Skip to Main Content

College Overview

Kirby Top 10

Dr. Russell Kirby holding up the bulls hand symbol next to text that reads Kirby Top 10

For more than 30 years, Dr. Russell Kirby has been creating and sharing Top 10 lists to illustrate lectures and presentations. This project began in the early 1990s at the University of at the Arkansas-Little Rock when a biology department colleague invited Dr. Kirby to present a lecture on health mapping for a GIS class. Having recently read Mark Monmonier’s How to Lie with Maps, he was inspired to craft a list of the top ten ways to make a bad health data map, which was an instant hit.

This method quickly became a staple in Dr. Kirby's teaching, focusing on how to do things badly with the hope that those reading his lists would avoid these approaches and learn to perform better in their own work. His approach garnered attention at the University of Alabama at Birmingham where, as a professor of maternal and child health, Dr. Kirby expanded his repertoire. Encouraged by department chair Greg Alexander, he began posting these lists online, attracting students and colleagues alike.

Now, with over 60 lists and counting, Dr. Kirby collaborates with colleagues across the USF College of Public Health, the US, and internationally to ensure each list is comprehensive, creating several new lists each year. This collaborative and innovative teaching tool continues to enhance educational experiences and foster academic engagement in a fun and humorous way. Dr. Kirby’s Top 10 lists have become a beloved feature in the COPH community.

Top 10 Lists