San Jacinto College instructor rated high by students on popular website
HOUSTON – Brenda Kaye Silva, a government instructor at San Jacinto College South, was recently ranked fifth in the nation by students on RateMyProfessors.com, a popular website that provides a variety of services for college students and faculty members.
The key to Silva’s success as an educator is making American government interesting and relevant to her students.
“It is not enough to memorize American government’s structures at the local, state, national and international levels,” she remarked. “I am not after regurgitation, but critical analysis and real world application.”
Silva says she tries to get students to think of government as a foreign language. “Government is not hard, it is merely misunderstood, feared, and often maligned,” she commented. “It is outside our comfort zone until we learn to negotiate its key terms and concepts. Once students master the language of government, it becomes more relevant to their everyday lives.”
Silva’s teaching philosophy is based on a variety of influences. “One important principle to me comes from an inspirational poster I came across that bears the words: ‘No one cares what you know until they know that you care,’” she commented. “To that maxim, I add the saying of the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu: ‘A frog in a well will never know the immensity of the sky,’ and something my father is fond of saying: ‘Education is a process, not a result.’”
Silva earned two degrees from Midwestern State University – a bachelor’s degree in history and political science, and a master’s degree in political science and public administration. She also holds a doctorate of jurisprudence from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law.
Silva previously worked as a legal journalist and served as an associate editor for American Lawyer Media (ALM). Works published by her include analysis of more than 650 cases that are a part of ALM’s online and print legal research database.
RateMyProfessors.com is the Internet’s largest listing of collegiate professor ratings, with more than 6.8 million student-generated ratings of over 1 million professors. Online since 1999, RateMyProfessors.com currently offers ratings on college and university professors from over 6,000 schools across the United States, Canada, England, Scotland and Wales with thousands of new ratings added each day. Each year, millions of college students use the site to help plan class schedules, rate current and past professors, and select which colleges to attend. For 2008, the first year the website has included junior and community colleges in the national rankings, San Jacinto College was rated in the top 10.
For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150, or visit www.sanjac.edu.