Best UM teacher

Submitted by uniqenam on February 8th, 2010 at 7:22 PM

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.



February 8th, 2010 at 8:45 PM ^

*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.

Elwood Blues

February 9th, 2010 at 10:25 PM ^

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.


February 8th, 2010 at 9:25 PM ^

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.


February 8th, 2010 at 10:09 PM ^

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.


February 8th, 2010 at 7:37 PM ^

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.


February 8th, 2010 at 9:00 PM ^

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.


February 8th, 2010 at 9:32 PM ^

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.


February 8th, 2010 at 10:23 PM ^

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:


February 8th, 2010 at 7:35 PM ^

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.


February 8th, 2010 at 7:39 PM ^

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


February 8th, 2010 at 11:55 PM ^

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.


February 8th, 2010 at 7:46 PM ^

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.


February 8th, 2010 at 7:45 PM ^

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.


February 9th, 2010 at 1:16 AM ^

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.


May 29th, 2010 at 3:18 PM ^

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.