Three Olin College Professors Featured in New Princeton Review Book, ‘The Best 300 Professors’

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Three out of 32 full-time faculty at Olin College are featured in the Princeton Review's new "Best 300 Professors" book. Three three professors are Sarah Spence Adams, John Geddes and Mark Somerville.

The three individuals identified by The Princeton Review are excellent exemplars of the qualities I believe distinguish our entire faculty.

Olin College of Engineering has three of the country's best undergraduate teachers, according to The Princeton Review ( The Massachusetts-based education services company—widely-known for its test-prep courses, books, and student survey-based college rankings—profiles three professors from Olin in its new book, The Best 300 Professors (Random House / Princeton Review, $19.99).

The three are: Sarah Spence Adams, professor of mathematics and electrical and computer engineering; John Geddes, professor of mathematics; and Mark Somerville, associate dean for faculty affairs and research, and professor of electrical engineering and physics.

Published April 3, 2012, The Best 300 Professors is a project that The Princeton Review teamed up with – the highest-trafficked college professor ratings site in the U.S.—to develop. The book's impressive roster of top teachers features professors in more than 60 fields ranging from Accounting to Neuroscience to Sports Management. They hail from 122 colleges and universities across the nation. A complete list of the professors in the book is accessible at

The selection process took into account qualitative and quantitative data from survey findings and ratings collected by both The Princeton Review and The professors featured in the book are a truly select group: from an initial list of 42,000 professors considered, the final group of "best" professors chosen constitutes less than .02 percent of the roughly 1.8 million post-secondary teachers instructing students at colleges and universities across the U.S. The professors in the book are not ranked (nor are their colleges ranked in this book), but each professor profiled received high ratings from their most important audiences, beneficiaries and critics: the students they teach and inspire.

“It is not surprising to me that three of our faculty have been chosen for this selective group of outstanding professors,” said Olin President Richard K. Miller. “In choosing our faculty, we have always given great priority to selecting outstanding scholars who also possess the ability to motivate, inspire and serve as mentors to our students. The three individuals identified by The Princeton Review are excellent exemplars of the qualities I believe distinguish our entire faculty.”

Said Robert Franek, Princeton Review's Senior VP / Publisher, "We developed this book as a tribute to the extraordinary dedication of America's undergraduate college professors and the vitally important role they play in our culture and our democracy. One cannot page through this book without having tremendous respect for the powerful ways they enrich their students' lives, their colleges, and ultimately our future as a society. Together with their students who rated them so highly, we salute Olin’s professors and each of the other professors we profile for their outstanding teaching. We are truly pleased to recommend them—and the schools at which they teach—to college applicants and their parents who use our resources."

In its profile of Professor Spence Adams, The Princeton Review editors cite her ability to “build confidence by asking small questions, celebrating the small successes, and then helping [students] make bigger leaps.” The profile of Professor Geddes quotes an unnamed student who notes, “John is one of those professors who can look at you, realize you’re not understanding and find another way to make you understand something.” Professor Somerville’s profile describes his teaching goal as “[wanting] students to become reflective, engaged, self-directed learners.”

The Best 300 Professors is one of nearly 150 Princeton Review books published by Random House in a line that also includes The Best 376 Colleges, the Princeton Review's flagship college guide. Olin is among the 15 percent of the nation's colleges and universities that are featured in The Best 376 Colleges: 2012 Edition, published August 2011. The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University and is not a magazine.

How The Professors Were Chosen

The Princeton Review and annually collect data from students at thousands of colleges across the country (and abroad) about their classroom experiences and assessments of their professors. For this project, The Princeton Review culled an initial list using its surveys of hundreds of thousands of students that revealed the colleges at which students highly rated their professors' teaching ability and accessibility. Data from identified more than 42,000 professors at those schools that students had rated on its site. Combining this info, a base list of 1,000 professors was formed. After obtaining further input from school administrators and students, as well as from Princeton Review's surveys of the professors under consideration, the editors of The Princeton Review made the final choices of the professors they profile in the book. Complete lists of the book's professors organized three ways (alpha by state/city/college/professor/department, alpha by professor/college/department, and alpha by department/professor/college) are at

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