Washington, D.C. – In a stunner Tuesday night, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his Virginia seat to a relatively unknown Republican tea party candidate, David Brat. And in an odd twist of fate Brat will now face off in the general election against Democrat Jack Trammell, a fellow professor at the same college, Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, VA.
Both men are being described as “unknown” – first time politicians now facing-off for the Virginia House seat in the Richmond area. But they aren’t unknown to their students, perhaps the toughest constituency of all. So we went straight to the ultimate source of student opinions about Brat and Trammell, Ratemyprofessor.com.
College students from all over use the site to rate professors and give details about their teaching style, toughness and “hotness.” The students at Randolph-Macon have already determined a winner in this race.
Brat is an Economics professor who has taught a range of classes including Econ 101, Economic Justice and Social Change, and (ironically?) Forecasting the Future.
He has a respectable Ratemyprofesor rating of 3.4 out of 5. For those who use the site to choose classes based on the professors, that’s not low enough to make you change your syllabus but it doesn’t get you too psyched about the class either.
Although his former students have rated him very helpful, he is a stickler for grades and has a chilling 2.5 “easiness” scale, in regards to his grading. But apparently being a stickler for hard work hasn’t deterred all of his students. In at least three of the comments ranging back to 2003 Brat was called “charming.” One student outright said, “At least he’s hot!!”
His teaching style is more debatable. Some comments were glowing: “Great teacher, really cares, great guy, cares even more about what you are doing with your life.”
And others, not so much: “He changed the assignments almost everyday. he [sic] never had set schedule for anything. he was forgetful of quizzes.”
In 2010 one student summed up Brat in probably the best empirical line of thinking ever, “He’s so charming and really knows how to incorporate real world examples to keep the class exciting and relateable [sic]. He change assignments a lot and sometimes it’s unclear what he wants you to do. Plus he’s total eye candy!!”
Brat got a level one chili pepper for “hotness” on the site.
Eye candy though he may be, according to Ratemyprofessor, Brat has a big challenge ahead. Democratic candidate Jack Trammell, a sociology professor and the director of Disability Support Services, has a 4.3 average score, beating Brat by almost an entire grade point.
A former student called Trammell “BEST PROFESSOR EVER!!!!”
The student goes on to say, “I have never had a better professor. He is passionate about what he teaches and makes you want to learn. Take any and every class you can with him. :)”
But in Brat’s defense, the majority of Trammell’s ratings occurred yesterday after the Cantor race was called. So it’s safe to say Trammell had a lot of opportunists in his classes.
The only negative comment on his page, posted Tuesday, was that Trammell is “Unclear, rambles.”
Oh and Trammell got a level one chili pepper too.
So although we can’t forecast the future of the race, it might be fair to predict that these professors are going to be on their best behavior in class this coming semester.