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The best professors come to class organized and humble, finds a survey by four University of Denver psychology graduate students.

To identify which teaching traits students find most beneficial and most bothersome, Camille Gonzalez, Jennifer Caspari, Amber Olson and Charity Walker asked 270 students from the university's College of Education to fill out anonymous questionnaires. The team analyzed the results and picked out overarching themes in the responses.

They found that students liked professors who were organized, came to class prepared and used technology and handouts, guest speakers and group activities to enhance their lectures. They also favored teachers who thoroughly explained and stuck to class expectations and kept their office hours.

The most irksome professors, they found, were those who came to class unprepared, favored some students or had condescending attitudes.

The research team said they'd like to see educators tweak their styles to be more in line with the qualities students find most stimulating. They also hope schools will adopt feedback systems similar to their survey to better capture their own students' satisfaction levels.

—M. Price