Top 10: Professors

Jan. 17, 2014, 12:26 a.m.

1. Tobias Wolff M.A. ‘78 (English)
Professor of the acclaimed Thinking Matters Class, Think 7: Journeys, and an instructor in the Stegner Fellowship Program, Wolff is perhaps best known for his own writing. In addition to being an award-winning author, however, Wolff is a passionate and engaging lecturer, and students clamor to get into his classes.

2. Mehran Sahami ‘92, M.S. ‘93, Ph.D. ‘99 (Computer Science)
Sahami currently teaches CS 106A: Programming Methodology, a staple for even non-techies, bringing a strong sense of enthusiasm — he throws candy with a sling shot – to his classes.

4. Condoleezza Rice (LINDA CICERO/Stanford News Service)

3. David Kelley M.S. ‘77 (
Founder of the design firm IDEO and a number of other companies, Kelley was integral to the creation of Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design — otherwise known as the

4. Condoleezza Rice (Political Science)
As a former Stanford provost and U.S. secretary of state, Rice’s inclusion on this list is a no-brainer. But beyond her accolades, Rice’s classes are dynamic, fast-paced and highly cerebral, challenging her students to think critically about some of the world’s toughest foreign policy dilemmas.

5. Mark Applebaum (Music)
Acclaimed experimental musician and associate professor of music composition, Applebaum teaches the wildly popular and unorthodox Music 8A: Rock, Sex and Rebellion.”

6. R.B. Brenner (Communication)
Deputy Director of the Journalism Program and a former editor for the Washington Post, Brenner brings excitement and innovation to his communication classes, an impressive feat given the current state of the journalism industry.

7. Alexander Nemerov (Art & Art History)
In addition to his famous pedigree (he’s the son of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Howard Nemerov and nephew of photographer Diane Arbus), Nemerov is one of the leading American art historians in the country. It’s no surprise, then, that his lectures are filled with both students and community members eager to get a taste of his fascinating insights.

8. Jim Campbell M.A. ‘83 Ph.D. ‘89 (History)
A favorite in the humanities, Campbell delivers captivating lectures and “talks like most people write,” as one student said, about all aspects of American history.

9. Adam Tobin ‘93 (Art and Art History)
Formerly a Hollywood producer, Tobin is a lecturer in film and media studies who specializes in screenwriting. Under his tutelage, Stanford is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with as an incubator for the entertainment industry.

10. Jerry Cain M.S. ‘98 (Computer Science)
Instructor of the notorious — but rewarding — CS107, Cain is an intelligent and dynamic professor who is skilled at conveying difficult concepts in an approachable, real-world way.

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