Professors at Deep Springs, as at most colleges, range from life-changing to abysmal. Unlike professors at other colleges, professors at Deep Springs are expected to be a big part of this small community. All professors live in faculty housing in the center of campus; they eat meals with students three times daily, regularly engaging in casual conversations or games of pingpong. By tradition, the professors leave their porch lights on at night to indicate that they are available to talk with students. Though the purpose of these informal meetings is usually academic, many professors show a genuine interest in students' well-being.
Class sizes range from three to 10 students. Lectures are rare, so each student must come to class having read the material carefully. Failure to contribute to discussion does not go unnoticed, and while a student might talk little and still earn excellent grades, his teachers and peers measure his academic investment by his in-class contributions. The reading load is heavy, but not unbearable. Professors are aware of students' many commitments, and they don't expect to go through a dense philosophical text as quickly as a novel. Still, most classes operate at a brisk pace, and committee or labor obligations are rarely sufficient excuses for poor academic work. As a liberal arts college, the curriculum is fairly open. While Deep Springs doesn't have as many professors on campus at a time as other colleges—there are usually three long-term professors and two visiting professors—the classes are far from redundant. A recent semester's offerings included a studio art class, a class on logic, a seminar on Nietzsche, and a biology class. The Curriculum Committee—composed of students, one long-term faculty member, and the dean—is responsible for hiring professors and ensuring diverse, challenging course offerings. This committee ensures a collaborative effort between students and faculty from the start, and that effort carries through the best classes.