Higher Education

| June 1, 2009

Great Teaching Can Still Be Found

As George Leef points out, many professors are too preoccupied with "research" to be bothered with niggling chores like teaching undergraduates.

But all is not lost. OU classics professor J. Rufus Fears has racked up 25 awards for outstanding teaching, and he's not done yet. (Dr. Fears also serves as the Dr. David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow for Freedom Enhancement at OCPA.) Listen to what Kyle Harper-then an OU student, now an OU professor himself-had to say in the October 2000 issue of Perspective ("Popular OU Classics Professor Committed to Liberty"):

"Recall the scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where Harrison Ford, a professor of archaeology, fights his way into his office through a sea of waiting students. That's about the only analogy to the scene in the Old Science Hall on the University of Oklahoma campus on August 22, the second day of fall classes. Nearly one hundred students crowded into the hall of the basement of one of the oldest buildings on campus, as they formed a line which wrapped up the stairs and out the door. This collection of students had just heard a standing-room-only lecture in a packed classroom, then raced across campus through the scorching heat to stand in line. All had gathered hoping to get the elusive ‘pink slip'-permission to enroll in the class of OU's legendary Dr. J. Rufus Fears.
"This occurrence has become something of a semesterly event. Each semester the lucky enroll in Dr. Fears's class, and those who don't make it come to the first class hoping to get lucky and finagle a pink slip. There's nothing else like it: it's truly an OU phenomenon. More remarkable, the subject matter doesn't seem too appealing at first: the course is called ‘Freedom in Greece.' OU students have no abnormal preoccupation with the Grecian world, and no one is required to take the course. It's certainly not an easy class; a quick look at the grades shows this course isn't the victim of grade inflation. These factors make the real explanations for the course's fantastic and unbelievable popularity even more interesting."

To learn more about this great teacher, visit:

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