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Wofford professor selected as one of the best in U.S.

Dr. Charlie Bass featured in Princeton Review's book of 'Best 300 Professors' 
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Dr. Charlie Bass works with one of his students in the laboratory. Bass, who was instrumental in garnering support for the new organic chemistry lab at Wofford, believes that “positive reinforcement helps students gain confidence to become willing to work harder.”
2012-04-03

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Dr. Charles G. (Charlie) Bass, the Dr. and Mrs. Larry Hearn McCalla Professor of Chemistry at Wofford College, has been named one of the country’s best undergraduate teachers by The Princeton Review.
 

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The Massachusetts-based education services company – best known for its test-preparation courses, books and study survey-based college rankings – profiles Bass in its new book, “The Best 300 Professors” (Random House / Princeton Review).

Published today (April 3, 2012), the book is a collaboration of The Princeton Review and RateMyProfessors.com, the highest-trafficked college professor ratings site in the U.S. The book features top professors in more than 60 fields, ranging from accounting to neuroscience to sports management. They hail from 122 colleges and universities across the country. A complete list of the professors is accessible at www.princetonreivew.com/best-professors.aspx.

The profile of Bass notes that he “prefers to go straight to having his students attempt to solve problems.” He says in the book, “That way, I can help them correct misconceptions. I think this is much more effective than watching me solve problems for them.”

Bass believes that “positive reinforcement helps students gain confidence to become willing to work harder,” his profile reads, noting that he “cares deeply” that his students “get it.”

“I will work as hard as I can to help them understand the course material,” Bass says.

Bass receives praise from Wofford’s senior administration for his teaching style and success, and for his commitment to providing the best learning environment for his students.

“A great professor is measured by many things, the success of his former students, among others,” President Benjamin B. Dunlap says. “What is intangible is the deeper sort of lesson – the passionate commitment to learning, endless efforts to enhance one’s mastery, and the recognition that the ultimate purpose of such striving is not mere self-promotion. Charlie Bass teaches all these truths in unforgettable ways, and he embodies them as well.”

Dr. David S. Wood, senior vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college, adds, “Charlie Bass is a marvelous professor dedicated to improving our world through perfecting his craft of teaching at the highest level. He is remarkably committed to our students and our college and sets a high standard for us all.”

Bass also receives credit for working tirelessly to build the new organic chemistry laboratory, dedicated earlier this year to Dr. William P. Cavin, a 1945 Wofford graduate and professor of chemistry from 1946 to 1988.

“Dr. Bass traveled with me to many cities to present the case for support of the new organic lab,” Marion Peavey, senior vice president for development and college relations, says. “Invariably, former Wofford students of his – most of whom are now in the medical profession – would tell me that he was their favorite professor, primarily because of his teaching skills and his willingness to take extra time to help them understand complex problems.

The profile of Bass in “The Best 300 Professors” continues: “All in all, he looks to disarm the common perceptions of the difficulty of orgo (organic chemistry, which Bass teaches), and to make it ‘interesting and fun.’”

One student notes, “Dr. Bass is awesome and makes the incredible pain of learning organic chemistry slightly bearable. Definitely recommended.” Another says, “Organic chemistry is an impossible subject, but his funny personality and perseverance in teaching make you comfortable in trying to learn it.”

Bass credits his wife, Carri, and children, David and Michael with supporting him in his teaching career. "I am blessed to have a very patient wife and children. Their love and support throughout my career have made it possible for me to spend extra time outside of class with my students. Carri in particular has been unbelievably supportive. She is always there when I need her most. Her words of encouragement always lift me up when I need it most."

In its profile of Wofford, the book notes that the college offers “demanding and challenging academics that expand students’ intellectual independence,” a “phenomenal” faculty, and “highly intelligent and extremely effective communicators,” according to undergraduates.

Professors at Wofford “want to help students gain research opportunities,” the book notes, quoting one student: “The fact that professors are the ones that teach the labs speaks volumes.”

The profile continues: “In addition to having a well-connected alumni network, Wofford has great success in placing students in graduate and professional programs.”

Bass received the Roger Milliken Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Science at Wofford in 2006. He also has been recognized numerous times as the Faculty Member of the year by the Panhellenic Council at Wofford and by the Wofford Campus Union. He serves as the pre-dental adviser for the Wofford Student Affairs Committee. He also is the scout adviser to Wofford’s Pi Iota Chapter of Alpha Phi Omega, a national service fraternity.

A graduate of William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Miss., Bass received his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Tennessee. He did post-doctoral research at the University of British Columbia and the Cancer Research Institute at Arizona State University. He has taught at Wofford since 1988.

Bass participated in the Green Chemistry in Education Workshop at the University of Oregon and participates annually at the Dental Day advising conference at the Medical University of South Carolina. He is a member of the American Chemical Society (Organic and Educational Divisions) and the Western Carolinas Division of the American Chemical Society.

The selection of the best 300 professors took into account qualitative and quantitative data from survey findings and ratings collected by both The Princeton Review and RateMyProfessor.com. The professors in the book are not ranked, but each one profiled received high ratings from their important audiences, beneficiaries and critics: the students they teach and inspire.