CM’s 10 Most Inspirational Professors at USD

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Close your “Rate My Professor” tab—that fickle website isn’t as reliable as you think. Even though a professor snagged a high rating, his 4.5 might just be because of an easy A. Shouldn’t these ratings be based on the quality of the class experience? Uninteresting classes simply suck, so find professors that make you want to ditch your Netflix and haul ass to class.

1. Deborah Kelly, Economics

Although she may not be R. Kelly the rapper, this beloved professor has a fan base all her own. “She makes going to class fun and exciting and at the end of the semester she sends us off with a quote for us to think about,” said sophomore Anastasia Tarasova. For example, this hard-hitter comes from New York Time’s best-selling author Mike Dooley: “The one thing all famous athletes, business tycoons, singers, actors and celebrated achievers in any field have in common is that they all being their journeys when they were none of these things.” Professor Kelly takes the time to know each student and helps break down complex ideas. She sparks a passion for business in every student. “In the classroom, she is a great professor, but it has been my encounters with her outside of the classroom that have made her influential in my college career,” said junior Lennie Macias.

2. Megan Eckles, Biology

When walking through Shiley, one thing is for sure: Every student will tell you Professor Eckles is one of the best Bio teachers at USD. “She made dense material super easy to understand and her quick wit and hysterical jokes made learning it all the better,” senior Paige Need’em said. “She is truly inspiring through her intelligence and really knows how to teach biology in a fresh way.” A great professor who makes Biology fun and exciting to learn is necessary for science majors everywhere and Professor Eckles does exactly that.

3. Linda Barkacs, Business Law

We’re all obsessed with Law & Order and Professor Barckacs adds her own spice to the subject. She will thrill you with her passion in law by sharing her own personal experience in the field and her ability to see the humor in cases discussed in class. “You can always count on professor Barckacs to truly care about your understanding of the concepts and how they apply to the real world, not just simply textbook answers,” senior Kevin Freye said. On top of everything, she and her husband come to campus in matching outfits. If she sports a pink dress, he wears a pink tie with his suit (Talk about couples that work together stay together, amiright?).

4. John Demas, Real Estate

If real estate is your game, John Demas is the name. To those who want to be the next Josh Flagg from Million Dollar Listing, Professor Demas will get you there. Professor Demas may be tough at times, but the case studies he has you analyze ensure you’ll be one hell of a real estate agent. “He has real world experience and stories that make what you are learning relevant in the real world,” senior Hunter Ainslie said. “You never have to ask yourself ‘Why are we learning this?’ in his class.”

5. Brian Clack, Philosophy

Plato, Kant, and Nietzsche—all of these philosophers are interesting, but by now you’re overly familiar with them. Professor Clack brings a fresh new look to the ancient teachings and will always ensure you learn something new while keeping the class engaging and entertaining. “Professor Clack is the sole reason I realized I actually love Philosophy and picked it up as my minor,” senior Mary Janus said. “He gets his students to jump into a subject that they would normally shy away from, expanding our minds and the way we see the world.” Bonus: There’s nothing more enticing than a professor with a British accent, right, guv?

6. Dennis Clausen, English

Certainly no Dennis the Mennis, Professor of English Dennis Clausen brings structure and excitement into his classroom. Many of his students attest to his addicting teaching style, which they admire. “Although his style of teaching is lecture based, they take the shape of stories. He’s an amazing author and has several novels published,” junior Julia Sherwood said. “After taking his class I have a deeper appreciation for American literature.” From creative writing to American Literature, Professor Clausen is the literary vitamin boost you’ll crave every day.

7. Aaron Gross, Religion and Theology

“He’s an amazing professor in that he gets you to learn without boring slides, but by turning every lesson into a class discussion. I’ve never learned as much from a core requirement class than I did when I took his Jewish Faith and Practices course,” said senior Thomas Marino. Professor Gross comes to class with a passion for religion and theology. The true way to inspire students is by allowing them to use their own opinions to discuss the topics at hand. Gross’s classes will challenge you not only academically, but also the way you think.

8. Erin Prickett, Communications

Everyone initially fears public speaking—all eyes on you with no way out and a horrible feeling of screwing up. The daunting required public speaking class takes USD students through a dreadful loop, but Professor Prickett is the savior every student needs. “She made the class fun and her constant support and encouragement made the entire class feel comfortable speaking and sharing their ideas,” sophomore Kelly Goles said. “You could tell that she truly wanted us to succeed and learn, and her passion lifted the entire atmosphere of the class.”

9. Bradley Bond, Communications

Like the stellar British spy we all know, rely on Professor Bond to guide you through a tough course with a love for the subject matter. All his previous students come out of their first class wanting more. “I’ve had him for four courses over the last three years and his attitude and candor is inspiring,” senior Jamie Eddy said. “He is one of the most intelligent humans I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know and really stepped in as my advisor even though he technically is not.” Challenge yourself in a class with Bond, Bradley Bond.

10. Morgan Poor, Marketing

The big bad world of marketing is everywhere and you can count on Professor Poor to teach you more. Through snippets of Mad Men and real world TV advertisement examples, her students receive hands-on experience in the marketing world. “I enjoyed her class project that incorporated competitive student teams creating a complete marketing plan for a San Diego business,” senior Michelle Liu said. “Her class was challenging but she really immersed us in the marketing process.” Don’t fuss over the workload, though. After all, to be the next big marketing hotshot you need a bit of tough love.

Nikki is a Senior at the University of San Diego and is a double-major in International Business and Marketing with a minor in English. She loves listening to music, reading and people watching. Her love for traveling drives her dream to someday live in the UK and see the world.

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