Have you ever been sitting in class and zone out because the professor just wasn’t keeping your attention? We’ve all had those teachers who couldn’t capture the room – but we also had those rock star professors who captivated from the moment they swept in the room. But for some lucky students, they may find their professor is literally a rock star. How cool is that? Kind of makes your tuition for that semester – even if a student loan was involved – seem well worth it.
Here’s some rock star college professors for your consideration…
David Macklovitch – half of the Montreal duo Chromeo which is known for its electro-funk dance sound – has a PhD in French literature from Columbia. When he’s not playing his guitar for adoring fans, he’s teaching Intermediate French at Barnard College. Not only is he talented and smart, but he’s a hunk. He’s the case study teacher for “Don’t Stand So Close to Me.” While Sting never taught college, he does have a degree in education, but you have to wonder what inspired that hit song since he only taught elementary school before becoming a rock God. Meanwhile Macklovitch was voted by The Daily Beast as the #1 Hottest Professor.
Steve Miller – after cutting his teeth in other bands with childhood friend Boz Scaggs – his self-named Steve Miller Band would become one of the iconic hitmakers of the 1970s and 80s. The Gangster of Love has been a recurring lecturer as an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California in their music department on the business side of music and he knows his stuff. He negotiated lucrative recording contracts in an age where many musicians were robbed blind and was savvy enough to separate lengthy instrumental intros as separate copyrights to amp up his royalty fees.
Greg Graffin – founder of punk rock band Bad Religion – has degrees in anthropology and geology from UCLA, a master’s in geology and a PhD in zoology from Cornell. He earned his degrees while continuing to rock out. After years of guest lecturing at UCLA, Graffin accepted a three year stint to teach evolution at Cornell. And if Dr. Graffin couldn’t get any cooler, an ancient bird fossil was named after him – the “Qiliania graffini.” Oh, and by the way, he’s still rocking his way through a European tour while he’s not at the lectern.
Brian May – the Queen axeman was voted the 2nd greatest guitar player of all time in 2012 – and serves as the Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University. May returned to academia after years of rock and roll stardom and completed his PhD in astrophysics in 2007. While his role will be more goodwill than classroom time, he is still shining a light on the possibilities of combining the arts with the sciences. Most recently, May has been featured on BBC astronomy programs including The Sky at Night and Stargazing Live.
If you’ve had one of these rock stars in the classroom or at least got to ogle them on campus, count yourself lucky! And while every prof can’t be an international music sensation, there are plenty of professors who are rock stars in the classroom engaging and enlightening students every day. Engaged students are more likely to prosper and less likely to drop out. Hopefully you’ve had some of these stand-out instructors during your college years – I know I have…
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