The Gazette ranked Western’s 10 highest rated professors based on ratings on Rate My Professors from a total of 2,378 professors. Ratings are out of five points and only professors with a minimum of 30 student reviews were ranked because this is the size of a small class. Ties were broken based on who had more reviews.
Obviously, there are many more highly rated professors out there at Western who have hundreds — or maybe just a few — reviews but didn’t make the cut. This is just one way of finding out the top professors.
We interviewed the top 10 professors to ask them what they do that makes them the most loved teachers at Western. The overall consensus among the professors was that while they don't base their teaching styles on the RMP ratings, they appreciated the positive responses from students.
Here are the top five.
5. David Meredith, 4.9 (33 reviews)
Meredith has been teaching mathematics at King’s University College for 27 years. He was told of the RMP ratings by colleagues and students but didn't follow the website rankings himself. He was surprised to know he was among the top-rated professors at the University.
Meredith tries to put himself in students’ shoes and includes elements in his course that he thinks students would want. He hopes students will follow his passion and enthusiasm for the subject.
“I invite [students] to entertain the notion that mathematics is doable and to prepare for the possibility that its charms may surprise. Then, as with all things, their experience may be immensely rewarding,” he says.
Student comment from RMP: “He will not continue teaching until he makes sure everyone understands what he has covered! Very clear and helpful! Feel free to approach him at any time! If you want to actually learn something, you have to take his class! Always available for help as well!”
4. Tony Vernon, 4.9 (37 reviews)
Vernon is a professor in the psychology department and has taught at Western since 1982. He has looked at the RMP ratings a few times and thinks it's nice to get positive recognition from students. He engages students by injecting humour in his teaching from time and time. With his experience, Vernon also anticipates questions from students beforehand.
“I have gotten to the point where it is extremely unusual for a student to come up with a question I haven’t heard before and so I anticipate the sorts of questions and the sorts of issues students will have with each component of the course and I just build that right in my lectures,” he says.
Student comment from RMP: “Best prof ever!!! Hate stats but he made the material so easy to understand. Very informative and nice prof, does everything he can to help you and doesn't judge his students. Fair exams, probably the best prof I've had at uwo yet. Highly recommend!”
3. Laura Melnyk Gribble, 4.9 (49 reviews)
Gribble has been a full-time psychology professor at King’s since 2002. She was told about the reviews on RMP early on by a student and is happy students posted nice things about their experiences in her class. However, she says it is important to keep in mind that a lot of reviews are based off of large-sized lecture classes and there are other aspects to teaching at Western as well.
About her teaching style, Gribble says, “I love teaching and so I try to make my classes as engaging and interactive as possible. So I try to mix it up, we have discussions, we do demonstrations, there's the odd video tossed in, and I try as much as possible even in those long three-hour classes to keep the class engaged.”
Student comment from RMP: “Laura was an amazing prof. If I could have her teach all my classes I would! She is helpful and genuine. She takes time to explain, if the class appears to find the topic difficult. She takes the time to get to know her students, and structures the class and her lectures in an easy to learn manner. I actually nominated her for the prof awards!”
2. Joseph Turnbull, 5.0 (48 reviews)
Turnbull has been an applied mathematics professor based at King’s since 2012. He was made aware of the positive reviews about him on RMP by a relative.
Turnbull engages students by creating a culture of mutual support in his classes. He also tries to include technology in his teaching experience.
“I experiment with in-class technology to make the material more accessible, and also use a lot of online tech to try to build classroom communities that extend beyond our class time,” he says. “My obsession with 'collaborative learning' is a big part of all of that drive. I also look for ways to integrate material from across disciplines — sciences, social sciences, etc.”
Student comment from RMP: “Amazing, funny, awesome lectures. Shows you how certain calculus concepts/theories can be applied to such fields as science, engineering, and business. You end up understanding the material fully no matter how daunting it may have first appeared. EXCELLENT PROF!”
1. Mark Holden, 5.0 (66 reviews)
Holden is an adjunct professor in the department of psychology and has been teaching at Western for three years. He checks RMP sometimes but wasn’t aware he was in Western’s top-10 list.
“I check it every now and again as kind of a guilty pleasure — it's nice to get that little bit of an ego boost when you see a positive comment from a happy student,” he says.
Holden makes his courses interesting for students by relating course content to things students encounter in their everyday lives and uses in-class demonstrations, videos, stories and anecdotes.
“Really, it all just comes down to putting yourself in the shoes of your students; this means thinking constantly about how you can make the material interesting for your students, and it also means trying to hit that sweet spot where the way you teach the material is not too hard, but also not so easy that students fall asleep,” he says.
Student comment from RMP: “I would cry if I had to miss a Holden lecture. For me being someone who NEVER went to class, a science student who never attended biology, I can say that THIS class was amazing. Holden is THE BEST prof ever, he teaches the course in a way that no one else could. I would take this class every year over and over if I could. 100p would take in 1st yr.”