Niagara University has announced that Dr. Todd Schoepflin, an associate professor in its sociology department, has been ranked as one of the top professors in the U.S., according to The Princeton Review and www.RateMyProfessors.com.
Schoepflin, of Kenmore, will be featured in The Best 300 Professors, a Random House publication that was released today. The Princeton Review partnered with MTV's RateMyProfessors.com to create the publication, the result of ratings compiled from more than 10 million students on more than 1 million professors.
"On behalf of Niagara University, I would like to congratulate Dr. Schoepflin for receiving this well-deserved honor," said Dr. Timothy Downs, vice president for academic affairs at NU. "Todd is an outstanding educator who possesses the talents befitting of this award. He is representative of the educational atmosphere at Niagara, where experiential, one-on-one learning is emphasized."
Students rate professors on several dimensions, including clarity, helpfulness, easiness and rater interest (interest level prior to attending the class). However, overall professor quality (which informs the highest rated professor list) is determined by an equal weighting of only two criteria: clarity and helpfulness. Five is the highest rating and one is the lowest rating for each of the above-mentioned dimensions.
According to the publishers, the editors strived for a wide representation of academic subjects and teaching methods, as well as types of institutions. They worked in collaboration with professors and schools to create a resource that will help students understand more about how exceptional professors can enhance their college experiences.
"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 Paul Kanarek, a founder of The Princeton Review. "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 his students who rated him so highly, we salute Dr. Schoepflin and each of the other 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."
In its profile on Schoepflin, The Princeton Review editors cite how he "strives to cover material that is neither dumbed down nor over (students') heads."
"I try to offer material that intrigues them and makes them curious to learn more about the subject matter," said Schoepflin, an NU professor since 1999. "I encourage them to engage with the material and provide examples of their own. I believe that I give them a lot to think about, and that I help to develop their critical thinking skills and their ability to see things from a variety of perspectives."
According to a Nov. 7, 2011, review of Schoepflin, "(He is) absolutely (the) best teacher I've ever had! He really cares about what he's teaching and about his students. He teaches the material in a clear way and makes it beyond interesting. I am not an A+ student and have been known to skip many classes, but I would never even consider skipping his class. Most interesting class so far in college by a long shot."
The Best 300 Professors also includes profiles of the colleges at which one or more of the book's top-notch professors teach. The school profiles give students considering attending these colleges information on admissions, tuition, SAT/ACT score ranges of admitted students, and other useful data. In the profile of Niagara University in the book, the editors note the campus' familial atmosphere, citing a student who said NU's small class sizes "made me feel as a part of something" and "allow students to build strong relationships with the faculty and community."
Each year, www.RateMyProfessors.com, the Internet's largest destination for subjective professor evaluations, assembles a list of the top professors based on ratings and comments from students. Schoepflin was ranked 10th on last year's list, with an overall "score" of 4.9 out of 5 in overall quality.
The publication can be purchased in all major bookstores.