My professors are all extremely well educated (Dartmouth, Princeton, Cal Tech, UChicago) and well accomplished in their fields. They are somewhat distant though, so I became closer with my TA's overall. The TA's are great. Foreign TA's at Wisconsin; however, are the greatest.
So far, in my four semesters at UW, I have been taught by some of the most interesting people I have ever had the privilege of meeting. Oftentimes you learn the most about your professors' personal lives by reading the About the Author on the back of your textbook. That's right, they are not only writing the lectures for your class meetings twice a week, but they have often been widely published in their respective academic community. Last semester I had a professor who had been KNIGHTED in her home country for her work in Physics. But obviously we all want to think that the people we're paying to teach us are brilliant so what else is there that makes a UW professor so special?
The answer: passion. I have had professors literally start tearing up during lecture because they are so moved emotionally by what they are teaching (and the first time this happened was in a history of science class. I know, I didn't get it either). In my first semester of college one of my English professors loved one of the books that we were reading so much that he went home and wrote a song about it on his electric guitar. I kid you not, he came to class the next day and played it for us and sent us all an e-mail with the mp3 file.
There are sometimes concerns that because this is a research institution that your professors are just going to be a bunch of geniuses that don't know how to adequately teach. However, in my experience, these people have been the exception to the rule. Professors here have a commitment to more than just their personal body of work. They are intriguing people that are worth getting to know in office hours over the course of your years here. With so many great minds from all over the globe, it's impossible to leave this campus without gaining a new perspective on life from the hands of a really great professor.
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