Review Comment

[PSYC BC3152] Psychological Aspects of Human Sexuality

May 07, 2019

McKenna, Wendy
[PSYC BC3152] Psychological Aspects of Human Sexuality

Oh Wendy. I want y'all to buckle in because this is going to be long but I don't want anybody to be unprepared. You may read the other reviews and think you'll be fine. You are wrong. Your hubris has the best of you, my friend. You are Icarus, flying too close to the sun. But you don't have to be. You can heed my warning and avoid this professor.

You will have weekly reading notes to turn in. You will not know what is expected of the weekly reading notes. Syllabus stated "You do not have to necessarily include everything assigned for the week [on the weekly reading notes], but what you turn in should indicate that you have done all, or most, of the reading" - the first couple weeks she was just telling us to always do "more" of the readings on our responses. Even if I'd do 6/7 of the readings and have 2 pages (syllabus says "1-2 typed pages") I was told to do more. Eventually I just started responding to all the readings and that got me good feedback, so... I wouldn't be so frustrated if she'd just outright told us that she wanted us to do more. She instead chose to be coy and beat around the bush.

That goes for class discussions as well. First class she told us to think of ways we could break the social contract of a teacher-student setup, and she shot down multiple suggestions (i.e. leaving the room, talking over the teacher, not being seated properly, etc) not because they were incorrect but because they weren't whatever she was thinking of. I felt like I was playing charades sometimes just trying to guess what she was getting at - it kind of felt like she just wanted to feel smart over us because she's so frequently shoot down our suggestions or comments in class. also god forbid we start discussing something in the material that we were interested in, or had questions about. There was no flexibility in class discussion to let the students have any sort of ownership over the material.

Once she said she "wasn't going to ask" us [the class] about our porn consumption habits (it's a sex class after all) but she did ask if we ever talked about it with our friends and what did they say they watched. Somehow that was an okay question but the other wasn't. Understandably, we were all pretty resistant to talking about this (personally, my friends weren't there so I'm not going to say one way or another whether they've told me about that stuff when they aren't there to speak for themselves) but she continually pushed us to talk about us, saying she didn't believe that we never talked about porn with our friends.

There were also times that I felt like she behaved rather unprofessionally. Sometimes other students would be running late, and yeah that sucks, but you don't talk about that to the students who are there. The prof would say things in a snide tone like, "Well we can start that is IF X student decides to show up today. X never emailed me so I guess we'll see." I didn't like that because I didn't need to know about her correspondence with another student - especially when the class was a seminar and she would NAME the student she was talking about so that we all knew who it was.

Feedback on assignments was questionable sometimes (see comment about reading notes). We got feedback on our outlines and I used the word "negative" in mine, and when she talked with me she told me she "assumed by the word negative I meant...not positive" and I was enormously confused because that's what negative already means. I brought this up to her and she told me, "well yeah, but you need to be more specific in your words" and I again said that was what negative means. She only said, "yes, but still be more specific" even though I said in the outline that "x was negative because y" so it was already specific - she didn't really give further feedback than that. I haven't ever cried after a class before but I did after that outline review because I felt like I had no idea what to expect on anything. Sorry that this is long and none of this is to say that she's a bad person or anything, I just felt like she was quite uncompromising and always had to be right, to the detriment of the students.

Workload:

Weekly reading responses, 1 in-class writing assignment, 1 response to an outside lecture or event, short paper (3-4 pages) about a topic not covered in class, and then a final paper (12-14 pages). There's so much confusion and frustration in figuring out what she wants from the assignments that they end up taking too long. Also, some of the readings are deceptively long - you'll have like 60 pages to read one week and then like 15 the next.

January 15, 2009

McKenna, Wendy
[PSYC BC3152] Psychological Aspects of Human Sexuality

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Professor McKenna was the most disappointing professor I've had at Columbia to date. She gave dated information in her lectures and was not up to date on current issues in the field, which made her lectures especially impoverished. With a topic as dynamic as the psychology of human sexuality, her archaic approach to the subject was sorely disappointing.
Worse, she was extremely narrow-minded and not open to even conisdering competing arguments to her views. McKenna seemed to take personal offense to students questioning her views, becoming very terse, and defensive and without offering any reason for why she would dismiss other arguments, she simply said, "No". Her class was not worth the the three-thousand dollars I paid per credit- not that I am bitter about my loss.
McKenna is an insult to academic endeavor and she disgraces the spirit of intellectual curiosity at Columbia.

Workload:

small, easily do-able

May 12, 2006

McKenna, Wendy
[PSYC BC3152] Psychological Aspects of Human Sexuality

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Wendy McKenna is a mediocre professor who teaches an inevitably interesting subject. One suspects she's been teaching the same exact class for the past 25 years (the length of time she'll inform you of with a smug smile). Her lecture oftentimes begins with a list of "shocking" statistics (she doesn't always give a credible source). Then she'll attempt to incite a debate amongst the class about some sex-related topic, which can go on for needlessly long considering the yappy, uninformed nature of your typical Barnard psych student, aided only by her occasional clarifications. At one point, taking this class, you think to yourself "it can't be that bad-- the class is about sex and that will always be interesting." But then you take the test and realize just how vague, biased and subjective McKenna can be with test writing and grading.
Two bits of advice: Don't question her logic during a lecture. In my experience, even if she seems to be saying the most stupid thing in the world, she'd rather have you spit it back to her on the exam than give her any reason to think she's wrong. Second, everything she teachers relates back to the Double Standard-- even if you don't think it does.

Workload:

Anonymous paper, 3 page response, 6-8 page paper/
project, Midterm, Final

December 31, 1999

McKenna, Wendy
[PSYC BC3152] Psychological Aspects of Human Sexuality

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

She's a decent lecturer, except for her nasal and irritating voice. In addition, as a human being, she's obnoxius. You may not enter or exit if she's talking, and there is no way to pre-register. She'll force all the sophomores exit the room on the first day, and automatically kicks them out. The papers she assigns are mostly anonymous and ungraded, so you work your tail off for really nothing (you still have to do them and sign in that you handed it in). She refuses to discuss the exam until it's over. She conducts in-class experiments with surveys that many feel are unethically handled and have questionable ethics. Workload: a slew of anonymous, ungraded papers, an ungraded paper that is not anonymous, a midterm, and a final project for which you must go to some unusual place, such as a strip joint, an abortion clinic, or a meeting of a support group for those who participate in S&M/B&D...and a final.

Directory Data

Dept/Subj Directory Course Professor Year Semester Time Section
PSYB / PSYC PSYB PSYC BC3152: Psych Aspects Human Sexuality Wendy McKenna 2012 Spring M / 2:10- 4:00 PM 1
PSYB / PSYC PSYB PSYC BC3152: Psych Aspects Human Sexuality Wendy McKenna 2011 Spring M / 2:10- 4:00 PM 1
PSYB / PSYC PSYB PSYC BC3152: Psych Aspects Human Sexuality Wendy McKenna 2010 Spring MW / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1
PSYB / PSYC PSYB PSYC BC3152: Psych Aspects Human Sexuality Wendy McKenna 2009 Spring MW / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1
PSYB / PSYC PSYB PSYC BC3152: Psych Aspects Human Sexuality Wendy McKenna 2005 Spring MW / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1