Rate My Professors is getting pumped for the unveiling of its annual Top Lists this fall – leading up to its release, RMP will be zeroing in on the profs and departments YOU think are the best of the best. To kick things off, RMP has ranked the top Black Studies professors in the country.
Leading the list is Dr. Kushal Bhardwaj (known to his students as Dr. B), African-American Studies professor at the University of Buffalo (SUNY). Dr. B’s hugely popular, packed-to-capacity course “Hip-Hop and Social Issues” captivates students so much that dozens stick around after class to participate in an informal, voluntary discussion session with Dr. B (sometimes lasting up to 3 hours). That’s dedication!
Users describe the course, which explores African-American studies through the lens of hip-hop, as “groundbreaking” and “the most influential class you will take in your college career.” Former student James Ponzo, UB ’04, says Bhardwaj encourages students to “think critically,” a lesson that “will remain invaluable to us for the rest of our lives.”
Bhardwaj commented on the power of exploring African-American studies through the prism of hip-hop culture:
“Using hip-hop culture to reach and teach students comes directly from the hip-hop on which I grew up. I ask my students: “Is your popular culture making you smarter, or dumber?” I then proceed to show them what made my generation so smart and socio-politically active. Through the lens of hip-hop culture in its four elements, we examine issues of race, class, and gender in an international context.”
Student Jacqueline Bobo, UB ’16, says that she’s achieved “greater social awareness” through her work with Bhardwaj, and commented on the individual attention and support Dr. B gives to his many students.
“Dr. B has been a constant source of encouragement throughout my collegiate career. From his real world advice to continuous cheerleading long after taking his class, Dr. B has been a pillar of support for me as a student.”
Coming in at a close second on RMP’s list is Kenneth Jenkins, Chair of the Africana Studies department at Nassau Community College in Garden City, NY. Students describe Jenkins as an “amazing,” “inspirational” prof with “a lot of knowledge to share.” Users say his classes are “fun and interactive” and that he teaches students to “be more open-minded in their thinking process.”
According to multiple user reviews, Professor Jenkins should consider a second career as a stand-up comic — students say: “he is one funny man”; “I never laughed as much in any class as I did in his”; and “[Jenkins] has a sense of humor that makes your Saturday morning class worth going to.” Not too shabby!
Check out RMP’s full list of top Black Studies Professors (all based on YOUR ratings)!
African-American StudiesUniversity of Buffalo (SUNY)
Africana Studies (Chair)Nassau Community College
African-American StudiesGeorgia State University
African-American StudiesLos Angeles Valley College
Afro-American StudiesHoward University
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