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Recently, the Princeton Review released their list of the colleges with the worst ranked professors in New Jersey. Surprisingly, NJIT ranked number 1 out of all the colleges in the state, stirring quite an emotional reaction from the student body. Many shared the article on social media, citing it either as a validation of all their previous complaints, or as a shocking surprise and slander.
The Princeton Review produces all their rankings based on voluntary student opinion polls, which can cause some controversy. Due to the source of the data, many dispute the accuracy of such statistical measurements, due to the biased nature of the data-gathering process. Studies have shown that people who care to answer opinion polls tend to do so only to voice a disgruntled opinion, meaning such polls are skewed negatively in any given situation, especially one such as this.
After the ranking was released, NJIT’s Associate Vice President, Denise Anderson, had this response: “As one of only 32 polytechnic universities nationally, our curriculum can be quite challenging. The results — an average of nearly three job offers in hand by graduation with average starting salaries that exceed the national average by roughly 18 percent — speak to the quality of education and preparation our students receive.”
On campus opinion of the ranking results is mixed, with some students feeling that it validates their own concerns. Brian Lopez, a senior IT student, said: “It depends on the professors. I can’t say that every single professor at NJIT is terrible. There are a few exceptions. However, in general, they only know the material, not how to teach it.” He shares this view with many outspoken students, as evidenced by the results of the Princeton Review ranking.
However, not all students shared this view. When asked if he agreed with the ranking, Kevin O’Connor, a third year Chemical Engineering student, said: “No, because I think students will often rate hard professors as being bad professors, when sometimes they’re bad students. And NJIT isn’t full of bad professors, it’s full of tough professors. If you work hard, and you study hard, and work with them, you’ll find out how good they really are.” This echoes the same principles espoused by the Associate Vice President in her response to the ranking.
It is true, NJIT is a challenging university with advanced and difficult curricula. The professors are thus given a much harder task than their counterparts at other academic institutions throughout the state. This, coupled with the unreliable nature of the ranking’s data, makes for a shaky ranking at best. However, with so many students citing their professors as unhelpful or inept, it is a shocking and somewhat alarming message which should give the university pause. Perhaps there is an issue that needs fixing, and it may lie with the professors.