Student Testimonials

Here you will find some student evaluations from my classes at both the University of Groningen and the University of Virginia. 

University of Virginia (UVA):

From the get–go, it's evident that Melle is someone that actually enjoys teaching, and this permeates the class atmosphere. He's excited about the subjects we're learning and so by extension so is the class. If there is something we don't like, his friendly laid– back manner allows us to easily voice our opinions. He won't just listen to these opinions, he'll implement them and improve the course where necessary. For me, Melle puts the "Discussion" in the Discussion section. 10/10 job.

At the beginning of the semester, I discussed my concerns about participation in the course. Melle offered support and encouraged my participation although he knew it was difficult for me. I was able to engage in other ways with him (office hours, talking after discussion). He was very responsive and helpful with answering questions. Within the classroom, he created an environment in which everyone could equally represent their views and be respected.

I thought that Melle did a great job at conveying information and teaching the material to us in a way that was engaging and participatory! He was always open to taking questions and invited disagreement and discussion during his sections, and I enjoyed that he was able to simplify and distill the lecture content in a format that was more easily digestible. He was also extremely friendly and never failed to cheer me up during our section.

The nature of the class by default is a little bit charged as we go into discussion of international politics, especially one class where we had to account for the importance of race and ethnicity in the theories of Realism and Institutionalism. This discussion got a little bit heated with two students disagreeing heavily. Melle was able to steer the conversation to a very productive level and avoided the confrontation that almost boiled over between the students. He was always very careful to respect all of the opinions of the students while also keeping the discussions productive.

I have zero negative feedback. This was the most engaging discussion section I have had at UVA thus far. It was very obvious that Melle is incredibly knowledgeable and loves what he does. I walked out of every discussion section with more knowledge and a better understanding of each topic.

Melle was an amazing TA. Absolutely would not have wanted to take this class with anyone else. He fostered great discussions, took his job seriously, and was an encapsulating person to listen to. He furthered my understanding greatly and I would not have enjoyed this class so much without him. It was also fascinating to see the research projects he was working on, as he would present them to the class for our feedback

Mele was the main reason I enjoyed this course! Melle built up my confidence throughout the semester, and because of him, I became skilled in a subject matter that I'd traditionally consider a weak point. If I could, I'd make Melle be my TA for every course.

Melle was a great TA and would definitely be a great professor in the future. He is very organized and effective in teaching and providing feedback to students. He was more helpful in facilitating my understanding of the course content more than the actual course professor at times.

Melle has been an amazing TA! I think I learned more in his section than I did in lectures. He made it so abundantly clear how much he cared about our learning, and made a real effort to ensure that we all understood what was going on. He has a great way of explaining complex concepts in a clear, concise way. I have really enjoyed being in his section.

Melle has been the best TA that I have had while at UVA. As an IR major he has been leaps and bounds better than any other TA at effectively directing the class and encouraging good discussion. He also was very flexible and was able to meet up with me whenever I was sick or couldn't make it to class.

Melle was an amazing TA. Having a discussion at 8pm on a Thursday late at night is not the best time, however, Melle made it a great discussion. He was always enthusiastic about the topics and was always asking if anyone had questions or wanted to bring in contrasting points. He thoroughly explain topics, yet still pushed us to try to come up with the answer on our own. He was able to engage the entire class and I took a great deal out of the discussions. I left with a lot more knowledge then when I walked in. Hands down one of the best TAs.

Melle was an excellent TA – probably the best I've had at UVA. He was extremely thorough, engaging and created a really positive learning environment.

I had Melle Scholten and he did a really good job of taking in everyone's responses and guiding them in the proper direction. Not once did he rule out a perspective, shut down analytical thinking, or refuse to explain a topic, and I think that is what proved to me that he was an extremely intellectual and logical thinker with plenty of knowledge on this topic. Any and all questions were invited and rather impressively answered with examples and facts. I am so lucky to have been a part of this section, and although he was probably a more rigorous grader and critic of argument, my growth over one semester has exceeded my expectations. Going into this class without any knowledge on IR besides my IB education in high school, this has been a truly transformative class for my learning and pursuit of IR–type knowledge here at UVA. Melle is a confident lecturer and theorist and I am so excited to see what he does in the future with IR. He is the kind of staff here who volunteers way too much of his time for what he is being compensated for, and he is working so diligently to be invested in our education and I am forever grateful for that. My only suggestion for University Admin is to read this note in full and understand how vital our TAs are, and how impactful to undergraduates they can be. It is this kind of faculty who make students, like me, turn down guaranteed transfers to stay at this university, and it would be a mistake to not provide compensation for that large of an impact. Thank you Melle!

Mele was very welcoming and encouraged everyone to speak! He'd politely and respectfully give us objections to our points in a way to ensure that we would consider refutations. Melle is the only TA I've known to successfully pull off this technique in a welcoming way!

Mary Baldwin University (MBU):

Great professor who had a lot to offer the class, especially new perspectives to consider from an IR standpoint that someone who isn't from the US might have. He always providedgreat feedback on my essays which challenged me to grow even more as a student in his class and think critically about international affairs. Group exercises were also really helpful, I had great partners and we had really great conversations which I think was also a really valuable part of this class as I got to hear other standpoint and perspectives that I might not have considered before.

He organized the course well, was engaging, and was understanding of personal issues that interfered in attendance/assignments. 10/10 one of my fav classes! I liked the way he included lecture, games, and small group discussions.

The strength was how much input he would take from the class. Additionally, I really like the incorporation of class discussions. The game we played at the beginning of the semester was also very fun.

University of Groningen (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen):

M. Scholtens class was my absolute favourite class in this semester. I am honestly going to miss it greatly, as he has a sureproof way to engage us in discussions. He always was able to stir us into the right direction before discussions got too rowdy, and he had no problem engaging with us on a personal level. he let us make jokes, made jokes, and was just generally able in creating a very healthy environment in which no one was afraid to speak up.

M. Scholten was approachable and laid back in the seminars, he succeeded in making most of the topics interesting

Melle Scholtens was a wonderful lecturer to have for the beginning of the programme. Very thoughtful and always took into consideration that some students lacked confidence in certain areas and needed positive support to get through their studies. A lot of respect!!

M. Scholten is a really good seminar teacher. It is fun to participate his seminars while at the same time, one learns a lot. I appreciate that he let's us do the talking first and then summarizes the most important things for answering the question.

M. Scholten: it was a great seminar environment in which we were encouraged to talk. I did not have many questions and for me most things were clear, but if it something were not clear, it would have been absolutely no problem to say so and mr. Scholten would haven taken the time to explain it, even if he had to do so multiple times. This created a very comfortable, free environment to follow seminars in.

Mr Scholten was very passionate about the subject which was very refreshing and has a good sense of humour!

Mr. Scholten was very passionate about the subjects and interacted with us in order to get a conversation going. I would very much like for him to give lectures in the future because he manages to explain subjects – even the not–so–interesting ones – in a way that still manages to keep me focused.

The seminars of Mr. Scholten were very well structured and the learning environment was professional and enjoyable.The instructor was always approachable and provided constructive and sensible feedback where necessary. I think that his suggestions for additional material to consult increased the students' overall interest in the course, and enriched the material already learned.

M. Scholten: the feedback we got on our literature review was extremely useful and straight to the point. I really appreciated it. The individual feedback session was very helpful as well. Besides giving the feedback, mr. Scholten also made me feel confident about my literature review which was highly appreciated. The seminars were very well–structured with the break–out rooms. It was a great seminar environment in which everyone was encouraged to speak and I never felt any judgement whatsoever.