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The Best and Worst Professors at Appalachian State University

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Appalachian State University might make you think of the mountains quiet and stretching but we assure you that its campus in Boone, North Carolina is actually quite thriving. Just how much thriving is it? Well, they host approximately 17,000 undergraduates who come from all over to enroll in one of the institution’s 174 majors. Noteworthy publications including time, the Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report have applauded the academics Mountaineers pursue careers in everything from the humanities to health sciences. The college has also produced a slew of successful alumni, with many finding prominence in athletics and the entertainment industry.

This is all just a long winded way of saying that Appalachian State takes the education of its students very seriously. We know how stressful signing up for classes can be, because the professors you choose have the potential to make or break your scholarly ambitions in many ways. Take it from us: these are the ones to seek out and the ones to skip.

Sociology professor Kenneth Muir helps his students succeed by doing what many others fail to do: actually preparing the classroom for tests.  You heard us right: no surprise information or trick questions here. Everything that you cover in the lectures which are mandatory will remain relevant throughout the semester. Cohesion really is the key sometimes. He also presents complex information with clarity by providing real world examples. Did we mention he’s known to play music before delving into things?

Jonathan Billheimer makes history come to life with his undeniable passion for the subject. It’s true that he expects a certain work ethic from you, but you’ll walk away from his course having retained essential knowledge. He seems to teach with the philosophy of never letting anyone fall behind. Get to know him on a personal level and your chances for final grade perfection go up dramatically.

Psychology students have a way of analyzing one’s character and habits it’s in their nature. Thankfully, they say that department mainstay Tim Ludwig is a professor to take without question. The oft-confusing subject matter is lightened by his knack for comedy, and he’s perfected the art of keeping lectures engaging. Not even his notoriously hard tests have stopped Mountaineers from enrolling in future classes with him. There’s just something electric about his energy.

What goes up must come down. That’s a simple bit of wisdom from the world of physics right? Spirits never quite go up in the classroom of Patricia Allen. Even the most mathematically included pupils say they feel left behind by her inefficient teaching method (it basically depends on you teaching yourself). She’s also the kind of professor who puts very minor details on tests a real stickler with grading. Words like “snooty” and “rude” have also been associated with her.

It’s always ironic when a communications teacher doesn’t quite excel, right? Jacob Matovu had best learn how to better engage his students, because they claim that his lectures are extremely boring. Simply reading from a PowerPoint, there’s no discussion being fostered or pseudo compelling tangents being indulged. He’s a funny man, yes, though he just can’t seem to get organized. Some even question his own understanding of the subject. The good? There’s a lot of extra credit offered. The bad?  You’re really going to need it.

Jonathan Billheimer might make the history department proud, but Sheldon Hanft certainly doesn’t. Past students characterize him as a rambler who’s prone to rude, condescending and sometimes inappropriate digressions. He may very well know the subject, but it simply doesn’t come across that way in his sleep worthy lectures. If you do take him, then you’re in for: extensive projects, hard for the sake of being hard tests, outdated movies plus much more. Save yourself while you still can.

If you’re still interested in becoming a Mountaineer, then why not take a gander at five things a former student wishes they’d known before choosing to attend. Some might surprise you!

Ryan James is a ’13 alumnus of Ohio University’s College of Arts & Sciences with a bachelor’s degree in writing and media. He currently works as a copywriter for a Fortune 500 e-commerce corporation based in Columbus, OH.

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