Review Comment

[GU4615] Psych of Culture & Diversity

February 15, 2018

Purdie-Vaughns, Valerie
[GU4615] Psych of Culture & Diversity

I wasn't planning on submitting a review for this class, however after re-discovering Valerie's earlier reviews on CULPA, I feel obligated to provide a more recent analysis of her ability as an instructor specializing in culture and diversity.

After reading the course description as well as these earlier CULPA reviews, I was looking forward to taking Valerie's class. Unfortunately, this enthusiasm steadily diminished as the class progressed.

Positive: the class material is truly interesting, which is hopefully the reason why you would consider taking it. I really enjoyed the readings, which covered a wide range of sub-topics within each topic (although I suppose this should be expected for a class centered around diversity!).

Negative: the instructor is very vocal about how she cares for her students, but by the conclusion of this course, I was firmly convinced that these were empty words spoken as a means for her to convince herself that she is a stellar professor. In reality, this is the furthest from the truth. Valerie was often absent from her office and difficult to reach. She would refuse to share course materials even in extenuating circumstances, and she would get frustrated easily with students. In at least one case, I had a classmate who eventually felt too uncomfortable to continue trying to seek help from her regarding the class material. This is a serious problem.

What I found most surprising were her unrelated tangents regarding the special privileges she receives as the wife of a Columbia Trustee, which she really should have recognized was inappropriate... especially given that she is meant to be the resident diversity expert for Columbia's Psychology Department. By the end of the class, it was unfortunately rather clear that she is more motivated by perks and status than an actual interest in this research.

Conclusion: All signs pointed to this being a fantastically informative and engaging class. Unfortunately, the professor's unprofessional behavior and unwillingness to truly support her students ruined it. It truly is a shame because it otherwise could have been one of my favorite classes offered at Columbia.


Class participation/ weekly discussion papers (3 required; 1.5-2 pages single spaced): 40%
Intensive writing project (grant proposal; 10 pages single spaced, refs not included): 60%

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