Top 10 Penn State Instructors

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Looking for a new professor to fill that schedule? Fear not, readers. Below is a list of the top 10 Penn State instructors based on students’ opinions and ranked by

10. Professor Amie Skattebo, College of Liberal Arts

For all the psychology lovers out there, Skattebo is the psychology lecturer for you. She has a variety of academic passions. Morgan Burwell, a freshman majoring in nursing, took PSYCH 100: Introductory Psychology with Skattebo. Burwell admired Skattebo’s positive demeanor and willingness to address any course confusion. “As a freshman, you appreciate a teacher that’s nice,” Burwell said.

Overall Quality: 3.2

Raters’ Average Grade: B

9. Professor Aleksey Zelenberg, Eberly College of Science

You’re not a math person until you are, and I give reminders throughout the course that almost nothing in the subject is trivial,” Zelenberg said on his personal webpage. Deborah Leszczynski, a freshman in D.U.S. took his MATH 140 course: Calculus with Analytic Geometry 1 and appreciated his teaching style.“He explained [the material] in a way that was easy to understand,” Leszczynski said.

Overall Quality: 3.5

Raters’ Average Grade: B-

8. Professor Ali Borhan, College of Engineering

Ryan Cwik, a junior majoring in chemical engineering, took CH E 350: Process Heat Transfer with Borhan, and appreciated the additional office hours for students in desperate need of clarification. “He really cared about his students. It was the hardest class I’ve taken at Penn State,” Cwik said. For any aspiring chemical engineers, try to take a class with Borhan. You won’t regret it.

Overall Quality: 4.0

Raters’ Average Grade: B+

7. Assistant Professor Lucas Passmore, College of Engineering

Need to take an engineering science and mechanics class? Assistant professor Passmore, a lifelong Penn Stater, is a great option. Passmore received both his undergrad and Ph.D. degrees from Penn State. Jordyn Finkelstein, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering, took E MCH 211: Statics with Passmore, and is taking E MCH 213: Strengths and Materials with Passmore this semester. She said she enjoyed the class dynamic, which provided the opportunity for both large and small group instruction.

Overall Quality: 4.0

Raters’ Average Grade: B+

6. Professor Mitchell Lawson, College of Health and Human Development

If you want to expand your hospitality portfolio, try taking one of Professor Lawson’s classes. Kara Drapcho, a senior majoring in nutrition, took HM 330: Food Production and Service Management with Lawson. Drapcho appreciated Professor Lawson’s dedication and thought having the opportunity to have class in a restaurant was “a different classroom environment.”

Overall Quality: 4.0

Raters’ Average Grade: A-

5. Professor Steve Manuel, College of Communications

Professor Manuel is the perfect public relations professor for all aspiring PR aficionados. Beloved by comm students everywhere, Manuel has extensive communications experience working as a photojournalist. Katharine Dulin, a senior majoring in public relations, has taken multiple classes with Manuel, including COMM 370: Public Relations and, currently, COMM 373: Crisis Communication in Public Relations. “He has had a lot of background in the field and teaches with so much enthusiasm,” Dulin said.

Overall Quality: 4.2

Raters’ Average Grade: A

4. Assistant Professor Benjamin Hickerson, College of Health and Human Development

Want to learn more about RPTM? If so, Hickerson is the best assistant professor for the job. He has vast knowledge of the Recreation, Park and Tourist Management field, according to his selected publications, and diverse interests within RPTM. Brian Bickmore, a senior majoring in recreation parks and tourism management, took RPTM 460: Political and Legal Aspects of Recreation Services with Hickerson. Bickmore said Hickerson “presented the material in a way that made sense.”

Overall Quality: 4.3

Raters’ Average Grade: N/A

3. Professor Beth LeBreton, College of Liberal Arts

LeBreton is passionate about “developmental, counseling and clinical” psychology, and can be found teaching psych classes in “Forum.” Her “lecture outlines” are godsends for students taking her class. Cailyn McCutcheon, a freshman majoring in psychology, took PSYCH 100: Introductory Psychology with LeBreton and said she appreciated the presentation variety of the class because “she showed videos; [it] wasn’t completely note based.”

Overall Quality: 4.3

Raters’ Average Grade: A-

2. Professor Sommar Chilton, M.Ed. College of Health and Human Development

Ashley Gresko, a senior majoring in education took, CSD 218 American Sign Language I with Professor Chilton. “She was very interactive and she took the time to explain [concepts] instead of reading off facts,” Gresko said. Chilton’s primary research interest is deaf culture, and her past students agree that if you put in the work, you’ll reap the benefits. If you want to learn sign language, Chilton will teach you better than anybody else.

Overall Quality: 4.3

Raters’ Average Grade: A

1. Professor Kimberly Austin, Smeal College of Business

Topping off the list at number one, Professor Austin teaches aspiring financiers the tricks of the trade. After a lengthy career with Morgan Stanley, she is passing on valuable concepts here at Penn State. Her kind demeanor and practical lectures encourage students to sign up for her classes. Ambareesh Rao, a recent graduate who majored in finance, took FIN 408: Financial Markets and Institutions with Austin and appreciated the many “practical examples” from the financial world that Austin used in her classes.

Overall Quality: 5.0

Raters’ Average Grade: A+

Rachel is a Penn State University senior studying print journalism. She loves John Hughes movies, Audrey Hepburn and all things travel.

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