Eliot Circular

Reed Profs Ranked #1

Reed students gave their professors, such as Prof. Hyong Rhew [Chinese 1988–], top marks in a national survey. Photo by Leah Nash

By Robin Tovey ’97

Reed College has the best professors in the nation, according to the Princeton Review, based on a survey of more than 130,000 undergrads. The education-services company published its 2015 college guide, The Best  378 Colleges, in August and ranked Reed first for professors held in high esteem by their students.

In addition to “Professors Get High Marks,” Reed ranked at #3 for “Best Classroom Experience,” #4 for “Students Study the Most,”  #4 for “There’s a Game?” and #14 for “Great Financial Aid,” among others.

“I think at Reed College, first and foremost, it’s about the classroom experience and all the things go with the classroom experience,” Prof. Mary James [physics 1988–], dean of institutional diversity, told KXL after the guide was published. “It would be the wrong place to come if your heart’s desire is to root for a football team for four years.”

The Princeton Review guide is based on surveys of 130,000 students (an average of  343 per campus) taken over the past three school years. The survey asks students 80 questions about academics, administration, the student body, and themselves. The ranking methodology uses a five-point Likert scale to convert qualitative assessments into quantitative data for school-to-school comparisons.

It’s no secret that Reed has long been critical of college rankings, particularly the influential guide published by U.S. News and World Report. These lists need to be looked at with an exacting eye, since they often rely on questionable methodology. Nonetheless, since the Princeton Review is based on feedback from real students who actually took classes from Reed professors, we are proud to celebrate this intellectual synergy. (See our website for more on the Princeton Review guide’s methodology and on Reed’s tumultuous relationship with U.S. News.)