It is comforting as a college student to have access to insight about one’s professors before registering for a course. The Rate My Professors website is one online forum that allows students to scan feedback from certain courses’ predecessors.
It is an accomplishment, then, for The University of Akron to have not only one, but two professors make the 2013 Top 25 list on RateMyProfessors.com: Dr. Kevin Kreider and senior lecturer Susan Young, both teachers in the math department. They were also the only two professors from Ohio to make this year’s list.
The Top 25 features professors nationwide who have excelled in the areas of clarity, helpfulness, easiness and rater interest. Those professors continuing to the final selection round are assessed only on clarity and helpfulness.
“I like to make my students feel comfortable and ask questions,” Young, who has made the list in the past, said.
Young said that when teaching Calculus II, a class notorious for its difficulty, she tries to make it as easy as possible to understand.
“I try to make it as easy as I can so that they can understand what’s going on, learn it and then be able to apply it when they go on,” she said. “They have to do their work … so a lot of it falls on them. But I have great students. They work hard.”
Online reviews widely state that her patience and helpfulness are what make her right for the Top 25.
“She’s the best,” sophomore math education major Jason Tomayko said. “They say Calc II is the hardest, and it is. But, honestly, she’s very helpful. And if you make a mistake in your arithmetic, she doesn’t make you feel dumb. I recommend her to any and everybody.”
Stacie Wyles, a senior mathematics major, said she wasn’t surprised to hear that both Professor Young and Dr. Kreider had been selected.
“Professor Young was great. And Dr. Kreider is so easygoing,” Wyles said. “I’ve never done programming before, but he is clear in his directions and will go through and show you how to do what you don’t understand.”
Wyles also had him as an undergraduate adviser.
“He is just very, very helpful,” she said.
Kreider said that his approachability is just part of who he is.
“I guess I got it from my father because he was always very outgoing. He said, ‘Well, you gotta be yourself in class.’ So, I guess that’s just the way I am. I’m pretty laid back and informal. Math is hard enough,” Kreider said.
His students offer a resounding “yes” when asked if the reviews reflect his teaching style.
“When you like what you do it’s easier to do,” he said.
Professor and senior lecturer both vary in their duties and teaching styles. Rate My Professors takes ratings from the past three years, with the current year being the most heavily weighted.