Hot for teacher

ABC’s new reality television show “Are You Hot?” touts itself as a search for America’s “sexiest people.” A Web site now is bringing that phenomenon to college campuses — in the form of a search for the best-looking profs.

With 613,822 ratings on 143,953 professors from 2,800 schools as of Tuesday evening, Ratemyprofessors.com ranks as the largest online database of professor ratings. Much like Northwestern’s Course and Teacher Evaluation Council, it allows students to rate professors on difficulty, helpfulness and clarity. Students also can add a chili pepper icon if they think a professor is “hot.”

As of Tuesday, 27 NU professors, mainly from the engineering and psychology departments, were listed on the site. Each averaged one or two evaluations from a total of 35 students.

Five current NU professors received a chili pepper icon: history Profs. Peter Carroll and Peter Hayes, engineering Prof. Timothy Carroll, law Prof. Stephen Presser and Kellogg Prof. Alvaro Sandroni. Psychology Prof. Kelly Minor also nabbed a chili pepper, but she no longer teaches at NU.

Carroll, the engineering professor, said neither the Web site’s ratings nor the chili pepper label would affect his teaching style.

“I pay more attention to the CTECs,” he said. “They’re a little more applicable, and I don’t think (the site) would do anything CTECs doesn’t already do.”

Music Prof. Robert Hasty, who is listed on the site but without a chili pepper, laughed when he heard about the rating system.

“(The site) sounds a bit unprofessional to me if it gets into categories (like sexiness) that don’t relate to actual teaching,” he said. “I find more value in getting everybody to respond and participate and having direct contact with the students.”

But Weinberg senior Alisha Hudson said the site is useful if not intellectual.

“I definitely think that more girls would take a class if there’s a hot professor who’s also a good teacher,” Hudson said. “It’d be something funny to look at.”