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  • “He Brought In The CEO Of Google,” And 15 Other “Rate My Professors” Reviews About Celebrity Professors – BuzzFeed

 October 15

by Carolina

Is it too late to sign up for Matthew McConaughey’s film class?

If you’ve taken a college course, then you probably know that the professor can make or break a class. A great one can make even the most boring class interesting, but a not-so-great professor can make you daydream about skipping your favorite subject. Rate My Professors, where past students write reviews, is a great way to get a feel for a professor’s vibes before you sign up for their class.

There are a lot of great professors out there, and there are also quite a few celebrities who’ve worked as professors. However, the Venn diagram of great professors and celebrity professors isn’t a circle — so we’re going to look at their reviews.

Here are 16 Rate My Professors reviews from students who took classes from celebrities:


Matthew McConaughey taught the film class Script to Screen at the University of Texas from 2015 to 2019.

Noam Galai / Getty Images for History

He was a visiting professor from 2015 to 2018, and he joined the department of radio-television-film as a professor of practice in 2019. He is also an alum, having graduated from UT with a film degree in 1993.

His class was exactly what you’d expect:


He’s good at his job, but he might be more successful elsewhere:

“[A]mazing professor but I feel like hed [sic] be great at acting.”


Director Spike Lee is a tenured professor at NYU, and he’s also the artistic director of the graduate film program.

Valerie Macon / AFP via Getty Images

Currently, he’s teaching a course for third-year students called Master Series: Directing Strategies.

He has only one review, and it’s as glowing as you’d expect it to be:

“Amazing very helpful, willing to work with you!”


Tyra Banks taught a personal-branding class at the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 2017.

Adrienne Raquel / ABC via Getty Images

Her course was called Project You: Building and Extending Your Personal Brand.

Some students loved her approach:

“Her class is a great introductory course and her personality really draws you into her lectures. If you pay attention and stay ahead on the readings, you will do very well in this course.”

While others probably would’ve benefited more from a grammar class:

“[W]orst professor on campus if you want to fail take her class i do not know if she even have a college degree since celebrities can be anything i would tell her honey stick with modeling that is the only thing your good at.”


Former vice president Al Gore taught journalism at Columbia University in 2001.

Matthias Nareyek / Getty Images for Paramount Pictures

He taught a noncredit class. One of his students told the New York Times, “It’s really a problem to have a professor who’s afraid to say what he thinks.”

Some students did not hesitate to roast him:

“The ‘I’m just a good southern boy’ act really got boring fast. And the guy just can’t let go of the fact that he lost. If you are going to teach, leave your ego at the door! And he was there for like maybe 15 minutes at best and basically taught like it was his [PowerPoint] presentation on [A]n Inconvenient Truth.”

Others were just grateful for the experience:

“Great experience! He wasn’t the best speaker, but having a former Vice President and Presidential Candidate teach easily made me look beyond that and respect him. If he teaches another class, I will definitely take it and would highly recommend it.”


Former CIA director David Petraeus taught international studies at the City University of New York in 2013.

Pier Marco Tacca / Getty Images

At first, he was hired to teach one course for $200,000, whereas other adjunct professors received only $3,000 per course. After protests from faculty, students, and elected officials, his salary was lowered to $150,000, then finally to $1. 

His reviews are surprisingly all pretty good:

“This was an awesome class! Prof. Petraeus is an excellent teacher who brought vast experience and insight into the classroom. We covered a broad range of issues, and he emphasized writing and presentation skills. I highly recommend this course, but you’ll have to work hard to ensure you are prepared for class. A lot of reading is required.”

Granted, the people who took his class and wrote these reviews probably weren’t the ones protesting against him being hired in the first place:

“Best class I’ve taken in my college career. Prof. Petraeus explained complex material in a manner that made it both easy and interesting to learn. He strengthened our understanding of various subjects and encouraged us to think beyond the reading. Overall, he fostered a comfortable, but yet challenging, environment that promoted true learning.”


Film critic and historian Leonard Maltin currently teaches at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

Rich Fury / Getty Images

According to the students, he’s a real gem:

“Really cool professor! A real gem for the USC to have someone as established as him. If you watch every movie, take some notes, and are decent at writing essays you’ll do alright. TAs grade the essays and can be harsh at times, but are generally reasonable. The entire class is based off the 3 essays btw.”

Again, he is a GEM:

“Leonard is a gem. But the TAs aren’t always great. You are basically only graded by attendance (2 absences excused) and essays. The essays were related to the in-class screenings and interviews, but the grades were a bit harsh. But, I either improved through the semester or they lightened up. This class is INCREDIBLE, for film students and everyone.”

But choosing teaching assistants is his tragic flaw:

“Listen, this class is not as great as everybody says it is. The TAs suck every living drop of fun out of it. Maltin’s lectures are distant and boring. It isn’t fun to get out 30 minutes after class is over. I guess if you are a film major it is cool. Take it pass/no pass. It is the luck of the draw who makes As in it. DON’T DO THE READING.”


Author Walter Isaacson is the Leonard A. Lauder Professor of American History and Values at Tulane.

Rosdiana Ciaravolo / Getty Images

Previously, he was the editor of Time magazine and chairperson of CNN.

His students say he’s not like the other celeb professors:

“I’ve had a few ‘famous’ professors who have turned out to be disappointing or bad at teaching. Professor Isaacson, on the other hand, is AMAZING. He loves input from students, and despite having TAs for days, he actually reads students’ assignments and emails, sometimes mentioning a student’s work mid-lecture if it’s relevant or he enjoyed it.”

He has a lot of great connections, too:

“Lowkey famous professor .. he’s amazing & [gives] super intriguing lectures. He brought in amazing guest speakers (we had the CEO of [G]oogle come in). He pre-recorded lectures so you watched them before classs [sic] then when you came to class, it was discussion based or centered around a guest speaker. 10/10.”


And finally, writer Tobias Wolff has been an English professor at Stanford since 1997.

Ulf Andersen / Getty Images

He’s known for books such as Our Story Begins and This Boy’s Life.

A professor with his own Lifetime movie was enough to sell this student on the class:

“[T]hey made a movie about this guy on [L]ifetime and he has a definition on [W]ikipedia.. take him.”

But this review could be the inspiration for a second Lifetime movie:

“I took this class spring 1999. Prof. Wolff was the kindest teacher I’ve ever had; he helped me through a really rough time. He showed me that it doesn’t take much to connect with another human being. I have since graduated and teach English at another college. He is my role model. I will always remember his kindness to me during that time.”

Now it’s your turn! Have you ever been in a class taught by a celebrity, whether it’s a full semester or a brief workshop/master class? What were they like as a professor? Let me know in the comments!

Original posted at www.buzzfeed.com

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