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Yolanda Cruz and David Walker Profiled in Princeton Review’s 300 Best Professors

Apr. 11, 2012


The Princeton Review has selected two faculty members for its list of the best undergraduate teachers in the country. Yolanda Cruz, the Robert S. Danforth professor of biology, and David Walker, professor of English and creative writing, are profiled in The 300 Best Professors.

The 300 Best Professors is a joint project of the Princeton Review, the Massachusetts-based education services company known for its test-prep courses, books, and student survey-based college rankings; and, the highest-trafficked college professor ratings site in the United States. The book’s roster of top teachers features professors in more than 60 fields from 122 colleges and universities across the nation. The complete list is available online at

Cruz’s research focuses on reproduction and embryonic development in marsupials.  One of the reasons Cruz likes to study marsupials, such as possums, is because much of the fetal development occurs outside of the uterus after the baby is born, making the research much more accessible. She teaches advanced classes in developmental biology, which deals with the intricacies of embryonic development, limb regeneration, and evolution of development at the molecular, cellular, and organismal levels; as well as Epigenetics, a rapidly growing field that investigates non-DNA-mediated hereditary changes. Cruz team-teaches an introductory lab-lecture course, “Organismal Biology,” which concentrates on the structural and physiological features of both plants and animals that permit them to carry out the basics of living. She also offers a writing-intensive freshman seminar called “The Ethics of Biotech.”

Walker’s teaching interests center on 20th-century literature, drama, and creative writing. The courses he regularly teaches include “Crossing Borders” (a first-year seminar), “Modern British and Irish Fiction,” “Shakespeare and the Limits of Genre,” “American Poets Since 1960,” “Contemporary British and Irish Drama,” “Modern Fiction and Sexual Difference,” a class on the fiction of Vladimir Nabokov, and the playwriting workshop in the creative writing program. An Oberlin faculty member for 34 years, this is the sixth year Walker has directed the Oberlin-in-London program, an interdisciplinary study away program that offers students an opportunity to study abroad with Oberlin professors. He also helps administer Oberlin’s admissions blogs.

The selection process for The 300 Best Professors was based on qualitative and quantitative data from survey findings and ratings collected by both the Princeton Review and The professors in the book are not ranked (nor are their colleges ranked), but each professor profiled received high ratings from the students they teach and inspire.

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