Professors actively engage students in learning


I have taken an assortment of courses in the six semesters I have been here at Radford University: psychology, math, sociology, biology, communication, business law, and the list goes on. I found that I excel in the study of communication and public relations and I am absolutely dreadful at math and science. Yet in those classes I did not like, I never once failed. I believe I owe that to the outstanding professors we have at RU. I have come to the conclusion that how well you do in a certain class is mostly a reflection of the teaching style of the professor, because not once in three years have I gotten dismal grades in a class that had a knowledgeable, engaging, and fair professor – even in math class. Although there are exceptions of course, like when students just do not have enough respect to listen and pay attention because there is no way to do well if you are not even pretending to try.

I have come across a few different types of classes since the fall of 2012, ranging from bored-to-tears simple to so difficult there is no use even showing up. There is always going to be an easy A class where all you have to do if show up and give half a damn about what is happening to do well. Then you have the classes you must be extremely motivated to do well in to pass, where the professor and their style could be the turning point between a respectable grade or terrible grade. Of course, you also have that class you were eternally destined to fail no matter how many times you ask for extra credit, go to the professor’s office hours, and just flat-out beg them to pass you.

While six semesters seems like a long time, I am not ready to admit I will be graduating close to this time next year. I have enjoyed my three years at RU taking a wide variety of courses with a wide variety of professors. But by far the two best professors I have come across in my time here are Dr. Carla Corroto and Dr. John Brummette. Maybe it’s the extensive schooling they endured for their respective titles or their willingness to engage students in the classroom, but either way they are unsurpassed, bar none.

Dr. Corrotto was my professor for two different sociology classes, while I have only taken Public Relations Management with Dr. Brummette. These lovely people are different from the rest because of a few things. They are accessible outside of the classroom with office hours, show willingness to make appointments if those times do not work, and offer quick and accurate responses to emails. They offer support and go out of their way to show that they do not want the material to trip you up, but that they just want you to learn and be prepared the best you can. One of the most important things they do, in my opinion, is keep class interesting and entertaining. There are plenty of students with learning disabilities, who want to learn but have a hard time staying focused and attentive in class because the professor just drones, but these professors’ quick tongues force you to pay attention or you might miss something. They also allow ample time for class discussions and participation, and excel in engaging students in the learning process.

The most excellent thing these professors do that sets them apart from the rest is they know how to take constructive criticism. Knowing what works and does not work for specific students is the only way to improve the class structure so students succeed. By making study guides for tests if papers are not an option is a huge help for those students that do not know where to begin studying. A controversial topic for some professors is the idea of allowing a “cheat sheet” for exam day. While some professors may think this gets students out of actually preparing for a test, this could not be farther from the truth. A cheat sheet lets you write down everything you need to know for the exam, and sometimes more. Writing down definitions and examples is an outstanding way to retain information and I find myself not even needing my sheet when I take the test sometimes because I have gone over the material a few times already at home preparing for it.

These professors have made my education here at RU exceptional, and I feel like during their class I am not just memorizing information, but actually retaining knowledge and learning the material and how it can be applied to my own life. I believe these professors should be on the top of everyone’s favorite teacher list, and if you have not had the opportunity to take a course with them, I highly recommend it.

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