Samory Kpotufe

Jul 2020

I had Professor Kpotufe for STAT1201 in Fall 2019 and the grading was split into 60% homework, 20% midterm and 20% final. Don't be fooled by the homework allocation, I spent nearly all my time on this class because all the questions were conjured up by him and not from the textbook. We had one TA and his OH would be packed. The math pre-requisite is understated, if you don't have integration, double integration and even some dated high school math concepts down pat, don't take this. The midterm mean was 65%, and final was 48%, yet the curve wasn't generous. The professor himself is really funny, but the lectures just introduce an insane amount of material really fast. Don't bother trying to copy down what's on the board, just listen and go over the notes posted on courseworks later.

Dec 2019

The West African country of Togo is a small nation lodged between Ghana and Benin; this great land is the home of our overlord and statistical deity, Lord Samory Kpotufe. The common praise you hear of him is students saying "I like how his brain works." Although I would never purport to understand our Lord and Savior's mind, I can tell you this: he is the single best teacher of statistics that you will ever have. Once upon a time, I was in his office hours, and I foolishly asked him "were you good at statistics as an undergrad?" He smiled wryly and said "I dropped my statistics classes, I hated them. I only teach it now because I need stats to do machine learning." Befuddled, confused, lost, I innocently asked "but, are you naturally a good math person?" Less wryly, he now smiled and responded "No one outside of the US uses this phrase 'good math person.' I don't believe in natural talent. When I was in highschool, they didn't tell us math was hard, so we just did the homeworks and the material, and it wasn't hard. I didn't speak english as a young person, but now I do. I just learned how to do it – math is just another language that everyone seems to think is difficult." Holding back tears, I smiled in admiration and disbelief. His wisdom washed over me; in a sort of trance, I mumbled "Thank you" and stumbled out of his office. Samory Kpotufe is the single best teacher of mathematics/statistics that I have ever had. I cannot recommend him enough, seriously. Take his f*cking class.