Mathematics professor Jerry West was recently recognized as one of the top professors in America by
Watch student Suzette Philpot discuss how West's trigonometry class made her "enjoy math for a change." 


For the second time in three years, a University of Arkansas – Fort Smith professor has been recognized as one of the highest rated professors by, a popular website that ranks faculty members of universities across the nation.


Dr. Jerry West of Greenwood, assistant professor of mathematics, was ranked the 11th best of 25 professors making the list and was the only faculty member in Arkansas to earn the recognition.

West boasts a five out of five rating on the website based on 49 reviews from previous students. Students tagged him as caring, respected, inspirational and an “amazing” lecturer.


Suzette Philpot of Sallisaw, Okla., a former student of West’s, had long dreaded math classes. But after taking West’s trigonometry class, she started to enjoy math for a change thanks to his cheerful attitude and ability to explain difficult concepts in a simple way.


“He is a phenomenal teacher. He can explain things to you more than one way, and I think that’s very valuable,” Philpot said. “He is determined to know that you understand it, and if you don’t understand it the first time, he makes himself very available for his students.”


“His attitude and his demeanor – students see that,” she continued. “He is one of the happiest, brightest people I know. If it wasn’t math, anything else that he would be doing, it would still show that he loves what he does, and it shows in the classroom. He’s one of those teachers that you don’t forget.”


West began his career in teaching as a teaching assistant while pursuing a master’s degree from Oklahoma State University following a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas – Monticello. After earning his master’s degree, he taught at Lavaca High School while working as an adjunct faculty instructor at UAFS before taking a full-time professor position at the university in 2003.


More than 10 years after becoming a full-time professor, West still finds enjoyment in helping students understand challenging concepts and lessons.


“I like being able to take some internal knowledge I’ve learned and pass it onto students who may or may not have a solid grasp of it yet to give them opportunities to build a solid skillset,” West said. “I love watching their faces when they get a concept that they may not have understood in the past. It’s a good feeling and it feels rewarding to be able to pass on knowledge that I have and share with others.”


Dr. Ron Darbeau, dean of the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, said the recognition was well-deserved.


“The College is very proud of this latest recognition received by Dr. West, but we are not surprised by it,” Darbeau said. “Jerry is an excellent, student-centered instructor. He illustrates the commitment of the college, and the university as a whole, to both student learning and faculty excellence.”


For a full list of the rankings, visit



About the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith


The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith is the premiere regional institution of Western Arkansas, connecting education with careers and serving as a driver of economic development and quality of place in the greater Fort Smith region. Through a small campus, dedicated professors, and the university’s unique bond with its community, students at UAFS are able to do more in the areas they are passionate about, both on- and off-campus, in a way that prepares them for post-graduate success. To find out how you can do more at UAFS, visit


Article and Video by John Post, Director of Public Information
Date Posted: 
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Source URL:
Story ID: