Wikimedia CommonsA great professor can bring a dry academic subject to life while educating and inspiring students.
But if you add a level of fame to that mix, students will really pay attention.
From former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Junot Diaz, we found the most famous professors teaching college courses right now.
School: Georgetown University
Title: Mortara Distinguished Professor of Diplomacy in the Walsh School of Foreign Service
Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright teaches international relations at Georgetown University. This semester, she's teaching a course called America's National Security Toolbox once a week to undergraduate students. In the fall, she'll teach the same course to grad students.
She has gotten rave reviews on RateMyProfessors.com. One student wrote that 'She expects a lot and the role-play is challenging, but she is an amazing professor teaching an incredible class.'
School: Wake Forest University
Title: Reynolds Professor of American Studies in the Humanities Program
Dr. Maya Angelou has been teaching at Wake Forest for the past 30 years. The 84-year-old writer has been an Inaugural Poet, civil rights activist, dancer, film producer, playwright, director, and actress, but she is best known for her renowned book 'I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.'
Dr. Angelou is not teaching a full time course this semester, but she offers occasional lectures and talks on campus.
A reviewer on RateMyProfessors.com said that 'She was amazing! She is truly a Renaissance woman. Professor Angelou often began class by speaking in Latin, French, or Arabic. She often shared fascinating stories with the class about her experiences. Her point was simple -- education can come from more than just a college or textbook. I highly recommend this professor.'
School: Yale University
Title: Senior Fellow at the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs at Yale
David Brooks is a columnist for the New York Times and a political and cultural commentator. He has written several books, including the renowned 'Bobos in Paradise.'
This semester, Brooks is teaching a course called 'Humility,' which teaches the concept of humility in works by Homer, Montaigne, and Martine Luther King, Jr.
School: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Title: Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor of Writing in the Writing & Humanistic Studies Department
Junot Diaz is a Dominican-American writer who won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2008 for his novel,The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Diaz teaches several classes at MIT, including genre fiction and writing and reading short stories.
A reviewer on RateMyProfessors.com said that 'Junot is wonderful. He is one of the few professors I've seen here who truly cares about his student's success. Junot is brilliant, and insists that his students create their own brilliance. His class is fun, and helpful, and a breath of fresh air from the dullness that is usually MIT.'
School: Harvard University
Title: Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research
Henry Louis Gates Jr. is a literary critic, scholar, writer and intellectual who is an authority on African-American studies. He was the first African American to receive the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship, and he has hosted several miniseries on PBS.
This semester Dr. Gates is teaching an introduction to African American Studies course.
School: Colorado State University
Title: Professor of Animal science
Temple Grandin, a famous animal rights activist and autism advocate (she has autism), has been teaching animal sciences at Colorado State since 1990.
This semester, she is teaching livestock handling classes to undergrads once a week.
A reviewer on RateMyProfessors.com said 'Professor Grandin is perhaps one of the all time greats. She's very famous world wide for her work with livestock, and for improving treatment of animals- especially cattle. She was born autistic which is what helps her see things from an animals perspective. As a teacher, she is knowledgeable, friendly, confident, and helped me outside of class.'
School: Princeton University
Title: Professor of Economics and International Affairs
Krugman, a renowned author and columnist for the New York Times and a Nobel Prize winner, is teaching two economics classes at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School this semester.
Students on RateMyProfessors.com have said that he is 'a pleasure to actually learn from a true scholar and economic genius' while others have criticised him for being too political.
School: University of Southern California
Title: Adjunct Professor in the School of Cinematic Arts
Famous film critic and historian Leonard Maltin teaches the Film Symposium course at USC. He has written several books on film and has made appearances on the TV show Entertainment Tonight.
Student reviewers on RateMyProfessors.com said that his class is 'easy' but 'fun.'
School: Emory University
Title: University Distinguished Professor in the Department of English in Emory College of Arts and Sciences
Renowned writer Salman Rushdie is a University Distinguished Professor at Emory, which means that he gives an annual lecture on campus and is involved with the Emory Libraries, which houses his archives. He has also taught graduate seminars, lectured in undergraduate classes, hosted film series and participated in numerous campus events.
School: Union Theological Seminary In The City Of New York
Title: Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice
Dr. Cornel West is a famous philosopher, academic, and activist who is best known for his work with the civil rights movement. He's also had roles in The Matrix films.
This semester, he is teaching two courses at Union: The Historical Philosophy of W.E.B. Dubois and the Philosophical Theology of Abraham Joshua Heschel.
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