Choosing courses at University can feel like a game of Russian Roulette. You’re taking a chance, and seeing if it plays out in your favour. There are so many professors and class times, and it can be overwhelming to try and rush to get “the best” of each. Students turn to friends, mentors, Reddit, forums, and Rate My Prof to help make these critical decisions for them, but does it really help?
Yes and no. Ultimately, you’ll have to read up on teaching style and pace, because this is unique to each individual. Be your own best judge of how you think you’ll like a Prof, and take everyone’s opinions with a grain of salt. Be open to doing some research so you can optimize your learning experience! To help you get off to a great start, here’s some of the top rated Professors from Simon Fraser University.
Shafiq Bhalloo, Department of Business Administration (Burnaby Campus):
Prof. Bhalloo has a lot of ratings. 255, to be exact. Out of the 255 reviews, he has an average of 4.5/5 for quality, and 97% of students say they would take his course again. The average difficulty of his classes (including BUS 393) is a 3. His top tags include “amazing lectures,” “respected,” and “inspirational,” which is great! Students appreciate Prof. Bhalloo’s passion and interactive lessons. Definitely check out his classes if you’re interested in business!
Brent Flodin, Department of Kinesiology (Burnaby Campus):
Mr. Flodin isn’t technically a Professor. He’s a TA, but that doesn’t mean that he won’t be marking your work or giving you lectures and labs! With an average rating of 5.0/5.0 (based off of 38 ratings), 100% of students say they would take his class again! The average difficulty of his classes is 2.4. His top tags include “caring,” “gives good feedback,” and “accessible outside class.” To read more specific student reviews, click here.
John Edgar, Department of Computer Science (Surrey Campus):
For stats, Prof. Edgar has a 4.4 /5 for quality (from 59 ratings), a 2.5 for difficulty, and 100% of students say they would take his classes again. He’s tagged as “caring,” “hilarious,” and “accessible outside of class.” Beyond that, students say that if you want to pass, you’ll have to attend class, which is why they are glad Prof. Edgar teaches clearly and is very helpful and reachable should you need help. CMPT 225 is one of students’ favourites, with there being a lot of time to complete work in class!
Barry Cartwright, Department of Criminal Justice (Surrey Campus):
With an average of 4.2/5 for quality based off of 235 ratings, Prof. Cartwright is a very highly rated Crim prof! 78% of students say they would take his classes again, especially CRIM 101. With an average class difficulty of 2.1, many students say that lectures are easy to follow and are straightforward, making it better to take notes. Top tags include “hilarious,” “skip class? Don’t pass,” and “lecture heavy.” If you take one of Prof. Cartwright’s classes, be prepared to be present and engaged, but have fun while doing so!
Martin Laba, Department of Communications (Vancouver Campus):
While Prof. Laba has only 10 ratings, they rate him highly, with a 4.8 /5 for quality and 2.5 for difficulty. 100% of the students who rated him say they would take his classes again. Most of the ratings are for CMNS 221, and he is reputed to be a great lecturer! If you like engaging conversations and in-class essays as a form of testing, this class might be for you! This class in particular also uses textbooks. One of Prof. Laba’s colleagues, Peter Chow-White, is also high-rated, so feel free to look into his classes further as well! Prof. Laba’s top tags are “amazing lectures,” “inspirational,” and “tests? Not many.”
Irath Syed, Department of Women’s Studies (Vancouver Campus):
Although Prof. Syed doesn’t have a lot of ratings, she has received a 4.3 /5 for quality, with 100% of students saying they would take her classes again. Her classes received an average difficulty of 3.2. Students claim she is knowledgeable, passionate, and gives great lectures (even if they are early in the morning)! If you are interested in Women’s Studies, consider taking GSWS 319. Her tags include “amazing lectures,” “clear grading criteria,” and “inspirational.”
Please note that these ratings and descriptions are purely based on student input from Rate My Professor.
To do more comprehensive and detailed research, start with a class that interests you and look up the Professors who teach each class. You’ll be able to ask on student group chats, especially through social media spaces like Facebook, browse through Rate My Prof, or ask an upper year (if you know one). Don’t wait too long to choose your classes, though, because spots will fill up fast! Make a decision and stick with it. Who knows? You might end up with a really great Prof regardless. You got this!