ITHACA, NY — Ithaca College has two of the country’s best undergraduate teachers, according to the Princeton Review. The education services company features profiles of professor of mathematicsMarty Sternsteinand associate professor of chemistryMike Haafin its new book, “The Best 300 Professors.”
Hailing from 122 colleges and universities across the nation, the top teachers in more than 60 fields of study are recognized in the newly released book. “The Best 300 Professors” also includes profiles of the colleges at which those who are included teach. The complete list can be found atwww.princetonreview.com/best-professors/.
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 highest-trafficked college professor ratings site in the U.S. From an initial list of 42,000 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 country.
The profile of Sternstein — who has been teaching at Ithaca College for more than four decades — notes that his main concern is that each and every student masters the material, feels challenged to the utmost of his/her abilities and is drawn in to share his enthusiasm for the subject. His work in mentoring inner-city high school teachers has instilled in him a strong interest in national educational and social issues concerning equal access to math education for all, and he is constantly working hard to make some contribution in this critical area.
“Of course I am honored to be profiled in the book,” said Sternstein. “However, in all honesty, I simply represent what goes on day in and day out throughout the Ithaca College mathematics department, where every professor actively supports and mentors students through very innovative teaching, real interaction outside of the classroom and serious research collaboration. Recognition must also go to the students who so seriously and enthusiastically study mathematics, and especially to the many who go on to become exceptional teachers in their own right.”
Haaf’s profile points out that a positive attitude and a good sense of humor go a long way in the classroom, and that he offers both in his lectures, breaking up the class using short activities, demonstrations or guided inquiry-based problems to keep students actively engaged. His goal is to supply students not just with information but also with the tools to get information, so they become practiced and excited about learning on their own. He wants them to know that they should set high expectations for themselves, and that he will do everything he can to help them realize those expectations.
“The assessment of quality teaching, or student perceptions of quality teaching, is at best a very tricky proposition,” said Haaf. “I feel like there are many IC professors that deserve this kind of recognition. In fact, my teaching is directly influenced by my former teachers, and by my current colleagues at Ithaca College, especially those in the chemistry department. I am grateful for all that I have learned from them, and I am also grateful to the Princeton Review for taking the time and effort to recognize teaching excellence, as difficult as that can be.”
“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. We are truly pleased to recommend them — and the schools at which they teach — to college applicants and their parents who use our resources.”