On the popular Web site RateMyProfessors.com, college students gripe about their classes, but they also critique how their instructors look—the “hot” ones are awarded chili peppers.

Only three Chicago-area teachers cracked the site’s most recent Top 50 “Hottest Professors” list—all of them from DePaul. Patrick J. Murphy, an assistant business professor, who ranks 17th (out of more than one million professors rated by students on the site), tries not to attach much meaning to his ranking but concedes that the Web site probably draws some students to his classes. “As long as they keep the hotness and the class material separated, it’s fine with me,” he says. The other Blue Demon darlings are first-year writing instructor Erin MacKenna, no. 23, and visiting assistant professor of psychology Mary Jill Mallin, no. 47.