December 26, 2006

Hart, Carl
[PSYC W2460] Drugs and Behavior

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

I was very enthusiastic when I first started this class. He's a young professor, the subject material appeared to be pretty interesting, and it seemed as though he had chosen to adopt an interdisciplinary approach to the class, in which we examined various subtopics from both a cultural and more scientific angle (or about as "scientific" as this class got). However, my enthusiasm considerably waned as the semester progressed. Carl Hart reads his lectures off the lecture slides--often making grammatical and spelling errors galore--and was one-sided to the tee, as some other reviewers have pointed out. In an effort to expel common drug myths and appear fair and liberal-minded, he adopted the other extreme; I half expected him to bring a joint or two to class to pass around. He did not bother, for instance, to even briefly mention the potential destructive effects of drug addiction on the family and individual--to do so would be to brand drugs as "evil", which he made clear was stupid and foolish. He often spent an inordinate time on scientific studies that were far from fascinating, and never offered satisfying responses to questions posed by students. I actually found some of the guest speakers he invited to speak to be more compelling and informative than he. All in all, I don't think that Carl Hart's class was bad, persay, I just simply expected more. Hart may initially seem like the hidden gem of Columbia, but this "hidden gem" has a lot to work on.

Workload:

Fair. Two midterms, one final, nightly readings and lots of random quizzes. Don't be afraid to approach the TAs to complain about the grading on exam essays, as it is somewhat aribitrary.