What students first notice about Ruth Yeazell is her intelligence. It is not an intelligence that intimidates, but rather it magnetizes students and challenges them to develop their own knowledge and intellectual skills. Yeazell blends rare qualities: rigor humor, thoroughness, liveliness, preparedness and spontaneity. Her exacting professionalism inspires admiration, hard work and emulation in a great number of her students, which is evidenced by the fact that she is this year’s recipient of the coveted Harvey L. Eby Award for the Art of Teaching.
Yeazell’s seminars have won special praise. Professor William Kaula, who teaches in the earth and space sciences department, having once read Henry James’ novels in foxholes, audited Yeazell’s graduate course on the English novel and concluded that she has “the three essentials of a great teacher: knowledge of her subject, skill and articulateness in presenting it and concern for her students.”
Other more traditional students have made similar laudatory remarks. Many used the word “compassionate” to describe Yeazell’s attitude toward her students; all mentioned her intellect. One student said, “One a scale of one to nine, Professor Yeazell is a perfect 10 – one of the most impressive people I have ever met.” Another said, “I wish every class could inspire me to read like this one did. Dr. Yeazell is the most well-informed, prepared, thought-provoking professor that I have encountered here. If she has any weaknesses, I don’t know what they are. Give us more like her, please.”