Four Traits of Great Professors

Barry Lenson

Great Professors  What makes for a great professor? Whether you’re taking a class online or in a classroom, here are some traits to look for . . .

  • Current knowledge. If you are taking a science course like Environmental Science, it’s obvious that your professor should be current with the latest trends and research.  But up-to-date knowledge is just as important if you are studying religion, anthropology, or even psychology, where your professor should be aware of the latest theories, trends, and scholarship.
  • Great communication skills. A superior professor needs the ability to listen to questions and answer them. If all a professor can do is spout knowledge, he or she is not doing a good job of cultivating students.
  • Discipline. This is a two-way street. A good professor needs the personal discipline to stay on top of a course schedule and know where students are as they move through the course. But a great instructor also needs to motivate students to stay organized and productive as they take a course.
  • Great interpersonal skills. Good professors have a mix of kindness, humor, flexibility, and other assets. The best of them are also able to inspire students to learn and excel. Some professors are so inspiring, in fact, that they get students to want to follow their lead and major in the subject area they are teaching.  That’s another way of saying that great professors can change their students’ lives.

So as you see, great professors possess a rich mixture of positive skills and abilities. If you’re looking for one who fits that bill, be sure to check out the great professors who are now part of StraighterLine’s Professors Direct faculty.

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