Call it Hollywood or Happy Valley — one group called an aspect of Penn State “famous.”
Penn State was recently named to Unigo’s list of “Top 10 Colleges with Famous Faculty.”
“The caliber of Penn State's faculty is exceptionally high, and students receive a first-rate education from them. Many of our faculty are worldwide leaders in their fields of study and have achieved advancements and accomplishments that have raised their visibility,” Penn State Spokeswoman Jill Shockey wrote in an email.
Over the past 12 months Devin Hughes, vice president of business development for Unigo, said the company has been reviewing the pedigree of educators brought onto campuses. “Famous Faculty” includes not only full-time professors but also guest lecturers and speakers.
Unigo asked current students to vote on the quality of the faculty members, and from these votes and comments on the college’s page, Penn State made the list of colleges with “Famous Faculty,” Hughes said.
“Penn State students were excited to vote and Unigo was happy to give them a voice,” Hughes said.
One of the faculty members mentioned in the rating was professor Michael Mann. Mann teaches meteorology in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences and is the director of the Earth System Science Center, a center for climate research at Penn State.
With his first year seminar usually exceeding capacity, Mann is “famous” at Penn State for his courses on climate change and his book “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars.”
His book received a fair amount of attention at Penn State. Mann gave lectures about his book, which detailed his experience with the climate change debate.
“I talked about my story as someone who became a reluctant public figure in the climate change topic,” Mann said.
Mann said he is honored to receive this type of recognition from his students.
The rating also mentions Sir Roger Penrose who is a visiting professor at Penn State when he is not teaching at Oxford University.
The rating gives credit to Sir Penrose for winning the Wolf Prize for Physics with Stephen Hawking in 1988, the Dirac medal in 1989, and the Copley medal in 2008, according to Unigo. His work in mathematical physics has named his as a “famous” faculty member.
Unigo is a website where current students can review their colleges and rank them among others. The website also allows prospective students to participate in video calls to help them with their college decision, Hughes said.
“[Penn State] students were very effusive in rating their professors,” Hughes said. “Penn State compared to other schools, not only those named on the Top 10 list, ranked very high with their full time faculty members.”