I am deciding on a last class for my schedule, and I have no idea what to pick! I am not particularly picky about what I study. Instead, I'd rather select my class based on the quality of the professor. Are there any professors I should look out for when choosing my class?
Some of the best professors are showcased in faculty lectures for parents during commencement each year. Go to the Vanderbilt website and search for Commencement 2012, Commencement 2011, etc. and look at some of the offerings for those lectures that are offered on Thursday afternoons of Commencement week. Hopefully, that will give you an idea about some of the professors. There are some professors who have big reputations on campus - Buckles for economics, Geer for political science, Lachs for philosophy (can't believe he is still at it since he is ancient, but long regarded as a super star at Vandy), Folgarait for art history. I'm sure there are others that I'm not aware of.
My son's favorites have been Steve Goodbred for Oceanography in EES; Bruce Oppenheimer, John Geer, and Emily Nacol (the undergraduate teaching award winner this year) for political science; Robert Driskell for economics; Adam Meyer for Jewish Studies (W class); Beau Baca for English (W class); Helmut Smith for German History and Western Civilization; and Mark Dalhouse for history (freshman seminar).
If you have some free time, you can search ratemyprofessor by rankings then look at the teachers and see if they teach any courses you might be interested in. Make sure the professor has several rankings (at least 6 or 7, so skip all the pages that have a perfect 5.0 with 1 ranking), and that they are recent. You can then go into YES advanced search and search for the professor's name.
If you're interested in business/entrepreneurship/marketing, I know offhand that there are tons of highly reviewed professors throughout the Managerial Studies department ("MGRL" in YES). Their classes tend to be pretty easy and very enjoyable.
That's fair, but a professor with high ratings on ratemyprofessor is pretty much guaranteed to be great. You may miss some great profs by using strictly the rankings but you will also find a bunch of great profs.
My D used ratemyprofessor, but she didn't steer clear of tough profs. She does not like disorganized profs, so she stayed away from any profs who were considered disorganized. She liked some profs that were supposedly very difficult - and she got A's from them. Figure out how you learn best, and look for profs whose write-ups indicate that their teaching style fits with your learning style. College is about learning!