Princeton Review names Erik Anderson a top professor.
By Christopher Hann
Philosophy professor Erik Anderson says it certainly feels good to be recognized, in a book out this year, as one of the best professors in America. But what really made his day were the laudatory comments from his students. “Because I care about whether my students think they’re getting anything out of my classes,” Anderson says, “To get that kind of feedback is a great thing.”
Anderson is named in The Best 300 Professors, a collaboration between the Princeton Review and the online site RateMyProfessors.com. “His classes are all interactive,” the book reports. “[H]e doesn’t really like to lecture, preferring instead to guide students in engaging with one another.”
Anna-Theresa Keane ’12 would concur. A philosophy major from New York state, Keane took four classes with Anderson, who was also her faculty adviser. She praises his ability to lead captivating discussions of philosophical theory that also manage to stay on point.
“I took his logic class, which is a famously difficult course,” Keane says. “For any kind of problem I had, I could email him with questions. He was always prompt with responses. He’s just very good at finding examples at locations other than philosophical texts that can help illustrate his points. He makes philosophy very approachable.”
Now in his 15th year at Drew, Anderson has been the chair of the three-person philosophy department for the past six years. But in September he’ll step down to assume a distinguished chair for the humanities created by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Over the next four years Anderson will team-teach a series of courses, including four-course sequences in history and in comparative humanities.
“The most exciting thing to do is watch your colleagues teach,” Anderson says of his new gig. “I get to do art, science and philosophy—my favorite things. What’s not to like?”
Drew honored three faculty members this year for teaching, guided by student comments.
Caspersen School of Graduate Studies
Laura Winters Affiliate associate professor, English literature
“She knows when to encourage, when to guide and when to challenge.”
College of Liberal Arts
Seung-Kee Lee Associate professor, philosophy
Students say he is “a great human being and professor,” not to mention “the best person ever.”
J. Terry Todd Associate professor, American religious studies
“No one can sit through [his] classes without feeling thoroughly connected to the history of the church.”