By Terri Kunopaski
The way students talk about him, you might think Ed Slopek is young, dashing and incredibly flirtatious. But the truth is, it’s the silver-haired image arts professor’s teaching style and personality that make his students go wild.
“The man is a god,” said Robert Bergamin, a second-year new media student in one of Slopek’s classes this semester. And because of his popularity, Slopek is being honoured online with a slew of Facebook groups dedicated to him.
Students recognizing their favourite and most-resented profs on websites such as Facebook and MySpace, has become a popular phenomenon. Other Ryerson professors, such as Arne Kislenko, Don Gibb and Jonathan Rollins also have Facebook groups dedicated to them.
Rollins was a little freaked out when he heard he was being worshipped on the Internet.
“My initial reaction when someone asked me if I looked at my Facebook group was ‘I don’t know if I want to,’” said Rollins. “When someone puts you on a pedestal like that, it seems there is nowhere to go but down. You gotta live up to it, and if you don’t, then what?”
Slopek’s online following is certainly the biggest. Groups like ‘The Ed Slopek Fan Club’ and ‘I Would Marry Ed Slopek,’ have popped up on the social online site, boasting 120 members in total.
There is even a group devoted to him called “I Hear Ed Slopek Once Ate a Man’s Heart.’
Slopek’s students, who make up the majority of the groups’ members, hold cyber discussions about him. Inga Wehrmann, a first-year film student and member of the group ‘I Want to Marry Ed Slopek,’ recently wrote, “I got to shake Slopek’s hand today. It made my day. I almost wet myself.”
Misha Meagley, also a first-year film student, wrote, “I’m considering forcing him at gunpoint to sign adoption papers.”
Slopek hasn’t seen the online groups, but he isn’t too worried. “I’ve heard that what’s being said is good for the most part, and for this, I am relieved,” he said.
Slopek guesses that the secret to his popularity lies in his love for the content he teaches. “As far as my teaching goes, I try my best to organize and focus my classes in such a way as to get to the heart of whatever subject is being addressed.”
Journalism professor, Don Gibb, said he’s okay with being fawned over on Facebook, and is just relieved it’s fawning and not something more foul.
“It wouldn’t be so nice though for those teachers that are being ‘dissed’ all the time.”