New Jersey’s reputation for excellence in higher education can be attributed largely to the presence of Princeton University and Rutgers University. As a public university in a state densely packed with other acclaimed academic institutions, Montclair State University is well aware of its underdog status and has gone to great lengths to match up to the Level I research institutions it aspires to associate with.
Judging by the fact that the university’s former slogan, “It’s All Here,” has become a running joke amongst students, not every effort made has been totally successful. Like any school, Montclair State could stand to improve in certain areas. The overall caliber of the professors employed at Montclair State is not one of them.
Currently, Montclair State’s average on Rate My Professors is 3.79 out of 5. Since Rate My Professors’ statistics are based on student reviews only, this average comes from a limited pool of ratings that have tended to be mostly positive. It’s about on par with the rest of the average ratings for other categories, which include internet, safety, food and happiness.
Many people use Rate My Professors as a reference point when registering for classes to see what they might be potentially signing up for. With reviews dating back to the early 2000s, it’s clear students have relied on the site for a long time. But there’s a common thread among some of the professors who have the more polarizing reviews.
For all the people who appreciate professors who want the best for them, there are almost as many people who complain about them for the same reason others praise them. Some reviews voice discontent over professors lecturing for too long or assigning too much homework. Others are frustrated by “tough graders,” who are often the same people who go on to say they slept through most of the class.
In the classroom, it’s not uncommon to hear these sentiments echoed. How many times have you heard someone who spends the entire class on their phone complain that they don’t know what’s going on or that the class is hard?
Good professors do not have the end goal of ruining your life or breaking you mentally. Believe it or not, they want to see you succeed, and no one succeeds by staying in their comfort zone.
It’s on you to reach out and communicate with professors if you need help, and any good professor will appreciate you for doing so. Unfortunately, there will always be professors who really don’t care. It’s just like in any other job, some people simply shouldn’t be educators.
Montclair State relies heavily on adjunct professors, who are infamously paid a pittance for their services. In other words, most of them aren’t in it for the money. These are people who made a conscious choice to become professors and are taking what they can get because, besides needing to make a living, they want to teach.
For those who weren’t aware, college isn’t supposed to be easy. It’s like a crash course on how to handle the real world combined with a pressure cooker that turns you into a “real adult.” Very few people come out of high school fully equipped with skills like multitasking, time management, conflict navigation and communication. Not to mention softer and arguably more important life necessities, like self-sufficiency and social skills.
There is not a single person who is nearly as mature as they think they are when they enter college. Everybody’s tough until they get hit with “it was on the syllabus.” It’s not mean, it’s reality, which admittedly can suck. But as an adult, it’s just what’s expected of you — not perfection, accountability.
College is one of the last places where a tangible safety net exists for any screwups you might make along the way. It’s a privilege to be challenged in an environment where failure is not just acceptable, it’s expected. And while it may seem ridiculous to feel appreciative of someone who seems intent on adding difficulty to your life, remember that every tough professor was once a student who felt the exact same way.
Montclair State’s perceived reputation may not be stellar, but that doesn’t mean everything here is deserving of aspersion. However you feel about them now, whatever unsavory things you may say about them when you see your friends after their class, those professors are only working to give you the college experience you signed up for.