Worst Professors

Reiko Ohnuma — Religion

Professor Ohnuma, a specialist in South Asian Buddhism, makes the list for one reason: some ridiculously thoughtless posts she put on her public Facebook profile in 2008. In a status update, she recounted how she was using Wikipedia to hastily put together a lecture. “Where is Wikipedia when you really need it? The Wikipedia article on modernity SUCKS. [emphasis Professor Ohnuma’s]” Then, “Yeah, I saw that page already. Thank f****** God for the Internet.” Strong language for a Religion professor. To a friend she then said, “I’m now going to shamelessly plagiarize your language.” The very next day she publicly bragged, “Reiko faked it with aplomb.” Remarkably, this supposed scholar is still teaching at the College.

Roger Sloboda — Biology

Professor Sloboda is “so bad that I changed my major,” one student reports. He’s known for his meandering lectures, telling students the opposite of what he means, and emphasizing unimportant details in class; many leave his classroom dazed and frustrated. Students in his courses learn the basics of cell biology by appealing to the TA rather than by stopping by Professor Sloboda’s office hours. His team-taught BIOL 011 class (The Science of Life) was termed the worst at Dartmouth.

Dorothy Wallace — Mathematics

Professor Wallace may be the worst mathematics teacher that our contributors have ever encountered. This particular department is famous for picking professors far more interested in research than in lecturing, but Professor Wallace is beyond even that excuse. In MATH 023: Differential Equations, the department combined two sections together so that she would only have to lecture once. But of the seventy students, few ever knew what was going on. Often, she would wander into class late with a frazzled look on her face and then struggle to get through the class period. A frequent feature of said lectures was students pointing to simple mathematical errors, which would lead to minutes of silence as Professor Wallace puzzled through how to resolve the mistake. Thanks to her confusing and often impossible assignments riddled with typos, dozens of students would spend the wee hours in Novack, hurriedly rushing between tables, attempting to see if anyone knew how to solve the problems. It got so bad that the befuddled TA had to begin walking through students through each problem during office hours, essentially giving them the answers. Her classes are a truly unfortunate experience for any student interested in pursuing mathematics.

Joseph Bafumi — Government

Professor Bafumi is not a bad teacher. He’s just incredibly easy. He covers material at a very shallow level, particularly in his elections class, which tends to focus more on reading RealClearPolitics than on any particular academic literature. Of course, few of the athletes or Greek members who crowd his classes actually do the reading. During one particular section, Professor Bafumi had to threaten and finally institute reading quizzes simply because he grew tired of the dull and uncomprehending faces that stared back at him during each lecture. If you are looking for a fairly easy course, then Professor Bafumi’s unassuming and happy-go-lucky style may be perfect for you. Given Dartmouth’s ever-increasing price tag, however, this appears to be a foolish decision.

Phil Hanlon— Mathematics

Though we certainly appreciate the effort President Hanlon puts in to spend time teaching students, those who have had the misfortune of actually sitting through his Math 11 class can testify to his ceaseless lethargy. As a testament to this, his lectures are often affectionately referred to as “Moving Dartmouth Boreward.” One source recalls visiting his office hours only to be drowned out by a squad of protesting scoundrels who threatened President Hanlon with “physical action” if he didn’t meet their demands.  Rumors of the hard alcohol ban being violated in his classroom remain unsubstantiated.