Forbes names UA professor top in the country

Forbes+names+UA+professor+top+in+the+country

Camille Studebaker

For a while now, the criminology and criminal justice department has been joking that the department is experiencing the “Doug Klutz effect.” Klutz, an instructor in the criminal justice department, teaches CJ100, Intro to Criminal Justice. Two years ago, CJ100 did not offer enough seats, so Klutz offered to bump his class lecture up from 250 students to 400. 

Two years later, the amount of criminal justice minors, which is usually a stable number, has doubled. Lesley Reid, criminology and criminal justice department chair, attributes this growth of minors to Klutz offering larger classes. 

Klutz has not only impressed his students and colleagues, he recently caught the attention of Forbes. Just over a week ago, Klutz was named top professor in the nation in a Forbes article based on ratemyprofessor.com statistics. 

He has received 319 student ratings  on ratemyproffesor.com, sports a 5.0 rating, and a 100 percent “would take again.”

These ratings come with a multitude of positive comments such as, “I love this man! He helped me find my passion in life. If you have the option, take him,” “I mean what’s to say that hasn’t been already said? He’s so down to earth and his lectures are fantastic! He really makes sure that you know your rights as a citizen” and “LEGEND.”

“It was an honor in terms of the students recognizing me in terms of enjoying my class,” Klutz said.

Klutz found out about the recognition when he checked his email before his 9:30 a.m. class. LinkedIn sent him a link of the Forbes article. Ratemyprofessor.com notified him in advance that he might be on their top 25 professors list, which he has made before, so he expected the link to be related to that.

“So it was a very pleasant surprise,” he said.

Klutz said he tries to keep things as clear as possible in his class, with no hidden agenda. If students show up to his class and put in effort, they will be fine.

“I always say on the first day of class that ‘there are no tricks to my class,’” he said. “It’s pretty much if you show up and attend lectures and you’re actively engaged, you’re not sleeping in your seat, then you’re going to do well in the class and that’s a large part of life— showing up and putting in the time, putting in the effort, and if you do that, you’re going to be ahead of the game, so to speak.”

Reid said Klutz’s ability to teach such large classes makes him stand out because the instructor has to really know the material, and not every professor is fit for that environment.

“What really makes his teaching stand out is he just has that unique ability and that skillset and knowledge base to really be effective in big classes, and that’s something that most of us don’t have,” she said.

Reid said Klutz definitely deserves the recognition because he is always willing to go above and beyond.

Klutz said Intro to Criminal Justice is always an interesting topic to students because there is always something pertinent happening in the criminal justice system. Television shows and movies also draw students to his class. 

Students come from all different backgrounds and the majority of them are not criminal justice majors, so it is usually their first time in a criminal justice class, which Klutz said he enjoys.

“I reach a lot of students who have very little prior knowledge of their rights or these big issues in our criminal justice system, and then I think they’re very appreciative that we cover this information,” he said.

Klutz tries to keep his teaching relevant to the real world as much as possible and always stresses citizens’ rights because he said very few students know the Bill of Rights on the first day of class.

“Being able to directly apply things from class I think keeps it interesting,” he said.

He breaks down famous media cases in the class, such as Casey Anthony and O.J. Simpson, where media reached a verdict before the jury did. He also talks about white-collar criminal cases that many students do not know have affected them. He said he thinks all of these topics draw students’ interests in class.

“I think [Klutz] has the perfect mix of being challenging, being interesting and being a little entertaining,” Reid said. “So it all comes together to really be engaging to students.”

Reid said he hears about Klutz’s class from many people, and her favorite comments are when faculty members who have children who are students here say that their child told them how much they learned in Intro to Criminal Justice.

“[His recognition] is a great honor to the department, and I think it’s just one little indicator of some of the good things that are going on in our department,” Reid said.