Six BYU professors listed among top 300 in the country

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Every student knows the impact a good college professor can have on their classroom experience and even life. A new book “The 300 Best Professors” has taken feedback from students and created a list of the best undergraduate professors across the country.

Six BYU professors are among the 300 listed in this book, which was developed by The Princeton Review, in partnership with RateMyProfessors.com. Together, they processed student feedback and created “the first comprehensive guidebook to America’s top undergraduate professors,” according to its website.

The BYU professors receiving this recognition are John  D. Bell, Rebecca Walker Clarke, Rosalind Hall, Kerry Muhlestein, Larry J. Nelson and Steven C. Walker.

John Bell, dean of undergraduate education and professor of PD biology, said he felt honored to receive this recognition and became interested in knowing more about what the book was trying to do.

“I was pleased to discover that it was about trying to pull together in one place what the best practices are,” Bell said. “I think they’ve identified some things that different professors are doing that seem to be good for education and good for students.”

Rosalind Hall, BYU men’s chorus and concert choir director, said it is her students that make her want to get up and come to work every day, where she can share the marvels of choral music.

“My students attribute to me any positive feeling they have had in my classes, but I know that it is the power of music with has really touched their hearts,” Hall said in an email. “I am simply the facilitator of that experience.”

Kerry Muhlestein, professor of ancient scripture, said his favorite class to teach is the Old Testament because of the impact it has on students.

“In that class more than any other I get to see light bulbs come on for students as they start to understand something they have always wanted to but never have before,” Muhlestein said in an email.

Rebecca Walker Clarke,  who currently teaches honors writing and rhetoric, said she is excited about being on the top 300 list, especially because her father is as well.

“It’s a fun honor to be on there at the same time as my father, Steve Walker,” Clarke said in an email. “He’s the real deal.”

Steve Walker, who is in his 47th year of teaching at BYU, said he has always loved teaching, in whatever venue, but has particularly loved it at BYU because of the students.

“I taught at Harvard, and think our students are as good as students anywhere in the country,” Walker said in an email. “They’re not just smart, they’re smart enough to know they need to be smarter.”

Larry Nelson, professor in the school of family life, also said his favorite part of teaching at BYU is teaching a caliber of students that is unlike anywhere else. He said he appreciates the postive student feedback that led to being on the top 300 list.

“If it means that we’re accomplishing something together, students and I in my classroom, then I’m thrilled,” Nelson said. “There are so many good professors here at BYU, I’m glad several of them got noticed.”