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40 Under 40: Professors Who Inspire FAQ

Loans, Student Loans

Today’s college students pay a lot of money for their seat in a classroom. With the average student debt load now at $29,400, it’s important to make sure students are getting what they pay for. But, college is about more than just numbers.

Given this, we’re taking a break from talking about scholarships, student loans and financial aid to take a look at the people who are working to make students’ college experiences meaningful: the professors.

Our inaugural “40 Under 40” is not a be-all-end-all list, but rather a celebration of real people doing life-changing work on college campuses across the country. These 40 young professors were nominated based on their ability to captivate students through lectures and class discussions, their availability and willingness to mentor students outside of class hours as well as collaborate on research projects, and their infectious passion for their field.


Read 40 Under 40: Professors Who Inspire



Why professors? 

On-campus experiences, such as having a caring professor who gets you excited about learning, is more important than where you go to college, a recent survey by Gallup and Purdue University found. These types of experiences, where students found a mentor or had an inspirational professor, have a profound effect on determining a person’s well-being after graduation, according to the survey.

“For example, if graduates had a professor who cared about them as a person, made them excited about learning, and encouraged them to pursue their dreams, their odds of being engaged at work more than doubled, as did their odds of thriving in their well-being,” the report states.

Why under 40? 

By tapping into the youngest generation of college professors, we are able to get a glimpse of what the future landscape of higher education looks like. Judging by the impressive work noted in our feature spread, the future of higher learning looks bright.

While we are impressed by the work of professors of all ages, it is all the more impressive when professors can have such a profound effect on students when they aren’t that far out of college themselves.

Why these schools?

We put out the word looking for stories of inspiring professors and received dozens of outstanding nominations. We selected the schools with the professors we believe best embody the values of a captivating and inspiring role model. Do you have a professor you want to nominate for a future “40 Under 40”? Let us know in the comments below, and we’ll be sure to check them out!