Since the other threads on classes are so popular, I have to nominate one about the best professors that you had at UM.
I'll have to nominate Dr. Cameron for Great Books (although I hated the class) and Gavin LaRose for Calc III.
Also teaches the best course - the Bible in English. I had to be at Michigan for six years before I had enough seniority to register and it was well worth it.
This discussion begins and ends with Williams, at least for the English Department.
Not just the English Dept. Ralph Williams is the best professor period. He teaches with such passion and keeps you enthralled throughout his entire class periods. It's like watching Planet Earth or a really good movie. I took Shakespeare with him my junior year. Chad Henne was also in the class. It was pretty cool.
I had Ralph Williams for part of Great Books 192. Loved listening to him talk, but ultimately decided that it was a lot of show and little substance. I loved his "rubrics" tho.
Rubric 3: The Menagerie of the Mind
Rubric 5: When I came across a dewy meadow
I took Great Books with a portion from Ralph Willaims and then had him for a course on Primo Levi. The guy was unbelievable. "If you've never been to Florence, do go, do go."
John Bacon for History of College Athletics and American Sportswriting (although College Athletics was a better class).
Best teacher I ever had
John U. Bacon, absolutely.
He had a class in the fall but not this semester. Was hoping to take a class of his next year.
His winter semester class didn't get renewed, but he's hoping he'll be back for the fall. As it is the most popular class on campus I would hope that they pick him up again. It was a great class.
Like you said, hopefully he's back in the fall. I'm hoping I actually have a shot at getting into his class for a change.
not only was he one of the best teacher's i have had in my life, but it is hands down by far the most interesting class at U of M (and it's not easy either). Any class that gets people like Dan Dierdorf, Lloyd Carr, and Carol Hutchins to volunteer to speak says a lot.
Kathleen Nolta, chemistry.
Absolutely! The lady can teach organic chemistry to a rock. Furthermore, she regularly lectures to classes of over 500 students and makes an honest effort to know each of her student's names.
Mildred Wolpoff, never taken a class at M, but would love to be in one of his classes, he just reeks coolness.
Milford. Never took his class either, but was amused by my roommate's stories about him.
*raises hand* I graduated with a BS in Anthro quite a few years ago..
Although -MILFORD- was one of the most famous professors in the department(in terms of academic prestige) I'd be hard-pressed to say he was the best. Very smart guy, I never had any problems with him but some of my peers said he was hard to understand. This coming from someone who took quite a few classes with him.
But anyone who flails his arms side-to-side and over his head to imitate a gibbon walking on two legs makes the final cut.
I seem to recall that's how he normally walked. Also had a prominent brow ridge. Thanks to his class, we deduced he was a direct descendant of Homo Ergaster.
I remember that the grade for Intro to Bio Anthro was based largely on the final. We all memorized table after table of what artifacts had been found in which beds of various archaeological site. We could identify famous skull fragments by site. In the 90 minute test-prep-session, we peppered Wolpoff with more detailed questions, after which he proudly announced that no one had guessed a single test question.
At the final, the weirdest thing happened. As each student received his exam, there was a moment of shock, followed by nervous laughter. It moved like a slow wave as the exams made their way to the rear of the classroom.
The test, in its entirety:
- What is a primate?
- What is a hominid?
- What is a homo sapiens?
- What is a human?
You have 90 minutes.
Oh, we get it now. You provided the details. We were supposed to have connected the dots. Crap.
It was brilliant. And painful.
Took him twice - once teaching the undergrad evolution course with his wife, Rachel Caspari; the other in his grad Paleoanthro class.
You really had to try hard to fail (at the grad level mind you, C doesn't cut it), and if you want to learn from one of the premier thinkers on the topic, he's definitely worth it.
If you have the chance to take Speth or O'Shea (archaeology), do it.
He's one of the most down-to-earth geniuses I've ever met
Great sense of humor, cares about teaching, and his brain is like a generator of awesome
Also, his science is the top of the field. It amazes me how all the Euro-trash with their fancy gadgets, getting all the contracts with Nat'l Geographic and what not, just DON'T GET good science! Sloppy, invalid reasoning is their trademark.
Multiregionalism ... it shall stand the test of time. I could go on.
Kathleen Nolta (Orgo/Biochem), Andy Markovits (Poli Sci/German/Soc) and Brenda Gunderson (Stats 350). (Brenda Gunderson is an amazing teacher and she handed out candy on Halloween to a 200-student Stats lecture. Awesome!)
Edit: Nick Steneck (History) but he's since retired.
meh.. I took stats with Gunderson.. stopped going after the first few weeks, crammed for the final, Aced it.. and ran away with my A..
they really ought to change the grading format for that class.. I could have skipped the midterms but didn't because of some sort of weird form of embarrassment.
Anyone who has been in engineering lately should have him in his top 3. Or John Everett with his amazing stories and jokes.
Daida's 100 section should be mandatory for freshman engineers, the other ones are pretty much a joke. It speaks volumes that he is one of my favorite professors despite (purposely?) scheduling the "beverage game" walk-through on St. Patty's day and our symposium on Hash Bash.
Daida's the man. Hated it at the time, but I really did learn a lot of real-world stuff from that class.
Ken Mikolowski, RC creative writing courses. Ken is good people.
I nominate Mark Brehob, professor in computer engineering, for EECS 373.
I had him three times... he's good.
Yes! I loved Prof. Brehob. Had him for 373 and 470(yes, I'm retarded) and as a faculty/class advisor.
My 373 group built the automatic kegerator and made a special "Brehob Mode"/century club mode in his honor.
And because I like to show off:
Wow, it's a small world! I was in the semester after you. You might've seen my group's BARBIE JEEP wandering the floors of the EECS and CSE buildings :)
Here's the video that my groupmate posted:
We were in the same class, same semester. My group sat next to your group in the lab haha. We did Mechanical Frogger.
Halloran, an MSE professor who I had for MSE lab I, MSE design I, and ceramics is my favorite professor ever.
He was a fun guy to be around and just watch. He'd just pick up an object and start to examine it asking what material it was made of. And he was always making amusing noises.
He actually moved the due date for one of the bigger parts of the design class back an entire week because it was going to fall on St. Patrick's day.
You also learn a ton from him.
I also really liked Linic, a ChemE professor, although I seemed to be the only one.
Halloran? Do you perhaps mean Holleran? Young-ish guy who usually had a bald head and a beard?
I have to say I loved Linic, I could see why some people didn't like him. I especially appreciated his low tolerance for BS.
IOE prof. Also heard good stuff about Bacon. Apparently you shouldn't bring a cell phone to his class.
Matt Chapman - Microbial Genetics. Great guy, good teacher. And he'll make sure we all think straight in our old age.
Resident modernist of the English department. I've taken three classes with him, and he is by far the best. He takes incredibly difficult texts (i.e. Ulysses, To The Lighthouse, etc) and makes them understandable without dumbing them down
I took his Ulysses/Joyce class senior year and got a ton out of it even as a poli-sci major. Since I took the class pass/fail, it also provided the easiest final exam experience of my academic career. You just grouped up with 10-15 other people and read Ulysses out loud over the course of a day (it takes a little over 24 hours). It proved impossible to fail and is still the only exam I've ever been allowed/encouraged to drink through.
He's great I'm taking a class with him now.
I had Lieberman last semester for HIST 244 (Arab/Israeli conflict) and have him again this semester for HIST 207 (SE Asian Civ). Absolutely great lecturer. My other History classes just look awful compared to his stuff (and one of them is a pretty good class).
You also know you've got a good prof when half of your discussion says that they are taking the class just to have him again.
I took his Vietnam War class and it was AMAZING. I totally agree with your opinion of him.
vietnam war was the best class i took at um (i think i took it W03)-- with lieberman... just incredible
I totally agree with LaRose - I had him for Calc 3 and he was a GREAT teacher. He used corny but effective methods to get us to pay attention and his humor was great. I remember that he was starting to write upside down and sideways to make sure we were paying attention and would make fun of, but nicely, stupid comments. However, he was always available to help outside of class and was always willing to schedule extra time.
Also, I found out during the summer he is a PHENOMENAL ultimate frisbee player. I played against him in a summer league and his passes were ridiculous and on point everywhere. Just another added bonus.
I would nominate Nikolaus Katapodes, a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
I never had him for class but from interacting with him on other various projects and jobs, I really think he is a great guy. I think he'd be a great prof to have in class but for me, the best CEE professor I had was Jerome Lynch. That guy is very smart and good at relating to students.
Lynch is amazing, great teacher. He was also helpful in getting a friend of mine into Stanford for grad school.
I couldn't agree more on Katapodes and Lynch. I had them the same semester and it was by far the most interested I was in non-construction related courses.
Also Tim Bahti, who taught me German Lyrical Poetry. I could never tell if he was just a really nice guy or if I was actually decent at interpreting German poetry, I have to assume it was the former.
Best professor has to be either Ralph Williams or Brenda Gunderson. Stats is NOT my strong point, but she made it bearable and even *gasp* enjoyable. Ralph Williams is amazing, but it's sad he's gone now. His classes were epic.
I was about to post word for word what you just said about her. Made stats an interesting class.
I never took a Ralph Williams class (and truly regret it now) but did download a bunch of his lectures (for free!) from iTunes.
Bacon is probably the best teacher I have ever had, however, even as someone who loved his course - I don't think I can call him a prof. Cameron and Williams - also incredibly good, but both have since retired. In the German Dept. - Kalli Federhofer is a damn good teacher as well.
Bacon was a lecturer technically, but a damn good one.
Yes, Kalli was good. Also sehr gut in German was Professor Rastalsky.
Jim Adams was pretty darn good in Econ as well.
But he was friends with my GSI for 103/231, Stacy Swennes, and she was awesome.
I'm shooting for Kalli next year, as I missed the Fußball class by one day. Andrew Mills, who came over this year, is also a good teacher for the German dept.
All courses with Kalli are phenomenal. I would also reccomend Robin Queen's courses in sociolinguistics.
By far the best professor I've ever had.
Came in here hoping to see John; he's my 425 teacher right now.
I was initially waitlisted because so many kids try to get in his class. I got a call a week after the first class:
[Unknown Caller]: Is this Mr. Flood?
[Me]: Yes, this is him
[Unknown Caller]: You fucking idiot.
[Unknown Caller]: It's this is "he," not this is "him."
And with that, I was back in his class.
Has he told you what a merkin is yet? That was my very first note in his class.
I graduated 8 years ago and he's the only prof's name I can still remember. He was a great professor. I learned a lot and had a good time at his house when he had the class over at the end of the semester.
Best face to face teaching I've ever had. Ralph Williams is probably the best lecturer, but John Rubadeau is my favorite. I graduated six years ago and I still get incredibly well written insult emails from him.
Surprised it took this long in the thread to mention him. If I'm ever forced to get married, he's running the ceremony. I feel we should all chip in a Rubadeau story to spread the gospel to the MGoBoard. Here's a starter:
Rubadeau: here's how you remember the difference between "who" and "whom." Knock, knock.
Me: Who's there.
Me: Fuck who?
Rubadeau: It's fuck "whom," you moron.
Viva la marginalia!
In John's last e-mail, he called me a pettifogger and accused me of having "tupped an ewe." Look it up.
John Bacon for sure
John U Bacon was definitely the most entertaining and interesting. However, I would rather listen to a monkey lecture about Michigan football than James Earl Jones lecture about E & M physics, so perhaps we give him too much credit.
Adams was engaging and extremely intelligent.
My favorite class was American Industries (330). Also had him for European Economy (453) and Government Regulation of Industry (432).
I just mentioned him in one of the other threads and I agree 100%. Best in the econ department by MILES, and probably the best prof I had. In sharp contrast to Kuhn (ugh, see other thread...), he never loses sight of the fact that econ is a social science, not a purely mathematical discipline.
At the risk of showing what a fossil I am, Adams was my Micro Professor in (I think 1980). His class was the one that convinced me to major in economics. It's great to know he is still there and that he is still highly regarded by the students thirty years later.
#1 by a mile: Ralph Williams -- I'm sorry that lots of future UM students will miss out on him. Enthusiastic, entertaining, knowledegable, exactly the type of teacher every college student should encounter.
Also, Eric Rabkin, English 313: I enjoyed his fantasy and sci-fi classes a lot
Finally, Bruce Conforth, AmCult: One of the funniest and most interesting teachers you'll even have. His American folklore class was a great way to wind down my last UM semester.
I had about one good EECS teacher and he was a lecturer that's no longer here.
was great. Passionate and knowledgeable. Also very approachable. If you happened to be a senior and visit him in office hours he kept a bottle of sherry in his desk and would offer it up. Was never a scifi fan but enjoyed his class immensely
Am I the only Michigan alum who couldn't stand Ralph Williams?
I thought he sucked too. His lectures were like watching a meth-head who had just won a lifetime supply of Sudafed...getting laid. Entertaining, but I never learned a damn thing.
Sidney Fine was the best professor at Michigan-- definition of the words "old-school."
I cannot negbang either of you enough for this sentiment.
anyone have david potter? the wanna-be-ralph williams in classics who had the fake british accent and terrible sense of humour [sic]
When he was on in a lecture, he was really on. He could be inconsistent at times though;so, I understand the sentiment
I appreciate the man as a scholar. He's a brilliant mind with a lot of relevant experience and credentials. But the personality got in the way of passing on his knowledge.
It's a 50-minute class. And he spent 10 minutes of it walking up and down the aisles shaking hands and wasting time. Everything is so over-the-top and theatrical. It's really all an act.
Here's the thing, though - it's NOT an act. If you go to his office hours, run into him on the street, etc., he's the same. That really is who he is. He's certainly an extravagant personality, and if that's not your cup of tea, I can understand that. But he's certainly not phony.
His lectures were a show. You couldn't take notes even if you wanted to as it was impossible to pay attention to anything other than his enthusiasm for the topic. And catching every word during lecture wasn't necessary anyway, all you had to do was complete the reading and not drool on your final and an A was almost guaranteed.
If you couldn't get excited after listening to Williams, it wasn't going to happen. It's too bad you didn't enjoy him. He was absolutely one of my favorites.
Scary as hell.
I can report that his hands aren't the only part of Ralph's anatomy that is gigantic. I had a membership to a gym on Eisenhower and State my senior year and Ralph had one there too. Let's just say that he was not a fan of wearing anything but super tight, hiked up spandex when he worked out and I saw a lot more of Ralph Williams than I ever wanted to.
My favorite teacher was definitely Matt Lassiter. Loved his use of pop culture to teach history. Very informative and entertaining lectures
Teaches History of Pop Music, and a few other Am Cult classes.
I took that with Bruce and I was really disappointed after hearing so many good things about him.
The best American History professor and lecturer period. Frank Beaver's cinema classes were excellent as well. Or Gerry Linderman's Vietnam War class.
Peijun Li, the flavor of calculus. Ok he wasn't the best, but listening to him was hilarious.
I had Li, I told my family a phrase that he said in class once and my sister always loves it. He said, "To kill the dragon if integration by parts you must first slay the chicken of differentiation."
...the dude that teaches the seminar on Blood Feuds?
Brian Porter-Szucs history.
I took History 318 with him last semester and am surprised at how often I apply stuff I learned from him to other topics. I was disappointed to learn he wasn't teaching any classes this semester.
Take history of the Roman Catholic Church with him or any of his eastern europe classes. You will not regret it. I signed up for them with less than zero interest in the subject matter and was wowed.
Totally seconded - his class on Eastern European History from the middle ages to 1900 was my favorite class I ever took.
Porter knows how to give an amazing lecture. I seriously was excited to go to class because he made things so fun.
Made a snoozer pretty interesting... and definitely kept you on your toes.
Had him for Mergers & Acquisitions... Boring stuff but he really helped you learn it.
Juan Cole is pretty great if you're into history. The guy appears on CNN regularly and has testified in front of the Senate. That's the Michigan difference baby
Cole allows his ego and his biases to completely skew the way he teaches. I thought he was one of the worst teachers I had.
Spot on with Cole, but I got an A- in one of his classes, so good enough for me.
Good luck finding a polisci/history prof at U of M who doesn't let his liberal bias slip into his teaching. And yes, Cole can be very opinionated, but he is at the very top of his field.
Haha sounds like Gittelman to me. He was a guest lecturer in my Survey of Eastern Europe class and his lecture was so interesting. I also had the pleasure of talking to him a number of times. He had some insanely interesting stories. He's supposed to be a pretty tough grader, so that was one reason for me not to take one of his classes (I also wasn't a polsci major, for one thing).
Oh, he and Cole hated each other. They sparred in the pages of the Daily a number of times. Not to make a political statement, but I had a lot more respect for profs who were open about their biases, like David Fitzpatrick and Greg Markus (polsci 300), especially the latter. Markus knew that he sounded like an ideologue but admitted it and encouraged us to have our own opinions. I've heard of Cole embarrassing students who disagree with him.
I would put Markus under this category. We had kids walk out of his lectures in dissent
Juan Cole definitely knows his stuff when it comes to the Middle East but I don't know if I would really think of him as the best professor. For whatever it's worth a friend of mine saw him give a talk at the Law School about the Iraqi Constitution where he apparently got picked apart by the law school professors.
As for best professors, for Undergrad Markus from the Political Science department and for Law Primus and Seinfeld
...but you beat me to it.
Peter Chen from the EECS department, at least for his ENGIN 100 class.
he's the only eecs guy i even really remember. i had him for eecs 425, and he took a picture of every single person in class and wrote a program that quizzed him on first names so that he could call on people by name. great guy. i felt like he really cared about what he was doing. and that's hard to do in eecs.
yeah I had him for 100...he was a great prof, knew everyones name, and made me kinda understand computers...which is a tough job, there is definitely a reason why I'm in ME.
I had him for EECS 480, or is it 482? Whatever Operating systems design is, I had him for that.
By far the best teacher I ever had. He took everybody's picture on day 1 and memorized everybody's first name.
Peter Bauland was an awesome film instructor. I took his Comic Masters class. We got special passes to go to the Michigan Theatre every week. The class was my introduction to Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, and Hal Ashby.
and i got English credit for watching Kubrick at the Michigan. so he wins on that basis.
Masato Koreeda, Organic Chem. Writes and prints lecture notes for every class and everyone in the class because he knows he talks/writes fast, and can be hard to understand. However, incredibly nice guy, and would go to any lengths to ensure the students understood the material.
He practically lives in the chem building, is there about 8 am - 10 pm every week day, and when he's not in lab or teaching, his office door is open for students to come in. He also replies to emails within 10 minutes, even at like 2 am on a Sunday. Also he can write with both hands, and will start from both ends of a large structure and meet in the middle.
I'm a straight male but I always really wanted to hug Dr. Koreeda.
Cameron was very fun. I'm impressed that he's still teaching. In the same department and also deserving to be mentioned: Sara Rappe.
And for School of Music people: James Dapogny.
Sara Rappe definitely needed to be mentioned a lot earlier in this thread! She's very energetic, if occasionally a bit loopy. I had her "Christians & Pagans" class & she advised me for my senior thesis - both of which were great experiences.
In the Classics department, Traianos Gagos also needs to come up for mention. I've never seen anyone get so excited about their favorite grammatical construction (genitive absolute!) as he did in Greek class.
I graduated a long time ago (1998), and its fun to see some of my most beloved professors still getting props. Hell yes on Rubadeu - you take his class, not only do you learn to write well, you make a dear friend for life. Williams and Gunderson are also no-brainers. And an in memorium for the dearly departed Sidney Fine.
He taught automatic controls (I think this was ME 461) and then i took a grad class from him on vibration that was out of this world hard i was working full time at ford and taking a full load at M and begged him to help me in his free time since i was working too much. he really helped me out
He was a bit strange. a true nerd; totally dedicated to his passion. He started a simulation software company whose name i have forgotten but at the time they were really world class
I did an engineering law project on his simulation of a train crash - really cool - well before all this solid modeling stuff now
I'm surprised nobody has mentioned him. When I took O-Chem in 03-04, there were 3 sections offered during the fall term. As long as you were enrolled in one of them, you could attend whichever one you wanted to (we all took the tests together). Coppola taught the 9am lecture and it was always packed while the later (i think 11 and 12) lectures were largely empty. I think that sort of speaks for itself. I thought he was a great teacher; people must just hate Orgo.
P.S. Nolta is very nice and funny, but she does not teach orgo like BPC does. People like her b/c she reminds them of their kindergarten teacher.
before the third exam*, I drew a picture of stick figure me getting bent over by the stick figure exam on the 3rd blackboard?
it came up about 40 mins into lecture. everyone laughed, coppola recovered quickly saying something about an "sn2 reaction, coming from behind" and everyone laughed some more.
i rule. also: i'm prophetic and got pretty well smoked by that exam. (happy ending, i actually studied for the final and ended up doing fine...)
*this was fall 03, if that's when you were there...
dude i was in your SSG group.
I used an ATM machine after contracting the HIV virus today.
i remember a swedish dude. your name was name was neilsen, or andersen, or bjorgybjorgybjorsen* or something like that. also, costas was good times.
*hopefully none of this is offensive, i only mean it was a 'typical' sounding name.
anders is my name. i ran into costas years later and we had a good chat.
and no, it was not offensive.
fwiw, i have told the story of that stick figure drawing a number of times since that fateful day.
anders? as in lived in south quad in 03 in a 3rd taylor triple with two kids named matt (both matt b)?
the very same one. i haven't spoken with either matt b in a long time.
I never had him for a course, but as a grad student (in a completely unrelated department) I needed to talk with some faculty about my dissertation research. He met with me and was really helpful and engaged. He didn't know me, didn't have any connection to my program, but was willing to give up some of his time to help a grad student out. I'm always thrilled when I hear good things about him.
I would have killed for Coppola. I had (shudder) Malinda Gugelchuck for both I and II. Awful.
The other: Scott Fogler (Chemical Reaction Engineering).
I had Coppola for two semesters of organic chemistry. Great teacher.
Intro to dance. O Let's do it!
I took bio 162 with Marc Ammerlaan and he was great. He's really funny and a nice guy too.
Sherman Jackson for Religion 201 was awesome (Ralph Williams goes without saying). A lot of the history profs were also great--Fitzpatrick (American History guy from West Point), Porter, Lieberman were all terrific, plus this visiting prof Todd Endelman was amazing--we practically begged him to stay in A2.
Haha - Marc Ammerlaan was a prick to the students who took upper level stuff from him. I had him as a "guest lecturer" for numerous classes. He was a pompous asshole. He definitely knew his stuff, but he grew impatient with the whole "teaching" aspect of teaching.
"...but he grew impatient with the whole "teaching" aspect of teaching."
That's a funny line. I'll have to borrow that sometime.
Best business prof for a long time. Taught a class on Entrepreneurship. He taught how to think and approach a problem, not the answer.
While Bacon was my favorite professor, Marwil was a close second. I took his history of American Wars and another history class on perspective. Both were amazing classes and he taught with kind of an old school attitude. His lectures were always interesting and informative.
1972 - Donald Hall (Poet Laureate of the US in 2006-07) taught at UM for a few years in the early '70s and I was lucky to have taken him for Great Books.
1980-82 - Bill Lewis, UM School of Art... fantastic painter esp. watercolor, great teacher, and great guy.
1980 - Joel Isaacson, History of Art... great lecturer with a sardonic sense of humor about a subject that can be deadly dull if treated too reverently.
Oh man, I can't remember whom I had for History of Art (the survey course from the Renaissance to the present day, about a decade ago) but he was awesome. Maybe it was Isaacson? He definitely had a dry sense of humor and really made the subject matter interesting. He was gone one week and a GSI took over to lecture on Dutch still life. We really missed him.
...but I think off the top of my head I'd have to say Matt Lassiter. Not sure if he's still in the History department, but having him for Politics and Culture of the 1960s was great.
The subtext of the class is the intimate role that U of M and Ann Arbor played in the student and civil rights movements. He even brought in Alan Haber (one of the founders of SDS) for a guest lecture.
Matt's a good friend of mine and he's an even better disc golfer than a prof.
I didn't take the sixties class, but his History of American Suburbia is definitely the best class I've ever had.
Is why you've been negged. But not by me, man. Learned a few things like that, myself. Good times
Okay, for those of us that are engineers, the most entertaining professor I have had yet is Richard Scott. THe man is hilarious. useless as a teacher but hilarious. Only lecture I was excited to attend every day. And his exams are easy.
I'm partial to Prof. David Smith. He does a class on US Foreign Policy since WWII and another on the Vietnam War, and he's just overall pretty great. Plays music before each class, young, energetic. I like him.
I liked him, too. I learned a ton in his History of the Vietnam War class. And even though I was only in his lecture, he would always talk to me when I saw him on the street or in a coffee shop.
Yeah, Smith was a great teacher. Nothing starts a class better than CCR's Fortunate Son. Good times.
wasnt he an academic advisor too? unless two david smiths
1. David Fitzpatrick: I took his history of modern wars one semester and simply could not get enough of it. He's a bit full of himself, but his breadth of knowledge and narrative style just made it entertaining to attend. I was pissed at myself when I missed one of his World War II lectures the morning after my 21st birthday for obvious reasons.
2. Ralph Williams: I came into college not liking Shakespeare at all and Williams certainly changed that. If you can get over his freakishly long fingers, his enthusiasm and content mastery makes the class pretty immersive.
3. Eric Rabkin: His Science Fiction class was just so damn entertaining and I was bummed that I never got to take anything else taught by him. He brings the funny and just teaches you so much interesting stuff. Sometimes it seems like he knows everything.
I looked forward to each day I had his class. I never had an interest in law, but he made it fun and interesting to learn. Learning of his illness, then passing were like a roundhouse followed by a punch in jewels. Great guy.
Kennedy was a frequent guest lecturer in a REES course I took. Absolutely excellent. He and Ron Suny.
Took both his Sci Fi and Fantasy classes. Not only were the reading lists great and the lectures interesting, but I probably learned more about writing in his classes than in any other class.
Both great teachers and great men.
Washabaugh for Engin 100, with aerospace. His class was AWESOME, and he was always super nice.
Verhoogt, for ClCiv372, mostly cause it was really easy, and he was one of the funniest teachers I've ever had, with his weird humor.
Washabaugh was awesome. Compared to some of the other 100 teachers, he's really involved in the class and gets to know everyone pretty well.
I never had him for class, but as the Wilson center head he was awesome. I remember him asking to help me an a team mate with a cf layup just so he could learn what we do and see what we need for facilities. That man has transformed that place from an inconvenience to one of the best places on campus to do engineering. One of the best people at UM
I had him for a Calc class and he was a fantastic teacher and absolutely hilarious. I even went to his office hours the next semester for help with a different class.
I agree, Dale was the best professor I have ever had. I also went to him for help for future math classes. He was so helpful. Sadly, my sophomore year he left to teach at Carnegie Mellon.
I also really liked Tilman Borgers for Econ401. He is brilliant.
Hunting 101. How to hunt for female moose.
I was lucky to have many of the teachers on here. I had Nolta for Organic Chem Lab, and Coppola for the class. Loved them both. I also had Marwil in the fall of 2001 for 20th Century American Wars. One of my favorite History profs was Brian Porter. He taught 318, Europe in the Era of Total War, which focused on Europe from 1910-1945. He incorporated a lot of media into the class, which made his lectures very interesting.
Cindy Sowers in the RC.
And so far:
Jeff Ringenberg (ENG 101)
Mark Brehob (EECS 270)
Satinder Baveja (EECS 203)
Brian Noble (EECS 280)
Ringenberg had a way of making a class in which I need not pay attention interesting enough to show up for. The little news bits as well as the random tangents and insert moments were pretty sweet.
Brehob is without question the best Sparty I've ever met. I love the way he does his notes, he's very clear, and he's always willing to help you learn. Always popped into lab and walked around to see how everyone was doing.
Baveja I hesitated on, because I hated 203. Then I realized he was quite possibly the only reason I tolerated it. There's nothing especially outstanding about him, but given the class he was teaching, I can appreciate the job he did.
Noble I have right now, and he's just awesome. He's great at making the lecture interesting and in presenting the information.
Harry D-Souza (sp?)
Both of these two were entertaining, but they failed to make the list because they failed to actually teach me much. D'Souza I did actually learned SOME from, but it was Calc 3, so, umm, no. Kurdak was just funny to listen to.
Well, I agree with you on Ringenberg, he is in fact the man and almost made me want to take EECS... almost.
But Kurdak's voice made me cry on Thursday mornings. I was in no mood to hear about Bikini Bottom or Blues Clues. Good thing I had my ex boyfriend's notes, exams and notecards... they pretty much got me through that class.
D'Souza, I definitely wanted to like... except that I was in an 8am MWF Calc 3 lecture my first semester freshman year. There were too many weeks where Thursday night led directly into to lecture... Yoda could've been the professor and I still wouldn't have learned much.
I was part of her very first class, Law and Society (SOC 395 I believe). It was an incredibly interesting class and was the type of class that you got out of it what you put into it. I ended up taking her Social Movements class also. She ALWAYS answered her emails within an hour or two of getting them and was willing to meet anytime for office hours. Now she's writing one of my LORs for law school! If you're looking for a 3 credit social science course, I'd highly recommend her.
All in all though, I was always partial to any professor who remembered your name, or took the time to maybe learn a little bit about you as a person. I must have chosen the right classes because I seemed to get more than a few professors who acted as such. Made my college experience awesome.
Win: Ralph Williams by 5 lengths. He jump-started the minds of many a first semester freshman.
Place: Prof. Aller in Astronomy who on the first nice day of spring took all 15 or so of us in the class to Casa Dominicks, bought us all beers and continued to lecture us on extragalactic supernova while we sat around a table on the patio drinking. (Those were different times.)
Show: Gary Moeller who taught a PE class I was lucky to get into "Fundementals of Coaching Football" I think he was the OC at the time. Very funny guy.
U-M surveyed a graduating class a few years back and asked them to name two highlights of their time at Michigan. Some people named classes or professors, and Ralph Williams got more mentions than any other professor.
Also big on the list? The MSU-UM triple overtime game in '04. Oh man.
Just kidding, hope I didn't date myself there. Anyway, I always thought Professor Ege for freshman Organic Chemistry was pretty good.
Warren Hecht and Michael Byers
Apologies for my lack of ability to do this right, but a funny little video of Warren Hecht here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdXe_IaqA5E
Warren Hecht (or Deacon Warren) taught my RCIA class when I joined the Catholic Church over at St. Thomas the Apostle parish. It was always a bit odd when he lead us in prayer, since he talked slower than everyone else in the room, so we'd all be halting to let him catch back up. :)
Pol Sci 400 something. When the man pulls out his Blackberry with both Clintons, several Secretary of States and is on a first name basis with the President of China, yea, he's pretty awesome. Although he is now at the Brookings Institute.
Surprisingly large number of good ones. Three of my favorites:
1) Louis Loeb in the Philosophy department. Took Intro 101 my first semester and ended up finding my major
2) Luis Sfeir-Younis - Sociology ("Love and Intimacy")... classic liberal education - and you could join him for Yoga in the Arb.
3) C. Loring Brace - If there's one thing I remember from my education, it's "There are no races, there are only Clines"
But have to add john Wittier-Ferguson to the discussion.
Loved Ralph's delivery (but the class was huge, Shakespeare) but got more impact and challenge out of Wittier-Ferguson.
could have been the material (modernist with a focus on Joyce).
I'd also like to add Gerard Libaridian into the mix. Courses are so much more useful and relevant when the professor was actually there for most of the stuff happening, a la Dr. Libaridian's course on Armenian History After 1991.
"So we were sitting around the pool in the Presidential residence smoking cigars and drinking Scotch... and Ter Petrosyan turns to Sheverdnadze and says..."
Not to mention the guy will pretty much do anything for his students. Brilliant scholar, even better person.
That no one has mentioned Thomas Fricke. He teaches cultural anthropology, and also does some small lecture courses on the people of Nepal.
It may no seem like fascinating stuff, and normally it isn't, but Fricke makes it worth going with his off-topic stories of staying with prostitutes in Katmandu and watching random videos that have nothing to do with lecture.
Also, he takes an easy class and actually makes it easier by telling you the questions that will be on the exams if you just ask him int he review session.
On top of all this, he's a great, down-to-earth guy who loves teaching and getting to know his students.
Did I mention he has an awesome pony-tail?
Had him for a summer course (grad level) on mixed methods in research, and loved him. Seemed like a good guy to go have a beer with but I never had the nerve. I still see him often on Liberty, he must walk to campus.
My favorite professor was Ralph Williams. I was already an English major, but he made me truly appreciate British literature. I also took a Bible as Lit. class with him. Both classes were fantastic.
Noel Perkins for ME 240 "God With Chalk"
Perkins used to break something everyday to demonstrate some dynamic principle. The best was when he stood on a table to show coordinate systems and ended up cracking it. Good choice.
I remember him drawing an axis on the table with the whiteboard marker and then throwing said table across the floor to demonstrate that it was indeed a movable axis...then realizing that said whiteboard marker was not meant to write on tables and erase...
(I also rep CT, what part of CT do you rep?)
Pierre T. Kabamba Aero
Allan Afuah B-School.
The guys in the ball park would be David Brophy, Nick Vlahopoulos and Martin Pernick.
PIERRE KABAMBA: BAMF
I really liked Holly Peters-Golden for Medical Anthro.
my kind of crazy.
I'm a little bit surprised that Prof. Gabriele Boccaccini hasn't made the list yet. I took three of his classes (Jesus & the Gospels, Intro. to the New Testament, and Second Temple Judaism), and it took me most of the first course just to figure out his extravagant Italian accent. I'll always especially remember him for going to the guest lecture Prof. Darrell Bock (Dallas Theological Seminary) gave when the DaVinci Code movie was about to come out. Prof. Bock attacked all the secret bloodline, Gnostic Gospel, etc., stuff, and after his lecture, Boccaccini got up during the Q & A part and, agreeing with Bock, said, "This is not a debate between liberal scholars and conservative scholars. This is a debate between good scholars and bad scholars." Forever endeared him to me.
lock the thread
C. William Kauffman for Rocket Propulsion, and Gerard Faeth for combustion. I also really liked Pete Washabaugh, but hated his class (structures).
george bornstein in the english department was the best i had
but i went to some ralph williams lectures even though i wasnt in the class and he's an experience
Claus Borgnakke, Thermo, ICE.
"If your answer is 10% off it may not seem like its that bad, but if your employer takes 10% of your pay off you'd think its significant"
I didn't like thermo, but he made it pretty fun. Plus, Car and Driver consults with him when they have questions on the dynamics of combustion engines.
I completely agree with whoever earlier said David Fitzpatrick. He was an awesome professor. The history of modern warfare class was amazing.
Also, I'm surprised no one has said Matt Lassiter for his History of American Suburbia class. That was hands down the best class I ever took at Michigan. It was a really interesting look at the evolution of American society, without being all "American Beauty" about it where some guy who had a miserable childhood blames it all on suburbanization.
Nolta for Chem Lab
Coppola for Orgo 1
Professor Koreada (spelling) for Orgo 2 lab (and you go to him for help in orgo 2 because Melinda Gugelchuk is terrible and is the worst teacher at UofM)
Professor Barkel in ChemE
Professor Savage in ChemE (Lahann is the worst Suljio also was terrible)
Gerson and Malone for Econ courses
Aren't you in finance? Why did you take Orgo/Chem E classes?
I took Lassiter and the gentleman who taught History of US Wars (his name escapes me, but someone mentioned him above) and I thought they were both solid.
However, my two faves in Poli Sci and overall (I graduated in 2003) were:
1. Jeff Bernstein- He was a U of M alum who also taught at EMU and was a great teacher. I took multiple classes with him, and asked him why he didn't think he was on tenure track at U of M. Unfortunately, he was a great professor-as-instructor, and was more interested in this than writing/publishing. I believe he got the Golden Apple while he was at U of M (or at least the Poli Sci department's version of it). I had him for a few American Politics classes, including Poli Sci 499- Quantitative Analysis in Politics, which was essentially stats. Always entertaining, friendly, cared about his students.
1a. Mika Lavaque-Manty- He was/is a Scandinavian with an accent who I took for Poli Sci 409, which was Advanced Political Theory. Given the fact that I was lazy in college and really was only interested in American politics at the time as a discipline, I give this man serious kudos, as his class ended up being my favorite at U of M. He was brilliant and had an excellent way of relating theory to real-life. I learned an incredible amount in his class and found myself actually thinking about what we'd been discussing in class far more in daily life than any other class. I thought he was an outstanding teacher and very intelligent.
I am fairly certain Mr. Bernstein is no longer at U of M, as he was a visiting professor. Mr. Lavaque-Manty was still there 4 years ago, but I am not sure if he still is.
Also, anyone who had Hanes Walton for Poli Sci 111 would probably have to admit that he was highly entertaining and at least thought-provoking as an instructor when you're an 18 year-old fresh out of high school.
I'll second Lavaque-Manty. Excellent prof. Eichmann in Jerusalem is probably still the most interesting book I've read.
I agree! He is such an intelligent and creative professor! I reccomend him strongly!
are already mentioned. The best Econ professor that I've had is Bachmann from Econ 402. He's not only bright but he can actually teach. His lecture is very detailed and you don't need textbook(yay for money savings!!!). He knows how to integrate math and concepts at the same time into ways that we can understand.
Sure Econ 402 is a lot of work but I did well because of Bachmann. I'm not sure if I can survive Econ 402 with different professor.
I agree with Victor Lieberman. He was my thesis advisor, and was great.
Orgo: Nolta / Coppola.
Also, you can't go wrong with Sidney Fine.
The more I think about it, the more I realize that a lot of the best teachers I had at Michigan weren't even professors. And most all of them either weren't retained or found full-time positions elsewhere. Robert Greene for 20th Century Russian History, Matthew Herbst for Eastern Christianity, Ken Mikolowski (who is apparently -still- a lecturer?), Leslie Stainton in the RC, John Bacon (who, I've heard, isn't teaching next year?)...
So many professors mailing it in on tenure, and the amazing classes are taught by one-and-done lecturers and post-docs. Academia never ceases to amaze.
She is in the english department and she was the best teacher I had at Michigan. I took freshman english with her and she really was a positive teacher that encouraged each of us to pursue what we wanted.
I couldn't remember her name! I had her for my 2nd English class at U of M- it was Creative Writing- and she was such a positive and cool professor. She was great.
I can't pin point a best most my profs haven't stood out in a good one, I have had a few bad ones with Mary Lou Dorf being the worst, she's a computer science professor
I took what I think was one of his first classes he ever offered a few years back. It was amazing; probably my best experience in the history department.
I took History 320: Great Britain, culture and politics 1901-1939 from her, and she was FANTASTIC. She was so unbelievably knowledgeable, sincere, enthusiastic and fair. Class isn't hard, but it isn't easy, you have to put your work in.
I feel a tad left out. While I earned way more credits than I needed at U of M (2007), I never had the privilege of taking a class with even one of the aforementioned professors/lecturers.
Allen Hicken, Politics of South Eastern Asia: He made a class that i had little interest in one of my favorites and he looks just like one of the guys from the Canadian sketch comedy Kids in the Hall.
Maria Coolican, School of Ed: She was a great teacher! Each class was useful and she truly cares about the well-being of her students!
In the order that I had them:
Jason Daida, Engin 100 - Brilliant, best engineering prof of all, hands down.
Kathleen Nolta, Chem 210 - I learned more in Orgo I than any other science.
David Potter, ClCiv 375/376 - Another brilliant guy. I actually did independent study under him for fun, you wouldn't believe the random encyclopedic knowledge he could pull out of nowhere.
Steve Kesler, GeoSci 380 - Taught one of the most applicable courses to the reality of the world that I ever took, 'Mineral Resources, Economics, and the Environment'. Retiring soon.
Max Shtein, MatSci 489 - Crazy Genius who knows way more than he should about everything. Can think circles around anyone else that I met in the engineering school. Taught a brilliant senior design.
I had a couple that have already been mentioned - Noble, Chen in EECS.
Take SAC 236 - The Art of Film with Prof. Hubert Cohen. The dude is awesome and the class is awsome. It's being offered this fall and its the first time Cohen has taught it in a couple years. I had it with him my Freshman year and it was amazing.
If you want to learn about how films are made and the artistic choices that go into making a movie, take this class, preferrably when Prof Cohen is teaching it.
Also had him for SAC 455 - Religion in film. The last day of class he decided that he had seen enough of our writing and that a final wasn't really necessary. Needless to say, nobody objected.