A St. John’s professor is ranked second on Rate My Professor’s list of the top 50 professors in the nation for 2008, which comes out today.
Joyce-Boland-DeVito, a business law professor in the College of Professional Studies ranked only behind Randy Bott, a religion professor at Brigham Young University, on the Web site’s end of the year standings. This is the second year Rate My Professors has compiled a top 50 list and the second year Boland-DeVito has made it on the list. She was ranked 32 last year.
“I’m delighted to get positive feedback from students,” she said. “I went to St. John’s and I know that professors treated me with respect…I try to turn around and do the same thing [for my students].”
Rate My Professors is a Web site where college students can write comments about their professors. Symbols are used to illustrate the overall opinion students have of their instructors.
According to the Web site, a yellow smiley face stands for “good quality,” a green face stands for “average quality,” a blue unhappy face stands for “bad quality” and a red chili pepper stands for how “hot” or attractive a professor is. Students can also give their professors ratings out of five points in categories such as clarity, helpfulness and easiness.
Boland-DeVito, who has 129 ratings with an overall rating of 4.9, said that she checks her ratings on the Web site.
“It’s good because I get feedback as to what is positive and what I can improve upon,” Boland-DeVito said. “It’s anonymous so people tend to be more honest.”
Students in Boland-DeVito’s classes agreed that she deserves her high marks.
“She’s an amazing teacher,” said Kevin Ramnarain, a senior. “The class goes by so fast because she makes it fun.”
Jamie Rasmussen, a sophomore, shared similar sentiments.”She’s really funny,” she said. “She always keeps us laughing.”
Ramnarain added that Boland-DeVito responds to e-mails promptly and relates to her students.
“She tries to give you the best advice possible,” Ramnarain said.Angie Cruz, a sophomore, said that she enjoys taking Boland-DeVito’s class because of the professor’s personality.
“She’s extremely enthusiastic,” she said. “Even though I’m not a law major, I find myself interested in the class.”
Another of Boland-DeVito’s students, junior Katie McVeay, said that she likes that the professor is laid back.
“I think that a pressure free environment benefits the learning process,” she said.
In addition to having an average clarity and helpfulness rating of 4.9, Boland-DeVito has an average easiness rating of 4.8.
According to a student who commented on Oct. 22, 2008, Boland-DeVito is a “very nice person, but the class is not challenging at all. It’s an easy A… She gives you the answers to the test practically, barely any homework. Just show up, write down the answers she gives. Easiest class ever.”
Another comment from May 6, 2008 reads: “It’s a great class. The professor is very well-rounded and incorporates a lot of current events in teaching. She brings the material down to the students’ level for a better understanding. Gives all the answers to the tests prior to the test… Great class, easy A.”
However, Boland-DeVito said that she does not look at being called an easy teacher in a negative light.
“I pride myself on being able to reduce complex concepts to things that are easy to understand,” she said. “If anything, it means I’m clear and reaching the students.”
For students at St. John’s, easy may have other meanings.
“I look for easy classes, nice professors and not a lot of work,” said Nneka Shelton, a sophomore.
Another sophomore, Twason Lamont, said that he uses the Web site to see “how much work they [professors] give so I can have time to do other things.”