Matthew Pettineo is a junior studying history (with a secondary education minor) at the University of Illinois.
Because of my coursework in history and secondary education, I’ve come to understand the value of a good professor, and I have been lucky enough to have had no shortage of brilliant professors at U of I!
Here are the top three things I love about my professors.
They have extensive knowledge in their fields.
Many of the professors I have had are widely respected in academia and have great achievements to their name. They have written books and articles, edit and review for various journals, perform research, and are active as knowledge-makers in the classroom and far beyond.
They are great communicators.
One can be immensely knowledgeable in a topic but still have trouble conveying it to their audience, hindering their effectiveness as an educator. I have seen this situation firsthand in high school and in some college classes, but for the most part, my history professors occupy that intersection of "knowledgeable academic" and "gifted communicator." It is important for them to have this quality in times like these, when the pandemic has forced online classes upon most of us. In-person and online classes are completely different experiences, and it is especially important for professors to be engaging in an online context where attention can be lost or diverted easily.
They are very accessible.
My professors offer scheduled office hours and meetings by appointment, and they are easy to contact if needed. They have been accommodating and understanding if something comes up and I am unable to submit an assignment or attend a class.