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Erl Sorensen

Professor Erl Sorensen, originally of Danish origin, is a Senior Lecturer at the Mathematical Sciences department. He has been called “the grandfather figure” by at least one student per semester and loves to gamble, the statistical genius that he is. He loves teaching and believes each class to be his best teaching moment. Also, if you’re extra extra smart, you might just score a free 4.0 in his class. Now, doesn’t he sound like a dream?  

Her Campus Bentley: Why did you shorten your name?

Erl Sorensen: Well, it’s definitely more common. Besides, people would never get my full name right anyway. It’s a Danish name.


HCB: Are you Danish?

ES: Yes. My parents were Danish immigrants. I lived for a very short while in Denmark.


HCB: What are your credentials?

ES: Let’s see … I have a driver’s license, along with an undergraduate degree in Math, an MBA from Syracuse University and also a PhD from the same place in statistics and quantitative methods.


HCB: How long have you worked at Bentley?

ES: I came here in 1998, so 18 years.


HCB: Are you going to work here forever, or at least until you retire?

ES: Yes, I think so. I could have retired a while ago, but I don’t want to because I’m having too much fun.


HCB: Why did you pick teaching?

ES: It’s a funny story. I remember being in high school and when people asked me what I wanted to do, I would say, “I don’t know, but not a teacher.” Funny how that turned out, right? I got my first taste of teaching when I was doing my PhD. I realized that I loved the interactions. It wasn’t a master plan, it just evolved.


HCB: What was your best teaching moment?

ES: Today’s class was my most recent one. I enjoy every teaching moment so I don’t know about the overall best one.


HCB: What was your most awkward teaching moment?

ES: I gave one of my classes a statistics question about hypothesis testing and the material was above and beyond what we did in class. I said, “If anyone can solve this problem, I’ll give them a 4.0 for the class.” The class was quiet. Then, a girl at the back of the class raises her hand and says, “I think I can.” I was stunned. I expected mistakes and I thought I’d help her along the way. She solved it, perfectly. When she was done, she asked me again, “Do I get a 4.0?” I had to say yes. She went back to her seat and closed her notebooks and said, “Can I leave?” I said, “Hold on. You’ll get the 4.0 on one condition. You have to come to every class.” She agreed. She probably would have gotten a 4.0 anyway, but that has got to be the most awkward moment.


HCB: What is the secret to your hairstyle?

ES: Hmm… let me see. Razor cut? I have always liked this cut, ever since I was in the military and I was forced to get this cut. But now I like it. I have a slight bald spot (rubs head thoughtfully). I could have hair around it but I’m a practical person.

HCB: What do you think of RateMyProfessor?

ES: Err… I think it’s an interesting collection of … scientific survey. A lot of the times, it’s either extremely good or extremely bad. If it’s more than three or four entries, it may give you an insight into what the teacher is like. My experience with the site has been limited. But this one time, Princeton Review called me and said that they wanted to interview me. Apparently they were putting together this list of 300 best professors in America and they wanted me in it. They got that based on RateMyProfessor!


HCB: How do you feel about being campus celebrity?

ES: Great! (laughs) I feel like it’s a nice honor, especially when I know my students are reading and writing for it. 

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