Which Professors Should You Take Next Semester?


Published: October 22, 2009

With class registration dates creeping up on us, FCLC students have some serious decisions to make about which classes to take next semester and which professors to take them with. Should they opt for the super easy teacher who, according to the ratemyprofessors.com Web site, spits when he talks and rarely showers?  How about the professor who assigns 500 pages of reading a night but only gives a midterm and a final?

Have no fear; we’ve done some of the work for you! Here are a few of the top-rated FCLC professors who, based on student reviews on ratemyprofessors.com, are the total professor package.

Aristotle Papanikolaou
Associate Professor of Theology
Co-Founding Director, Orthodox Christian Studies Program

Papanikolaou, or, as his adoring students call him, Dr. “Telly,” has over 40 comments recommending his class. The majority of reviewers rave about how much they learned from him and how their views on Theology are now entirely different.  Need more motivation for trying his course? The phrases “exceptionally sexy,” “extremely hot” and “this man needs to be my husband” are used to describe him.

When asked why he thinks he is so popular among FCLC students, Papanikolaou gave two reasons. “I think that they leave the class with a different perspective on theology, one they really didn’t think possible,” he said.  “And I think they get some sense of how theological questions matter for their day-to-day lives.”

Guy Robinson
Lecturer in Natural Sciences

Robinson, described as “the most awesomest man to have walked the planet” by one reviewer, strives to keep his students’ interest by keeping things fun.

“The thing about laboratory courses is that students are engaged in some project or other pretty much the entire time,” said Robinson. “It should be fun. If it is becoming boring, then I have to wonder if I might be doing something wrong. My own mentor had a saying that he used to hear from his own dissertation advisor: ‘If it ain’t fun, then it probably ain’t good research.’”

If you have an aversion to science classes or are still scarred by that bio or chem teacher who haunted your dreams in high school, Robinson will put your fears at ease.  Many reviewers claim that they had hated chemistry or biology until they took Robinson’s course. Added bonus? One reviewer feels that Robinson is “funny and cute when he starts talking about fossils; I think I might be in love with him!!!”

Rafael Lamas
Assistant Professor of Modern Language & Literature

Lamas is described as “patient,” “really understanding” and “helpful,” which are key for teaching a class in a completely different language.  If you’re a performer at heart, this class is definitely right up your alley, as there are skits you’ll get to perform for your class!  Looking to study abroad next semester? Lamas is your man.

“Next semester I will be running the Fordham Program in Granada, Spain,” Lamas said. “I hope the program will provide an opportunity for students to enjoy a profitable experience abroad.”

Michael Buckley
Lecturer in Economics

Buckley’s high ratings on ratemyprofessors.com stem from the amount you learn from him, not the ease of his course.  “You will learn soo much but you’ll be working your butt off too,” a reviewer said. Reviewers agree that despite the amount of work, it is absolutely worth it to take his class.  And next semester, he’s teaching a course you can’t afford to pass up.

“I’m teaching Macro Analysis, which will deal with how recessions begin and end, government policies to deal with them and factors influencing unemployment, which are certainly relevant to students’ lives,” Buckley said.  “I’m also teaching Corporate Finance, which deals with how businesses evaluate new projects and decide to issue stock or bonds.  These questions are important for people going into the business world, even if they aren’t going into finance jobs.”

Monica Rivera Mindt
Associate Professor of Psychology

One reviewer credits Rivera Mindt with being the “first teacher that justified paying the tuition at Fordham,” putting her class net worth at over $160,000.  Rivera Mindt’s ratemyprofessors.com profile is filled with reviewers expressing their love for her, coupled with warnings to be extremely careful on her weekly quizzes.  Luckily, she drops your two lowest quiz scores, so don’t let this put you off.

Above all, it’s clear that Rivera Mindt believes that what she is teaching is important for her students to know and understand.  “The study of psychology can benefit every student, regardless of major,” said Rivera Mindt. “Psychology provides a window into ourselves and others. I believe that every student can take something really meaningful away from all of the psychology classes that we offer. For me personally, the incredible range of topics—from the molecular to molar bases of behavior—is just fascinating. What more can I say?”

Frank Boyle
Associate Professor of English

When told he was rated one of the top professors on ratemyprofessors.com, Boyle responded “Is this a gag?  If so, it has potential.”  Reviewers agree that Boyle is a funny guy, who is very easy going and doesn’t mind if you aren’t exactly on time for class, which is a major plus if you are always running late. Reviewers also mention that, whether or not Boyle is on topic, he is always interesting.

When asked to be interviewed, Boyle declined, “I believe those evaluation sites are nonsense.” So why take him? One reviewer sums it up very eloquently.

“He is a genuine person and tries really hard to involve students in discussion. If you can tie in sex or Genesis in your papers, he will give you a good grade. He wears the same pants every day.”

Amy Aronson
Assistant Professor of Journalism and Media Studies

“Hot, inspirational, talks with the rhythm of a politician; brilliant, inspiring, feminist.” Reviewers all agree that if you are interested in a career in journalism, you should take Aronson’s class.  She’s chock full of experience and more than willing to meet with you to discuss your future in the field at length.

“I’ve had a number of students tell me in office hours or write to me after finals or after graduation to let me know how much they appreciated the class,” Aronson said.  “It feels wonderful to know that I’ve added something they value to their lives.”

Why should you take Aronson next semester?

“If they are at all interested in the material, I will do my very best to help them understand it in a variety of contexts—historically, socially, culturally and occupationally—and to appreciate both what’s cool about it and what’s controversial about it. My goal is always to give students reasons to keep thinking about the material, to help it live for them beyond the classroom,” Aronson said.

John Davenport
Associate Professor of Philosophy

The main phrase that reappears on Dr. Davenport’s ratemyprofessors.com profile is that he is simply “a really nice guy.”  The majority of comments warn students that his lectures are at times very complex, but if you need any help just ask and it shall be given to you.

Dr. Davenport discussed all of his classes for the upcoming semester:  “I’m teaching a Service-learning Integrated section of Philosophical Ethics, which is an experiment, but I believe it will be a great way to make ethical theories come alive. I’m also teaching a course on Global Environmental Justice that is really an effort to promote basic literacy about the world’s most serious long-range resource problems—not just global warming.  It also serves the new major in Environmental Studies, which I’m very excited about.”