Dec 2, 2008

GNED professor ranks no. 3 on Rate My Professors

by Jennifer Schmidt

A professor at Liberty was recently honored for achieving a teacher’s equivalent of a student’s 4.0 GPA. Assessing the impact and effectiveness of a teacher is close to impossible, but one Web site,, attempts to give students some idea about the quality of their instructors. A peer-reviewed site, students can search for a professors name and find comments and ratings given by previous students. For some teachers, the site can spell trouble for their upcoming semester rosters, but for Troy Matthews, a professor of Contemporary Issues at Liberty, the site garnered him national recognition.

The Web site released rankings of the top ten professors in America, a decision based on average rankings earned, in the middle of November. Matthews came in third, falling just behind professors from Brigham Young University and St. John’s University.

Matthews was unaware of the honor until he received a phone call from TV network MTVU requesting an interview.

“My first thought was that someone was playing a joke on me,” Matthews said. “I then checked out the Web site and saw my name — definitely a surprise.”

Matthews, who grew up in Australia, has an overall quality rating of 4.7 out of 5 on Ratings measure easiness, clarity and helpfulness — areas where he consistently scores well. Matthews has close to 90 individual ratings on the site, and of them, most echo comments left by one student last April.

“He is funny, and tells great stories. He really cares about what he teaches,” the student wrote.

Of the site, Matthews said he looked at it previously to find out what his students’ thoughts were.

“We can learn from both positive and negative comments, so I believe it can be a valuable source for professors too,” he said.
The secret to Matthews’ success may be hidden in the reason he teaches, namely, to impact lives.

“I love teaching — it is a passion. It’s work, ministry and fun all rolled into one,” he said. “The best part is influencing lives. When I go to convocation, it absolutely thrills me because what I see is the potential to change the world.”

Despite the amount of student praise featured on the Web site, one of the stories Matthews treasures is of a student who decided against having an abortion after taking his GNED 102 course.

“She brought her baby by the office to show me,” Matthews said. “I told her that in about 16 years her daughter may be a student in my class. We both shed a tear when she said, ‘I hope so.’”


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