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The Best Professors in the Country

In the mad rush to add the perfect courses for next semester, we have to battle against upperclassmen, extracurricular activities and scheduling conflicts. With all that against us, why would we take a chance at having an awful professor? Enter RateMyProfessors.com, a free website that takes (some of) the chance out of course registration. After just a few clicks, collegiettes™ nationwide can find out whether their British Literature or Calculus II professor will be a blast or a bust. If you’re wondering where to find the best professors in the country, look no further than this top ten list, compiled based on thousands of ratings on RateMyProfessors. Did your professor make the cut? Do you agree with the standings? Read on to find out.

From Better to Best
10. Todd Schoepflin – Niagara University, NY
Coming in at number ten on the list of best professors is Todd Schoepflin, sociology professor from Niagara University in New York. He scored a whopping 4.9 out of 5 in overall quality, with the infamous red hot chili pepper next to his name (meaning he’s not only a talented teacher, but totally cute as well). Most of the reviews are for Sociology 101, and most of the students say he is “amazing”, “interesting” and “HOTT”. Beyond being easy on the eyes, it seems that Niagara students also enjoy the ease of his classes and the entertainment value of his lectures. His helpfulness and clarity categories are in the 4.9 range as well, so if you find yourself at Niagara, try taking sociology with Professor Schoepflin! Chances are you won’t regret it.
9. Tony Smith – St. Petersburg College, Fla.
At a respectable number nine on the list of the best of the best, you’ll find Tony Smith of St. Petersburg College in the Communication department. He has a swooping 5.0 in all categories except easiness, which is a decent 4.3. He even earned the chili pepper, which is always a good sign of things to come. Professor Smith has a shocking 25 pages of reviews from previous students. Most of the reviews praise his ‘awesomeness’, but more specifically, many of them wrote about how much he helped them overcome their speech anxiety. Who wouldn’t want to take a class that eliminates pre-speech jitters?

8. Melissa Bush – University of North Florida, Jacksonville
While Melissa Bush of UNF’s rating slips a bit when it comes to easiness, all of her other ratings are high, and a quick read through the 15 pages of positive reviews will tell you all you need to know. She teaches chemistry, so it’s safe to say that the difficulties come more from the subject than from the professor herself. One student said, “Melissa will help you whenever you need her”. Even if chemical equations are not your forte, give Professor Bush a try!

7. James O’Keefe – St. John’s University, Jamaica, NY
If criminal justice is your major or you’d just like to expand your knowledge on the topic, check out Professor O’Keefe at St. John’s University in New York. Again, here is a professor whose score dips in the easiness category at 3.8, but he earned a 5.0 across the board otherwise. He also has the telltale chili pepper on his page. If that is not enough to persuade you, click through the 14 pages of student reviews. Students at St. John’s called him “interesting, articulate and caring” and, since all of you collegiettes™ were wondering, “handsome”! He has history as a police officer too, so if you’re headed in that professional direction you can pick his experienced brain!

6. Susan Croll-Kali – Queen’s College, Flushing, NY
Steady ratings are always a good way to judge a great professor, and Professor Croll-Kali of the psych department has high 4’s all the way through. One student went as far as to say, “scientists need to perfect the art of cloning. She is just so intelligent and teaches with so much passion.” How is that for a positive review? As any psych majors out there can commiserate, psychology gets difficult once you get past the fun of abnormal disorders in 101. According to her reviews, Croll-Kali is “clear and helpful”, which is one of the most important qualities in a professor. What more do you need? If you’re at Queens, go take Croll-Kali’s class!

5. Stephen Pennell –  UMass Lowell
Head north a few hundred miles to find Professor Stephen Pennell of the mathematics department. I don’t know about you, collegiettes™, but math and I have never been friends. I struggled through my required courses. Whether you’re a math genius on the level of Einstein or you’re like me and just need to get them on your transcript to graduate, Professor Pennell seems like your man. One of his students called him “unbelievably easy” for differential equations and another said he is “organized, consistent and clear as Windexed glass” and “deserves a promotion”. Take it from a fellow college student, folks.
4. Melinda Shoemaker – Broward College, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Go back down south to meet Professor Melinda Shoemaker, another psychology professor. She has some of the highest marks yet, with straight 5.0’s except for easiness, in which she still landed a soaring 4.8. Psych majors and collegiettes™ who are taking psychology for fun or for credit alike, you know it’s important to find a fun professor who will talk through complicated terms and concepts on your level. Professor Shoemaker seems like the perfect candidate, with comments such as “never a dull moment” and “she always makes you laugh…very smart and helpful” among her 17 pages of reviews.
3. Kateryna Schray – Marshall University, Huntington, WV
The sweeping positive reviews for Dr. Kateryna Schray of the English department are impossible to ignore. “I’m a better person for having known her,” writes the latest reviewer. On top of that major compliment, another student wrote, “she is gorgeous and has an incredible mind. Marry me, Dr. Schray!” Alright, so that particular student may have just had a huge crush on Dr. Schray, but unrequited love aside, it looks like she has a major impact on students’ lives. Not only is she all of the above, apparently, she is also “approachable, kind and very interested in her topic.” When it comes to 18th century British literature, it may help to have SOMEONE (other than dorky English majors, myself included) who is interested in the subject matter.
2. Dr. Kimora – John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, NY
If you’re studying at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in the Big Apple, we know you mean business about becoming a criminal justice professional. Whether you’ve always aspired to be a detective or have just recently found yourself glued to the screen whenever “Law & Order: SVU” comes on, chances are you will enjoy learning from Dr. Kimora. Her overall quality, helpfulness and clarity clock in at 5.0 and her easiness is a 4.6, which is nothing to sneer at. “She is an excellent mentor,” one student wrote. For the argumentative types, you’ll be happy to find that “she is very open minded and wants you to disagree with her”. One student says it simplest and best — “great person, wonderful educator.”
1. David Mease – San Jose State University, Cali.
At the top of the professorial heap we have Professor Mease from the business department at SJSU. Business is no easy major, and having the right professor can make all the difference, especially if you are just starting out. Whether you have to take stats next semester or just a basic business course, you’ll be in luck with Professor Mease. According to a previous student, “he makes stats easy to understand,” and “it doesn’t hurt that he is totally adorable”. Other than his charming good looks, he is “very clear and detailed” and his lectures are all available for download online. For the business students with short attention spans, Professor Mease is your go-to guy with an overall rating of 4.9 out of 5.
So there you have it, collegiettes™ — the best professors in the country. Keep checking Rate my Professors for the latest in the greatest nationwide. We know you’ll rely on it when it comes to the hectic process of course registration this semester! With plenty of caffeine and Rate my Professors on your side, though, you can’t go wrong.  

Kayla Riley is a senior studying journalism and English at the University of Maine. When she's not rushing around campus in fabulous shoes or making deadline, she can be found devouring the latest Jodi Picoult novel or being quippy with friends. She recently spent a semester at the American University in Bulgaria, studying and experiencing Eastern Europe's diverse culture all while learning how to ask for a pair of shoes in her size. She plans to publish her first novel before age 30 and travel the world even sooner. She is pursuing a career in journalism in the Boston area. Follow her on Twitter @KaylaRiley!