My university is currently having a vote on who’s the best professor. I’m guessing last year’s winner isn’t eligible (because he isn’ nominated and he’s just plain brilliant). I’ve taken courses with 4 of the 10 that are nominated. A fifth one I know of. Gave the four I know the best vote possible because they deserve it and the one I know of, the worst vote possible (because he’s a socialist and advocating stuff that even Milton Friedman doesn’t agree with. Well, not exactly a socialist but that whole “corporate social responsibility” stuff is beginning to seriously annoy me. Seriously.)
Where am I going with this? Not entirely sure but it does point out that there apparently is something of a consensus among students what makes a decent professor. It probably isn’t the great marks – I was happy with only one of the grades that was given to me by the four professors (the three others I was aiming for half a grade higher) and yet I feel that I was treated fairly. Above all, I feel that I learned something. Especially with the one that was teaching the course only part of the time and thereby illustrated the difference between the quality he offered and the quality the other professor offered even further. Second semester in a row now, by the way.
Another one makes your head hurt with the stuff he tells you – two hours that add more to your knowledge than ten hours of some lame duck going on and on about something he considers interesting but no one else does.
The third one makes accounting seem exciting. ’nuff said, eh?
And, finally, the fourth one teaches macroeconomics. I am by no means a Keynesian but he perfectly illustrates the main points, brings them across in a way that’s easily understandable and was capable of writing a book in a foreign language that had less mistakes than the third edition of a book in the native language of another professor. And by less mistakes I mean less than 5% of what was to be found in the other book.
Anyway, just basic proof that humanity is good. Or that there is an objective reality. Pick whichever one you prefer.