What Dave Brat’s economics students think of his teaching

June 11, 2014
June 11, 2014
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In this combination of Associated Press photos, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., left, and Dave Brat, right, react after the polls close Tuesday, June 10, 2014, in Richmond, Va. Brat defeated Cantor in the Republican primary. (AP Photo)
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., left, and Dave Brat, right, react after the polls close Tuesday, June 10, 2014, in Richmond, Va. Brat defeated Cantor in the Republican primary.(AP Photo)

The ouster of US house majority leader Eric Cantor by a little known economics professor based in Ashland, Virginia has political analysts, media and voters scrambling to understand just who Dave Brat is. We know that he’s backed by the Tea Party, and is staunchly against comprehensive immigration reform, as well as NSA surveillance programs, but not a whole lot else.

But surely his students at Randolph-Macon College, a small liberal arts school outside of Richmond, Virginia, where he’s been teaching since 1996, can offer some perspective. According to student review site ratemyprofessors.com, Brat scored 3.5 out of 5 in terms of overall quality, which earns him a rating of “average.”

The comments range from discussing his appearance (“At least he’s hot!!”) to terse assessments of his overall style (“SOLID”) paint a picture of a smart and charismatic but disorganized teacher. Here are a few of the highlights:

“Dr. Brat is unparalleled in his knowledge, guidance with learning, caring about his students, and his ethics. He relates all content to real world scenarios and encourages healthy participation in class.”

“Off subject often.”

“He’s so charming and really knows how to incorporate real world examples to keep the class exciting and relateable. He change assignments a lot and sometimes it’s unclear what he wants you to do. Plus he’s total eye candy!!”

“Not a great teacher. Great guy, but almost too smart to teach.”

“He changed the assignments almost everyday. he never had set schedule for anything. he was forgetful of quizzes.”

“Its only after you have left and begin to use or further the economic background that Prf Brat has provided that you truly understand how effective he was. One of the best teachers I have had.”

“He drills the material into your head; will seriously say the same thing in about 10 different ways to make sure you get it. Not that hard.”

If student assessment of his teaching skills is any indicator of his election chances in November, Brat may be in trouble. His Democratic opponent, Jack Trammell, also happens to be a teacher at the same university—he’s an associate professor of sociology, specializing in disability issues—and has a rating of 4.3.

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