Bommelje Listed Among "The Best 300 Professors"

April 19, 2012

Rick BommeljeAssociate Professor of Communication Rick Bommelje was named as one of “The Best 300 Professors” by The Princeton Review and

The Best 300 Professors is a project that The Princeton Review teamed up with—the highest-trafficked college professor ratings site in the U.S.—to develop. The book’s roster of top teachers features professors in more than 60 fields ranging from accounting to neuroscience to sport management. They hail from 122 colleges and universities across the nation. View a complete list of the professors.

“I am humbled to be included in The Best 300 Professors,” said Bommelje. “It has been both a privilege and honor for me to teach at Rollins over the years and to spread the message of listening leadership."

Bommelje has more than 30 years of professional experience in leadership, supervision, management, and adult education. He is the former chair of the Department of Communication at Rollins and currently serves as the president of the International Listening Association. With a master’s degree in management and a doctorate in administration, and advanced leadership study at Harvard University and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, he specializes in the development of listening and leadership. In 2006, he received the International Listening Association’s “Outstanding Teacher of Listening” Award.

“Rollins College has a long, proud tradition of great teaching, and we are very pleased that Rick Bommelje has received national recognition for his work with Rollins students,” said Rollins President Lewis M. Duncan. “Rick models the discipline he teaches and is a listening leader in the classroom and the Rollins community.”

In his listening and leadership courses at Rollins, Bommelje gives students the space to experience the learning dynamic from their own perspective, and challenges them to stretch outside of their comfort zone into the discomfort zone. The Listening course was created by Bommelje 20 years ago and comes from his own mistakes in life.

“I was not listening effectively, professionally or personally. I set out on a journey to improve, and in the process, several years later was invited to develop the course at Rollins. I have learned firsthand that teaching is one of the highest forms of learning,” he said.

Among the many innovative practices offered in the course, he establishes listening “circles” in which four to five students have a conversation about a “third thing” for a specified period of time (a “third thing” could be a story, video clip, poem, painting—anything that could have a voice of its own). Upon conclusion of the session, other students identify specific behaviors that they observed in the dynamic dialog.

“The learning comes in many different ways and to make it stick, I use a four-step system: commit, know it, do it, be it,” he said.

In courses such as Listening (which is the study of the art of listening and its importance in our personal and professional lives), Self-Leadership and Communication, and Leadership, Film, and Communication, he establishes well-defined goals and creates a shared space in which multi-level teaching and learning occurs.

“This man changed my life,” commented one student. “He’s not warm and fuzzy—but he’s very fair and an incredibly good, inspirational teacher. He not only teaches the course content but he gives you life lessons that will stay with you forever.”

The selection process took into account qualitative and quantitative data from survey findings and ratings collected by both The Princeton Review and The professors featured in the book are a truly select group: from an initial list of 42,000 professors considered, the final group of “best” professors chosen constitutes less than .02 percent of the roughly 1.8 million post-secondary teachers instructing students at colleges and universities across the U.S. The professors in the book are not ranked (nor are their colleges ranked in this book), but each professor profiled received high ratings from their most important audiences, beneficiaries, and critics: the students they teach and inspire.

How The Professors Were Chosen

The Princeton Review and annually collect data from students at thousands of colleges across the country (and abroad) about their classroom experiences and assessments of their professors. For this project, The Princeton Review culled an initial list using its surveys of hundreds of thousands of students that revealed the colleges at which students highly rated their professors’ teaching ability and accessibility. Data from identified more than 42,000 professors at those schools that students had rated on its site. Combining this info, a base list of 1,000 professors was formed. After obtaining further input from school administrators and students, as well as from Princeton Review's surveys of the professors under consideration, the editors of The Princeton Review made the final choices of the professors they profile in the book.

By Lauren Bradley

Office of Marketing & Communications
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