Dr. Mark Walters, Oxbridge Chair of Language and Literature and chair of the William Jewell College English Department, has been named one of The Princeton Review’s The Best 300 Professors (Random House/Princeton Review Books) in a new guidebook being published this month.
Dr. Walters, a graduate of the University of Kansas (Ph.D), Wichita State University (M.A. in English, M.F.A. in creative writing, fiction) and Fort Hays State University (B.A.), joined the Jewell faculty in 1991. An active writer as well as an academician, his short stories have appeared in publications as varied as The Atlantic Monthly and National Lampoon, and his poetry has been published in Cottonwood. His essays have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and a novel is in the works. Walters, a resident of Liberty, Mo., is the only professor from Missouri or Kansas included in the new guidebook.
“Dr. Walters teaches his students to develop the tools to understand themselves, their passions, and the world around them,” says English major and Jewell alumna Brittany Edwards-Franklin ’09. “I believe this to be the essence of the liberal arts: achieving confidence and developing critical thinking skills within an academic framework, which is then applicable in every arena.”
The Princeton Review teamed with RateMyProfessors.com to develop the new resource.The book’s roster of top teachers features professors in more than 60 fields ranging from Accounting to Neuroscience to Sport Management. They hail from 122 colleges and universities across the nation. The selection process took into account qualitative and quantitative data from survey findings and ratings collected by both The Princeton Review and RateMyProfessors.com. The professors featured in the book are a select group: from an initial list of 42,000 professors considered, the final group of ‘best’ professors chosen constitutes less than .02% of the roughly 1.8 million post-secondary teachers instructing students at colleges and universities across the U.S. The professors in the book are not ranked (nor are their colleges ranked in this book), but each professor profiled received high ratings from the students they teach and inspire.
“We developed this book as a tribute to the extraordinary dedication of America’s undergraduate college professors and the vitally important role they play in our culture and our democracy,” said Robert Franek, Princeton Review’s senior vice president and publisher. “One cannot page through this book without having tremendous respect for the powerful ways they enrich their students’ lives, their colleges, and ultimately our future as a society. Together with the students who rated them so highly, we salute all of the professors we profile for their outstanding teaching. We are truly pleased to recommend them—and the schools at which they teach—to college applicants and their parents who use our resources.”
The Princeton Review and RateMyProfessors.com annually collect data from students at thousands of colleges across the country about their classroom experiences and assessments of their professors. For this project, The Princeton Review culled an initial list using its surveys of hundreds of thousands of students that revealed the colleges at which students highly rated their professors’ teaching ability and accessibility. Data from RateMyProfessors.com identified more than 42,000 professors at those schools that students had rated on its site. Combining this information, a base list of 1,000 professors was formed. After obtaining further input from school administrators and students, as well as from Princeton Review’s surveys of the professors under consideration, the editors of The Princeton Review made the final choices of the professors they profile in the book. Complete lists of the book’s professors are at www.princetonreview.com/best-professors.aspx.
The Best 300 Professors also includes profiles of the colleges at which the book’s professors teach. In the profile on William Jewell College, the editors note the college’s “strong liberal arts program and growing reputation,” calling it “a great find for students seeking a rich academic community.”