Something of a legend in the Dartmouth Econ Department (a commonly traded tale – of questionable veracity – notes that an “A” in Kohn’s class translates into an instant job offer on Wall Street), Kohn is the maestro of Economics 26, a.k.a. “Money for Dummies.” He is one of the most feared professors at Dartmouth, and his classes, conducted in an intense Socratic question-and-answer format, force students to analyze economic questions at a level above simply parroting back textbook information. Ask him sometime about his experiences on an Israeli kibbutz.
One of the most popular in the department and a Dartmouth alumnus to boot, Professor Christesen is also the most popular advisor to Classics majors. And his lectures provide compelling evidence for the importance of classics; he has a firm grasp on the value of understanding Western Civilization’s development. Christesen is a wise choice for beginning or continuing any liberal arts education. Listening to his lectures, one gets the impression that Christesen has tailored his lessons for challenging and interesting the specifically undergraduate mind. (We mean that in a good way.)
P. David Lagomarsino—History
Perhaps the best professor in a department full of gems, Lagomarsino has won practically every award the College offers for teaching. For Professor Lagomarsino, every lecture is a command performance, and he always lives up to expectation. Imperial Spain is his forte, but he has a thorough knowledge of early modern Europe and doesn’t hesitate to share it with his students. Not afraid to buck the trends of political correctness or conventional wisdom, he teaches that the Inquisition was more just than most judicial procedures of its time. Even if you’re not a major, Lagomarsino is not to be missed.
Marlene Heck—Art History
Professor Heck is one of Dartmouth’s most beloved professors. Her classes in the Art History department stand out for their ability to contextualize art, architecture, history and culture in their time, weaving each together to give a complete picture. Her class on American architecture (Building America) is a must-take, as is her Writing 5 course on the Founding Fathers. Professor Heck’s passions for America’s origins, Thomas Jefferson, and colonial architecture are infectious. Professor Heck and her art history classes will change the way you look at the world.
Professor Bickel is a fantastic but often underappreciated member of the biology department. A geneticist and cell biologist, she studies meiotic sister chromatid cohesion using Drosophila (the fruit fly) as a model organism and is deeply passionate about her research. In lecture, she meticulously deconstructs complex topics with characteristic Midwestern charm. If you have time, ask her about her cat, Buddha.
Professor Muirhead is one of those rare teachers of political philosophy who can argue with equal passion for the merits of Locke, Rousseau, Mill, and Marx. He is fair-minded and highly skilled at structuring the West’s big ideas in ways that are relatable to anybody. Each of his lectures will leave you with a whole new take on broad, fundamental concepts. It’s not for nothing that, as a young up-and-comer at Harvard, Muirhead won a prize for the best teaching on campus. No matter what your major or interests are, you won’t go wrong with his classes.
Erich Osterberg – Earth Sciences
Professor Osterberg is a relative newcomer to Dartmouth, but many already consider him to be one of its best professors. A fantastic lecturer with an impressive ability to link the sociopolitical with the scientific, he teaches the ever-popular EARS 002 each winter. If you need a SCI distribution credit, Professor Osterberg is not to be missed.
Every aspiring economics major must past through Econ 1 at some point in their Dartmouth career, and there is no better instructor to do it with than Professor Curtis. With a style that some have referred to as “motherly” and “nurturing,” she brings the dry technicalities of the price system to life with humorous anecdotes and explanations. Should you have a question outside of class time, have no fear: when she’s not preparing the next day’s lecture or leading Dartmouth’s Fed Challenge team in competition, she is one of the most available and helpful faculty members around. If Econ 1 is in your future, Professor Curtis is not to be missed.
Professor Will provides a savvy, critical analysis of postmodern literature without getting bogged down in the jargon of literary theory. Her teaching style is refreshingly straightforward, and she has the rare talent of making dull-seeming topics interesting.
A leader in one of Dartmouth’s fastest growing departments, Wright is known for his ability to facilitate challenging discussion and offer dazzling lectures. A British native, he is an expert on immigration, migration and mixed-racial geographies. Rumor has it that Wright brings gelato to one of his lectures in his Economic Geography course to structure a class discussion.
The department’s resident expert on China, the incredibly knowledgeable Professor Crossley is also an authority on methods in global history, a fluent speaker of East Asian languages (including Manchu!), and a developer of educational software. She is famously strict with her classes—students must reserve comments and questions for the end of the period rather than interrupting lectures; she guards her coveted “A” grades closely; and relentlessly quizzes students on their knowledge of the reading during discussions – but those willing to work hard find that watching Professor Crossley lecture without notes, all-the-while with flawless Chinese terms and drily humorous asides, makes the whole thing worth it.
Melanie Benson-Taylor—Native American Studies
Professor Benson-Taylor is one of the most talented professors Dartmouth has to offer. She is open to any idea or interpretation of the books discussed in her classes and works tirelessly with students to help them understand the material and create the best papers possible. She is constantly available to her students and is a brilliant scholar in her own right. Any student of hers will feel like her top priority. Furthermore, her in-class lectures suggest unique and eye-opening interpretations of both literature and history.
Professor Beasley specializes in seventeenth century France, and teaches courses focusing on salons, the Enlightenment, and the intersection of literature and history. She teaches everything from introductory courses to senior seminars and is always known to devote personal attention to each student, both during discussions and while editing papers. She almost always invites students to her home for a meal and to meet her family. No student interested in French should miss a class with Beasley.
After the anti-WTO protests in Seattle, Irwin took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to defend WTO trade policies and criticize then-President Bill Clinton for “caving in to pressure from labor interests.” Irwin is an undeniable expert in free trade, having quite literally written the book that is used for trade economics courses at Dartmouth. Not only is he blessed with technical expertise, but he is also an engaging and passionate teacher.
Professor Greenberg is one of the history department’s rising stars and a perennial favorite of majors and non-majors alike. Although his area of specialty is late nineteenth and early twentieth century German history, his courses on the Second World War, Nazism, and the European intellectual tradition are not to be missed. A demanding teacher who is wont to assign long blocks of reading for each class, he holds his students to a high standard, but with good reason: it is impossible come away from a term with Professor Greenberg without an intimate understanding of the material presented. For this reason, more than one Reviewer has referred to his courses as “life changing.”
As a lecturer in the Writing and Rhetoric Institute, Professor Kalish consistently ranks among undergraduates’ favorite teachers. A member of the Class of 1991 and an expert on constitutional law and the first amendment, she brings an unparalleled level of expertise to each lecture and inspires some of the best debates on campus with her question and answer-style. Her class on the Supreme Court in American Society is considered by many to be the best Writing 005 course available, but prospective students beware: it fills up quickly. If you can’t get off the waiting list, consider taking her class on writing and speaking in public policy come spring.
Dr. Witters is a slightly eccentric, very engaging professor in the Biology Department. One can be sure to find him weaving in allusions to history, art, and literature (one Reviewer recalls an extended metaphor comparing solving problems in endocrinology to the sleuthing techniques of Sherlock Holmes) through his lectures; he is also available to provide avuncular advice on life, the universe, and on how to best pursue a pre-med track at the College. Biology students (as well as those thinking of taking BIOL 002 as a distrib) could do much worse than learning from Professor Witters, and many have (see Sloboda, Roger in the Worst Professors list).
An expert in theoretical chemistry who did his post-doc with Nobel laureate J.A. Pople, Ditchfield is one of the chemistry department’s most senior and respected scholars. He knows every student’s name by the first day of class, holds frequent and helpful office hours, and explains challenging concepts in quantum chemistry with great thoroughness and clarity. Anyone interested in CHEM 006 or 076 should choose to take it with this jovial British professor. Feel free to ask him about British tea.
Katherine Hornstein—Art History
A relatively new member of the Dartmouth family, Professor Hornstein has already garnered a loyal following. While her broader field of study, French art and media of the nineteenth century, seems fairly standard, her specialties are surprising. Her work in military art history and academic art is unique in the art history community. Her quirky, passionate teaching style converts those who seek only the art distributive requirement into lifelong enthusiasts and seamlessly blends art into its historical context. Her zeal for teaching is not limited to the classroom, and she is known for her excellent fieldtrips and community involvement. After a class with Hornstein, you will never see a museum in the same way again.
Professor Li is widely praised for the vast amount of knowledge he brings to his classes. He evinces an incredible grasp of the logistics of English and its interactions with Mandarin in his classes, which range from beginner to advanced Chinese. While the Chinese track is notorious for hitting students with a torrent of information to memorize, Li finds ways of making it manageable.
Examining Professor Herron before the first Government 10, Intro Statistics class, I was unsure what to expect. Tall and lanky, Michael quickly won over the classroom with his warm, if slightly gawky, demeanor. He keeps student’s engaged with a Socratic-style teaching method that uses in-class Q and A to drive lectures. Herron’s passion for his work—as it pertains to both the education and statistical realms—makes attending his lectures an eagerly awaited treat rather than a chore. Organized and communicative, there was nothing more I could have asked for when learning the principles of statistics.
The wife of another excellent Dartmouth Professor, Professor Gaposchkin has a love for medieval history that rubs off on her pupils. Her lectures are captivating and informative. More importantly, her classes provide students with the skills needed to be successful outside of academia. She makes every attempt possible to meet individually with her students, in whom she takes both an academic and a personal interest. She does not just demand excellence, but she provides each individual with the feedback necessary to develop and improve analytical abilities. She embodies the ideals of a liberal arts education, and her classes are a must for any student wanting to get the most out of his or her Dartmouth experience.
Gordon Gribble is the second most senior faculty member in the entire College, and his experience shows. Having authored close to 400 papers and taught organic chemistry for nearly fifty years, he is incredibly entertaining and trollish in class, expertly covering not only the curriculum but also “special topics” such as chemical warfare and insect chemical defenses. A former consultant for the Pentagon on chemical weapons, he once held secret-level security clearance. Gribble is a modern Renaissance man, and many faculty describe him as “a walking encyclopedia.” Indeed, he knows everything there is to know about chess, winemaking, and the Civil War in addition to organic chemistry. He has also reportedly claimed that he will only stop teaching when he drops dead, so we hope that he will be here for some time to come. Try not to be intimidated by the fact that his Chem 52 class has two syllabi, both over a hundred pages
Michael Lurie is an excellent up-and-coming professor in the Classics department. An expert in Greek theatre and intellectual history, Professor Lurie’s lectures are theatre themselves: they are highly entertaining and his enthusiasm is infectious. Professor Lurie is an original thinker who encourages his students to critically analyze existing classical scholarship. He does not hesitate to lavish praise on or ruthlessly criticize the opinions of venerated classicists. His lectures will change your perspective while deepening your capacity to think critically. The Review highly recommends his courses, which represent the best the liberal arts have to offer.