along with their ranking, both of which are posted anonymously.
“You will laugh, you will learn and you will have fun,” posted one student about Mazur. “This is the only time I will say it in my college experience: I wish the class was longer.”
Another student, commenting about Purnell, posted, “I learned a ton from his class. He is a really thoughtful and genuine professor that gets to know all of his students by name.” A different student posted, “Looking back, this was my favorite class. Purnell is an outstanding professor and really challenged me as a future educator.”
Mazur said that to help students learn and enjoy the class, it is important for professors to relate the topics discussed to real life situations and make them relevant to students. She also tries to be positive in the classroom and throws in a little humor as well. “Those are some of the things that make the environment an enjoyable place to learn,” she said.
“I love coming to class,” said Purnell. “I find our class discussions stimulating and engaging. I am learning from my students and the ensuing conversations.”
Purnell makes every attempt to get to know his students personally and tries to ensure that they know their contributions to the class are valued. Social media also plays a role in Purnell’s teaching methods, which he uses to make himself more accessible to students by incorporating platforms such as YouTube and Twitter.
Both professors are extremely appreciative of achieving their ranking within the top 10 of all the educators listed on the website itself.
“I take a lot of pride in my teaching and reflect after every lesson. I am happy to know that my students appreciate that I go the extra distance for them. But most importantly, I am appreciative of their positive contributions to our class environment,” Purnell said.
Mazur said that she is thankful to her students for allowing her to be a part of their lives and making her job a pleasure. “I am very appreciative of the accolade and truly have enjoyed working with every student that has set foot in my classroom.”