This was not my first choice class for a multitude of reasons and ending up in it was rough. I will say the good part first: I truly learned how to write. I did end up producing one excellent paper at the end. Frankly, I was scared of meeting with her. I went to meet with her pretty much every step of the way for every single one of my papers and I left her office a hysterical mess. She is BRUTAL on papers, your ideas, justifications, etc. I tried to speak in class but ended up having my ideas torn up by her in class and it was an embarrassing, dread-inducing experience. I understand that she's trying to get us to stand up for our interpretations and back them up with evidence but it just ends up being an uncomfortable time for everyone involved. With regard to the papers, she wants you to write her way and that's it. There is no other method if you want a passing (yes, passing) grade. Any deviation from her method results in a D or an F. I would recommend against taking her class because I am certain that there are other professors who will turn you into just as good of a writer without being as hurtful.
Would not recommend. Unkind and harsh grader. Refuses to explain her own critiques of your work, so you're left not knowing how to improve.
I LOVE Pedatella!!! He is so passionate and makes the readings 1000 times more interesting. Naturally, some of the books are pretty dry, but he made me look forward to actually reading.
He’s a better professor for people that already have a lot of knowledge/ interest in English and the texts we are reading. He is a good teacher in terms of course material but he grades really harshly by averaging your first and final draft instead of only using your grade of the final draft. It also got really awkward in the end because no one knew what he wanted
This is not a first choice class and I understand why after taking it. Professor Paparella has just started working at Barnard and giving her the benefit of the doubt, I went into her class with an open mind. However, it was a very rough class. Although her expectations are clearly labelled on the syllabus, I cannot stress enough, how chaotic this class was. There are many rough draft assignments for the same big essay and not once, did she give them back in a timely manner. Instead, Professor Paparella staples your drafts to your final, graded draft, which is not helpful in the slightest. She is also a very harsh grader, with the highest score being a B plus on all the papers. The other twelve girls and me were constantly under the stress of not knowing what our grade was, because nothing was given back and she demolishes essays during office hours. This was another terrible aspect of the class: she tells you very close to the deadline that your essay is not good and that you should revise.
Andrew Lynn is one of the most thoughtful and skilled teachers I've had in my undergraduate experience-- he's so wonderfully deft at leading a seminar discussion, his comments on writing are constructive and tremendously helpful, etc. It's like all the mechanics of teaching, all the hard hard work that can often go un-noticed in skilled teachers, Andy has such a wonderful handle on, and with such kindness and grace. I really can't recommend his classes highly enough. In his Critical Writing section you read a little more theory than I think many other Barnard professors will have you read, a little more theory and a little less literature, BUT even if you are not a theory-minded person, it's better you do it with a very skilled teacher than a less skilled one so I think it is abundantly worth it.
Briefly: Take Professor Pedatella's class if you want a teacher who is passionate and highly knowledgable. Do not take him if you're looking for an easy A, though doing well is not impossible--you just have to put in some work. Each class period is completely discussion based, and Prof does a really good job of facilitating this discussion. He encourages participation on behalf of all students, but will not pressure you to speak if you are not comfortable doing so. He is adept at building off each student's comment and bringing in interesting information, historical context, or references to the intertextual conversation that we aren't able to pick up on. As someone incredibly well read and versed in the history, he is able to make the texts come alive. When he reads passages aloud in class, you can't help but be excited about the readings, since his passion radiates. Prof also brought a completely new perspective to analyzing texts, and on many occasions, I left class with a completely new perspective on our reading. He tries to make time for each student during office hours, setting out 15-minute blocks for which students can register. If he is not busy helping students with their essays, he is more than happy to meet for longer periods of time to talk about any aspect of literature in which you may be interested.
If you're wondering whether or not to take a class with Professor Breyer DO IT. Just do it. He is one of the kindest professors I have ever met and genuinely cares about his students to a degree that I have yet to see in any other professor. I had Prof. Breyer for First Year Seminar at Barnard and, thanks to him, I feel much more comfortable in a seminar setting and in writing college-level essays. He is encouraging but also honest and gives good guidance, and if you have any questions or are just plain confused, Breyer is always willing to meet with you for as long or as often as you need. I think that some people are put off by his somewhat awkward demeanor, but, in my opinion, that just makes him all the more genuine and approachable. And, if nothing else, he has some pretty crazy and hilarious life stories that are 100% worth your time. I feel very lucky to have had Professor Breyer, especially in my first year, and would recommend him to everyone.
Nicole was a pleasure to have as an instructor. At the beginning of the semester, she relayed to us that her forte was not in the classics, rather on queer literature, and that she would be learning with us. It was evident throughout the semester that she worked as hard as, if not harder than the students. She made sure to have one-on-one conferences about our writing throughout the process, and comfortably managed to get everyone to speak up during the seminar. Her feedback is so helpful, making clear suggestions for improvement and showing much interest in our work. She used multiple forms of media to teach in class, including mediathread (online image/art-type program), references to pop culture, a visit to the Met, and a class trip to an off-off Broadway version of A Midsummer Night's Dream. The way she pushed us to improve our skills managed to provide new lessons even for students who had already experienced the literature we were working on. Major takeaway: Nicole is clearly interested in the work she teaches and in her students, and it is clear that she expects us to improve our skills in whatever capacity we can.
Enthusiastic professor that really made me appreciate Greek/Roman history more. Unlike what the other person said I don't think he's pompous about having gone to Cornell at all, when he talks about it he seems more self-deprecating or ironic in a way. Although he does take a while to get papers back he is very accessible via email and after class usually. A lot of the class is reading old white men books, but it was an overall nice experience to take the class.
AVOID THIS PROFESSOR IF POSSIBLE. His lectures were terribly boring, he never actually grades our papers, holds meetings at random times and only when you remind him, and he is extremely condescending. I had to make my papers 'interesting' or else I wouldn't get a good grade. He likes when you think out of the box - meaning completely unfounded utterly ridiculous fluff based on nothing. I couldn't avoid it because first year professors are random assignments, but if he ever starts teaching other classes here, AVOID. Oh, and he loves mentioning how he went to a much more superior institution than Columbia: Cornell.
This class was beyond what I was expecting, in a good way. Coming into this class, I didn't read any of the books on the list. The books are pretty dense, hard to grasp when just skimming or reading for leisure at times and honestly quite boring sometimes, but Professor Pedatella somehow makes all these books so interesting and intriguing like they're all his favorite books. He's definitely really knowledgable of all the books and many other things, super engaging in class (he actually made The Aeneid interesting to listen to) and pretty inspirational at times. I've honestly never had an English teacher as good as Stefan Pedatella, and my high school English teachers were all pretty damn good. Although he's amazing in the classroom, he is somewhat of a pretty hard grader; he really makes you think as well. I just felt like my critical thinking has grown quite a bit with Pedatella. He's also really approachable, especially during office hours but at times can be quite intimidating because he knows all these books inside and out and can really drill you if you don't have a solid idea. The workload of this class is manageable. I highly recommend it!
I had this whole review written out, in which I tried hard to find flaws with Professor Pedatella and inflate them so that my praise would seem balanced and objective, because I’m suspicious of simplicity. Purely rave reviews tend to leave something out, and to feel a bit blind or even biased as a result. I really wanted this to not be one of those reviews. But then I saw the below review, realized I was being ridiculous, and wrote what I actually think instead. Professor Pedatella treats the material like something young and alive, as if despite however many years of teaching, To the Lighthouse can still surprise him. When he lectures it’s as if he’s been thinking about these theories for years and this is the first time he’s ever gotten to tell someone about them. (Not to say that his teaching style is at all amateurish, far from it, only that his enthusiasm is beyond anything I’ve ever encountered in someone who’s been teaching as long as he has). Additionally, he seems to know more or less everything related to the Western canon, and is happy to explain intertextual allusions that would otherwise be almost impossible to catch. However, in spite of his, quite frankly, intimidating knowledge base, Professor Pedatella never acts like what a student has to say is obvious or unintelligent. He will disagree with students from time to time, but he is always very clear that his opinion in nothing more than just that: his opinion. In the class or in your essays it’s easier to simply agree with him, because he will smile and nod and move past you, but if you ever come up with something that’s yours (whether it clashes with his point, drives it forward in a direction he hadn’t considered, or ignores him altogether) that is when he will challenge you, and in doing so make you feel a real connection with the text, as though you are a participant in this millennia long conversation, just as much as Virgil or Chaucer or Keats. (Okay, maybe not just as much, but pretty damn close.) A friend of mine who entered his class with almost no literary background, having gone to fancy music schools her whole life, put it nicely when she said, “He makes literature sing.” I’d have to agree. His interpretations helped me write a response to Keats’ Ode to a Nightingale (which is far and away the most ambitious poetry project I have ever attempted), and class discussion has prompted me to write quite a few short stories. In sum, Professor Pedatella is the most inspirational teacher I have ever encountered. I really cannot recommend him highly enough. Oh, and to address the below review directly: I’ve never known anyone to give participation credit for note taking.
I went into this class with mixed feelings and expectations, because I had poor English teachers in high school. Professor Breyer met these mixed expectations. The books for his class were moderately interesting, but there truly was a lot of reading, and a lot of writing. We had two five page essays and one ten page research paper, along with weekly short papers on the books we were reading. As long as you raised your hand to speak once in a blue moon you wouldn't get called out to speak against your will for participation points. Professor Breyer himself I am ambivalent about. Did I emerge from his class a better writer? Yes. The writing fellows especially helped. Professor Breyer was more than willing to meet with someone one-on-one and give feedback. However, he also seemed incredibly awkward around people, and constantly talked very quietly - even when we asked him to speak up. He also never made eye contact with anyone. Overall not a bad course (complete with field trips out of your own free time) but I wouldn't go out of my way to take this class.
Pedatella was often late to class and kept us late. He seems to be very passionate about what we discuss, but he really enjoys making students feel inadequate, unprepared, and stupid about the material. He frequently would mention obscure terms in Latin and then scoff if we didn't know them. Essay feedback was not very helpful and seems to be limited to his individual preferences. Unclear about class/essay requirements. Participation is a HUGE part of the final grade (25%) but he makes it difficult to participate as he will often "shoot down" your comments and tends to embarrass you if he doesn't think your opinion is accurate. GREAT course. I loved the reading and the course material but I would not take it with him.
I should start off by saying I was put into this class after having a scheduling conflict and I didn't even want a Legacy of the Mediterranean class. I was scared of the workload and the intensity of the texts as I'd read a few before. I could not have been luckier. Eugene is one of the best English teachers I've ever had in my life! He is extraordinarily, involved in every class discussion, making anything and everything you say both relevant and intelligent (even if it wasn't originally). Not only is he fairly lenient when it comes to handing in papers, but he is flexible with his office hours and always gives 200% when you meet with him. Whenever I go to his office hours I always felt he was just as engaged (if not more) in my paper as I was and extremely helpful in terms of the direction I should take my paper in. Aside from that I actually have learned a ton about writing in his class and I honestly believe I've become a better writer because of him. If more teachers were as passionate about what they taught as Eugene, everyone would love English. Take this class weather you're good at English or not- I promise you will love it.
This guy is a great teacher. Like honestly everyone who keeps getting pissed off below is just ridiculous. He is one of the most engaging english professors I have ever had. Even if you dont have a class that is very talkative (which is obviously going to be more borring) he is sure to keep the conversation going and asks the class questions to engage everyone. There is never an awkward lul in class, because he knows everything and will share with the class to keep people interested! If you aren't into the readings, I mean that is a totally different problem, but he is great and really cares about his students and will make extra effort to meet with people outside of class to go over essays or to simply chat about the readings. he LOVES the readings, to the point where its ridiculous how dorky he is. Some of the reviews below speak to him wanting you to write what he wants... eh to a certain degree every english teacher is going to enjoy read what they have already understood for themselves in the texts, but that doest mean you shouldn't write what you want. He WANTS you to write what you want as long as you are able to argue it - you can't BS. Also, he doesnt just want you to have an essay with a strand of references from the book, you need to find something and then deeply analyze it - thats how you will get your A. I never got anything below an A- on papers, and sometimes they were written three hours before they were due... honestly he is a great guy who cares a lot about his students and he will especially respect you if you care too and make the effort.
Stefan's a mixed bag kind of professor to say the least, but I WILL say that he's a very good introduction to dealing with all different kinds of professors at Barnard/CU for that very reason, and I think that's pretty valuable. The conflicting reviews are kind of all right because they all touch upon something that's true about him. He is a decent person and doesn't make you feel like a total idiot in class (perfect for first year English jitters) but he is very adamant about his own ideas. Sometimes, he's really, really right. Other times, he's just really, really stubborn. But you sort of learn how to navigate between the two sides of him, and the real learning comes from whether you bow completely to his will and write what he wants to hear (which is a decent skill alone because there ARE professors who don't want you to challenge them and sometimes to get the grade you want, that's what ya gotta do) or whether you learn how to be diplomatic and pursue parts of your own analytical agenda while still pleasing him and getting the grade you want. And that IS possible. I think that's why a lot of people find him so frustrating--because if you don't figure out the latter, the former feels like you're not getting anything out of what's supposed to be an introduction to challenging higher learning. Go into the class with an open mind, but be prepared to stand your ground if you disagree with him. It'll make you a better student at the very least because you'll get really good at picking out textual evidence to prove your point.
HE IS AN AMAZING TEACHER. He weaves any and every comment you say into gold and its really a confidence booster. He leads discussions which really help you think about the text and he is obviously extremely knowledgeable. He doesn't give a massive amount of work and is always VERY flexible for when you can hand your papers in. I would tell every single Barnard girl to take his class because he is really the only one you want to teach you an english class. My other professors since him are no where near as insightful, friendly, dynamic, or laid back. PS. He says "RIGHT?" alot and may go on small 7 minute monoloues about his favorite scene in the book but it becomes quickly endearing.
Okay so he is an absolute genius but he knows it all too well. He loves loves loves to hear himself talk. So called "class discussions" don't consist of discussions between the students but consist of his ramblings with a few occasional chances for 1 or 2 students to say a few words. He is really interesting as a person and does weird things like wear ugly christmas sweaters and odd blue hipster glasses. He's very nice and approachable, but needs more experience in teaching and facilitating but not dominating discussion. He is a very easy grader.
As many other reviews say, Professor Richard has many insightful comments and pushes you to be specific in your writing and comments. She does a great job of facilitating discussion by making sure no girls repeat vague comments they found on Spark Notes -- she really makes you think and complete your thoughts and comments. However, she was an EXTREMELY hard grader. I am no student who gets mad if teachers have high standards, its understandable, we are at a very rigorous school. My issue with Professor Richard is that she did not help in meeting such standards. After meeting with her many times, I never seemed to learn how to improve my writing skills. When it comes to actual classes, Frances Richard makes it interesting and engaging but for writing the papers she is not helpful at all. That being said, she IS helpful with coming up with ideas just not helpful in the process of writing the papers. She always found issues with my final draft which she did not mark on the rough draft, making it difficult to get good grades in the class. She is also very cold and condescending at times. Not a warm fuzzy teacher in any way. As a first year english teacher I really was unhappy with her because I found she did not help in setting the foundations for writing at Barnard. She did not help teach my how to improve my writing skills.
Best english teacher I have ever had. Not only is he brilliant but he is also a great teacher and leads dynamic class discussion. He is also just a really sweet guy.He was willing to meet with me whenever in office hours etc to discuss ideas and essay structures. He is both a great thinker and writer but isnt pretentious at all and really respects student ideas. My only criticism is that in class discussion he was so effusive about EVERYONE's comments that it at times seemed he was just trying to be nice. Maybe he was. Either way, I highly reccomend taking him for anything he teaches. WIsh he taught more!
I'd definitely echo the mix feelings of previous reviews. I would not agree with anyone who called him a jerk. He's super nice even when you say something dumb in class or your essay sucks. However, my main criticism is the total lack of instruction on writing. He didn't give as much as one piece of good advice about how to write at the college level let alone teach writing in any capacity. I was forced to use a sort of trial and error method which, predictably, yielded mixed results. Scratch that. My writing actually regressed under his tutelage (or lack their of). The focus of my personal meetings with him and his comments on my papers was always about general ideas (usually his ideas), which were usually difficult to put into practice. That said, the syllabus is really wonderful and Stefan is a really knowledgable and enthusiastic man with an affinity for sex and long words. It's more of an obsession with sex, actually. But that could be more due to the texts rather than him. Class was always interesting and i would probably recommend this class to anyone who wasn't fused about improving the writing.
Stefan is an incredible teacher in the classroom and he makes the material fascinating. He is obviously incredibly knowledgeable and enthusiastic about what he teaches. However, as a professor for a class that is supposed to strengthen your writing, I feel that he failed. The grading system he has is very restrictive: you get an actual grade on your first draft, and no matter what you do on the rewrite it will only jump up from a B- to a B, for example. In meetings with him about my rewrites, he would say: "the way I see it is this..." and then encourage me to write that. He refused any analysis besides his own, which is really weird. He never offered structural advice or actual paper critique: merely, this part of your argument is wrong, so write it like this. I think he was a fantastic teacher in the classroom but a terrible teacher for improving writing.
I probably agree with everything already written about him, even the conflicting reviews. The bottom line is that Stefan is sort of full-of-himself and definitely picks favorites, but he's really into classic lit and teaches the first semester very well. He makes everything exciting, and studying the Odyssey with him is amazing. Legacy I is great over all. However, I would advise against taking the second semester with him as he suggests, because it gets old very fast. After a while, you realize that doing well mostly depends on doing two things: sucking up to him and spitting back his ideas in your papers. (Obviously, he is there to teach us and has studied these works extensively, so his ideas will be well-founded. However, this style of teaching leaves little room for independence or growth.) Also, class environment is key. If there are any annoying love-stuck girls who are trying to show-off to impress him, it is not fun. Basically: Good for one semester, but wears off fast. Really think about whether or not you want to stick around for a second semester, and definitely check out the reading lists for the different FYE classes as well.
She is an amazing professor and mentor. She knows how to lead a discussion and will not hesitate to cut off someone who goes of on a tangent about ____ and ____ and ____ books she read in high school (a common phenomenon of these first year seminars, I've found). If the conversations goes off topic, she knows how to guide the discussion back to the important points. I have to admit, I did not read all the books thoroughly and rarely completed them but class discussion was always entertaining to follow and, for someone like me who didn't read, almost like sparknotes--just better, more insightful, and with unique perspectives. Dean Hollibaugh really values your opinion and won't make you feel stupid for your unique interpretation of something. She's a true inspiration and it's crazy how dedicated she is to her class and individual students when her job (as Dean of First-Years) requires her to care about the entire freshman class. Take her class at marvel at her grace and brains. Just the best.
The enthusiasm that Stefan (he insists that you call him Stefan, never "professor") has for what he teaches is both astounding and inspiring. I was lucky enough to be placed in Stefan's class during my first semester, and I loved his class so much that I signed up for another semester of Legacy with him. Class is never boring. We talk about sex a lot, which is amusing, and yet somehow always relevant. Stefan is very encouraging and has the effect of making you feel really good about yourself. Also, his enthusiasm for the literature he teaches is contagious. In the two "Legacy of the Mediterranean" courses I took with Stefan, we never finished all the books we were supposed to cover. Stefan can get carried away in his joy of imparting his knowledge of these books, which he clearly considers very important, and as a result the class goes into more depth with less books. Stefan will always make time to talk to you if you would like to discuss something more deeply. He holds his office hours at the Hungarian Pastry Shop, which is pretty awesome. Yeah, he's kinda hipster and a little pretentious, but doesn't everyone have their flaws? These attributes in no way get in the way of his teaching. Stefan Pedatella is an absolutely fantastic professor. Take his class if you have the opportunity!
If we're honest with ourselves i think there's one thing we all have to admit: Stefan is the best teacher any of us have ever had or ever will have. If good teaching is about knowledge of the books, passion for the books, and ability to inspire enthusiasm in you about books, then Stefan's just the best. He clearly thinks that these books are a matter of life and death and if you care even 1% about reading he makes you feel the same way. My only objection about his style is actually kind of related to the great things about him: He care sooo much about making literature come alive that he sometimes forgets how important our grades are to us. I mean I haven't done badly, but staring at a B+ on your papers can dampen your spirits a little (even when you know you deserve it...). An awesome experience sitting in his class though. I can't say I get the criticism somewhere in one of the other reviews that he "clearly thinks he knows more than his students." Isn't that what he's paid for? Would you want your prof to know less than you? But he's so nice about everything, and so easy to talk to one on one. And really, one of the best things about Stefan is the way he made me feel like my opinion really mattered, was really valuable, even though he's been reading these books for like ten years or more. It was his class, and talking to him during office hours that convinced me to stay at Barnard when I was thinking about transferring. Definitely the best experience I've had at Barnard so far.
Soloski clearly knew her stuff and was well-educated in the material and prepared for class. However, her class "discussions" consisted of her calling on people to let them speak then ignore what they had said and to lead the class towards saying what SHE was looking for. She was very condescending and often acted like she was "the cool teacher." Her essay grading was fair, and she did offer some constructive comments on rough drafts. Some of those included things like, "do not use semi-colons," which seemed entirely ridiculous as I have been using them in my writing for years with no problem. Part of my problem with her class was the fact that I hated the Legacy syllabus (that had nothing to do with the Mediterranean) but I also found Soloski's class to be unbearably long every day.
Mixed feelings about Stefan. In terms of workload this class was easy and at the same time kind of hard. Easy in the sense that the class is taught as a seminar so its okay to be behind on the reading (but there is a final!). Hard in the sense that its difficult to know what he wants for papers. Stefan's really likable and sweet, but you have to deal with every girl in the class flirting with him. Overall I liked the class. It was fun and it really did improve my writing.
I actually had Stefan as my professor for First Year English Legacy of the Mediterranean, and I found him to be a pretty great professor, and the class one of the best Iâ€™ve taken so far at Barnard. Itâ€™s true, Stefan is pretentious, and he clearly thinks he knows more than anyone else, but despite what the previous reviewer said, this in no way makes him unfriendly or unapproachable. On the contrary, I found him extremely approachable. He never shot down what people said in discussion, and he was practically always available for office hours at the Hungarian, where he was willing to discuss the papers and the readings thoroughly. I do agree with previous reviews in that Stefan clearly wanted our papers to fit into his interpretations of the works, and often the revisions he gave us were simply to add in his ideas, but he was open to other interpretations if you gave him valid reasons. Itâ€™s also true that he does not get through all the assigned reading, but I do not think this is any way a bad thing. Rather than speeding through the syllabus, he spends extra time discussing the works and truly making you appreciate them. You will leave this class with an appreciation for the works you have read, I can practically guarantee that. And then you can take what youâ€™ve learned in the class and read the last two or three books on your own time, and you will probably appreciate those too. Anyway, I donâ€™t know anyone who would be upset about not having to read hundreds of pages a week, but instead spend more time analyzing each book over a few weeks. Altogether, this was an amazing class. You read great books and you really come to appreciate them. Just take Stefan with a grain of salt. He really does know what heâ€™s talking about, even if sometimes he has to hit his students over the head with that fact. You can tell he really loves what heâ€™s doing, and his passion for his job and for the books makes you enjoy the class that much more.
I disagree with the review below me. I never write CULPA reviews, but I feel like I need to go out of my way. He is probably one of the most interested, dedicated, approachable, not to mention--knowledgeable professors here...definitely the best I've had thus far. Most professors at Barnard/Columbia don't event remotely care about their students and are insanely hard to get in touch with, but Stefan goes out of his way to schedule office hours that are actually ridiculously accommodating, replies to every email, and just overall genuinely cares. Plus, he's not that tough of a grader to be honest; every grade you get is one you deserve. The only criticism I would have is that we don't get to most of the books (but that just makes for more interesting and less rushed discussions of the books we do get to), so do NOT buy the entire box of books beforehand. Seriously, consider yourself lucky if you're in his class; his sheer amount of knowledge alone will blow you away. Plus, he's pretty freaking awesome as a person. TAKE ANY CLASS HE OFFERS!
Stefan is disgustingly overrated. Yes, he is smart. Unfortunately, because Stefan is so simultaneously cocky and self-conscious, the class serves as one huge attempt for Stefan to (unsuccessfully) prove to his students that he is the absolute authority on literature. And philosophy. And everything. Ever. Don't take his class if you like friendly, modest, approachable profs. Don't take his class if you want to be a better writer. He is easy, considering the fact that he puts practically no effort into assigning and grading work. He is a decent grader (I got an A- with little effort). His grading policy works like this: If he likes you (and if you are a halfway decent writer), he will give you an A- or a B+ on your first paper. Then, if you change your paper AT ALL for your second draft, your grade will go up half a step. He will usually ask you to incorporate more of his ideas, or ask you to change your own arguments completely so that they align with his. That's what Stefan calls "teaching." In meetings, he attempts to be your friend while also patronizing you. Please, don't confuse his arrogance for genuine intelligence.
I have mixed feelings about Pedatella's class. I enjoyed the class discussions very much, and perhaps what also made me enjoy the class so much more was the fact that after our discussions I came to actually appreciate the texts we were covering, which in the past I always remained disinterested in them. However, I didn't feel he managed the short time span of the semester too well, considering we didn't get through all the reading and he ended up assigning a paper rewrite along with a final research essay at the same time within the last week of the semester. I also couldn't follow his grading procedure to well- sometimes it seemed as though I simply lost points because I wasn't generating ideas along the lines of the ones he was expecting to see. Regardless of his disorganization, his class was still probably my favorite last semester. I would recommend his class to those interested in completely rediscovering the literature of the mediterranean.
Professor Lang creates a nice class environment in which everyone is comfortable with each other and speaking in class. She also gives detailed, constructive, and encouraging feedback on papers, which is helpful to receive. She seems invested in her students' success in the course. Overall, the reading list for this class is fundamental and well worth the time, and Professor Lang is a great teacher to have, especially due to the attention she gives to each essay's feedback.
Prof. Plotkin is probably a very intelligent and knowledgeable fellow, but none of that came out in this class. Instead, the students who could have benefited from some writing instruction were too busy sleeping, watching the clock, or doing other homework (Plotkin didn't appear to notice) to listen, and the students who could already write didn't need to be lectured on how to build a five-paragraph essay. The reading list was great (if you like classical lit), but Plotkin spent most discussion time talking about his own opinions and calling on the people who usually agreed with him, which meant that a) discussions sucked, and b) reading was basically optional. I will say that he gave a very interesting 10-minute lecture on Greek roots, and seems like a kind person, but those are the only positive things I remember about the class. And I feel like he managed to bring up fertility symbols every other class period (interesting, given it's a Barnard freshman seminar...)
Jesse gives thorough and helpful comments on all papers. I found his comments to be quite useful and insightful. He was approachable and lenient and understanding when it came to deadlines. Jesse rarely returned anything on time. However, it was worth the wait in order to get back his excellent comments. Although the seminar tended to be more of a lecture based class, he welcomed comments from students. He didnâ€™t seem all that comfortable with a discussion-based class perhaps because he feared silence.
This class only had 3 paper assignments however, he is a very harsh grader. the class is torture to sit through! Everyone is watching the clock and waiting for it to end.
Fantastic fantastic teacher. At the beginning, she can seem a little intimidating; after all, she really does know her stuff. But after writing my first paper and sitting down with and learning what you can do to improve, you realize she totally is not as scary as she seems and totally has constructive criticism. Very fair grader who makes it very clear how an essay should be structured. A great fun personality who really brings interesting points to the class discussion. Since you don't get to choose your First Year English professor, consider yourself lucky if you get Professor Soloski
I'm a little surprised to see all the gushing reviews of Stefan. While I did enjoy class time with him (he's funny, and very casual), he was a little bit insane. For example, he assigned the final (research!) paper about a week before the end of the term. Also, he was an extremely hard grader but he didn't have constructive comments, either. Don't get me wrong, class time is fun (you talk about sex a lot...) but I felt like a lot of students were frustrated with his grading policies and organizational skills.
Loved her!! She is a fantastic teacher and a great dean. She was able to lead or steer discussions without dominating them, and she always had interesting insights but she was open to everyone's ideas. She's not the least bit pretentious, and admits when she has no idea what's going on. As other reviewers have mentioned, she gives copious comments on everything you write and will definitely help you to become a better writer. Moreover, I did not find her to be a difficult grader - she's not easy, but I think her grading was always fair. Plus she lets you revise papers, and the revision grade replaces the earlier grade, so even if you do badly at first you have another shot, and she will help you revise if you go to meet with her. I highly recommend taking this class with Hollibaugh
Although at first I found her somewhat of a dry, low-energy professor, I came to realize that she has a lot of integrity. I feel that my academic writing abilities improved tremendously, or maybe it was just that she gave me the confidence I needed to feel that I was a competent writer. She writes detailed comments (that are legible!) on your first and second drafts, and if you follow her recommendations (which I believe are credible) your grade will improve. She does expect a lot out of her students, but she gives a lot in return- every essay was handed back, graded, within a week. I'd definitely say she is a good quality English teacher, especially as far as First-Year English at Barnard goes.
This professor is a joke. She leads shallow discussions on great texts. She doesn't seem to know much about the books and relies on the students (who don't know anything either) to run the class. She comes to class 10 minutes late EVERY TIME. She is a DC native with what I think is a fake British accent. She grades her papers like a bad fifth grade teacher, overlooking content to correct the tiniest grammatical mistakes. Completely mediocre class.
He is a horrible teacher. He hardly gives drafts and is a harsh grader. He has high expectations in each students and is boring and he keeps in you in the class overtime. But, he doesn't take attendance and he doesn't notice if you don't go to the lectures or his class. He is a very nice guy, but a horrible grader.
Daniel Swift definitely helped my writing-- he really wants you to dig deeper and "push it further." The class is all about close reading-- extremely close reading. This can get really boring sometimes. He encourages discussion but he chooses to focus on somewhat mundane topics. All in all, you could do worse for first year english. He'll be really helpful when you meet with him one-on-one (he's normally available on campus and he responds to emails almost instantly). If anything, the class gives you a fascinating topic of discussion: his orientation. Oh, and the last day of class, he'll tell you how he met Gwyneth Patrow. ("she's quite lovely").
Professor Leonard is a nice guy, but his teaching style leaves a lot to be desired. Class gets a little boring sometimes, seeing as how the format never changes. It's just discussion. I wouldn't suggest taking a class with him if you don't like discussion, because he seems to like it a lot. His grading is extremely confusing. He graciously allowed us to do rough drafts of our first papers, and trade with another student for peer reviewal. However, he read only our final drafts, and we didn't get any feedback from him before we received our final grades. Then he had the nerve to say, "None of these papers were very good." We were all less then pleased, both with him and our grades. If you're looking for a professor that seems to go out of his way to help his students, Professor Leonard isn't for you. He also is fond of sending additional assignments over e- mail...Everyone's favorite. So, overall, I wouldn't suggest taking Legacy with Leonard.
Laura was one of the worst professors I have had at Barnard. She constantly forced discussion into women and gender even though that was not the class we were taking. She seemed nice at first, but by the end of the semester, I had grown to hate her. Writing papers for her class was extremely difficult. Her suggestions for papers were always vague, and when I fixed the things she had told me were wrong with my paper, she gave me a lower grade. I found this class extremely frustrating; it made me want to be a science major.
Probably the worst experience I have had with a professor to date. Arrogant, but rather awkward, Karl made a routine first-year english experience painful. He openly admitted to not reading our papers very carefully, yet they would come back with lengthy, and often irrelevant comments on them. He could write you an entire paragraph about the nuances of comma usage without telling you anything truly useful. Also, his written comments almost always required verbal explanation. Even when he gives you a decent grade, he fills your paper with somewhat unnecessary criticisms that are worded in the the most belittling way. Good grades always came as a surprise after reading some of his thoughts about my writing. Class discussions were pretty interesting, when Karl wasn't dominating them, which he did quite often. In general, I'd say Karl's class was a pretty useless introduction to college writing and not a fun experience at all.
The other reviewers don't lie: This man is hilarious. The class discussions always seemed to circulate around sex and death. Professor Bird's laid back encouraged me to write better papers. He is really a nice guy who will spend a lot of his time helping his students with their writing. He even e-mails interesting sources to individual students to allow for better work on the papers. Overall, a great class with a super chill guy.
In my opinion, Professor Ratekin is one of the most arrogant professors I have ever had. He does not understand the boundaries of discussion during class, and therefore pushed me to my limits, something that no professor or human being has done before. If you can, avoid this professor like the plague. He is not helpful, and does a horrible job advising you in how to become a better writer. The only thing you will learn from him is how to manipulate your papers into his form so you can get away with a decent grade. Although he did mail us our final 10- page papers at the end of the year, his comments for the hard work I did on a 10 page paper were about three sentences in length (which I had to completely rewrite from my first draft because he didn't think my idea was "original"). Again, avoid this man if you can, because you will not learn anything nor will you have meaningful discussions during class, because, despite his idea that plot is unimportant, the discussions revolved only about the plot and what was happening to the characters physically. Don't try and bring new ideas to the class, unless you have proof that 10 other scholars have written on (and those whom he likes).
Prof. Bird is great! Funny, laid-back, and def. knows his stuff for most of the books. He makes a lot of effort to help his students, and is generally a very helpful professor in improving writing and understanding of classic texts.
Okay, so I love-love-love-loved this man. Not only is he young and (yes, I am going to say it) hip, but he is so smart and really taught me how to write. Yes, he has a very specific way that he wants his students to structure their papers-but that was one of the things I loved about him! Unlike most english professors, he was NOT AT ALL vague about his expectations of your writing. Not only was he always availible (and wanted to) meet with and help students after class but he was such an interesting person to talk to. Granted, I should note that many people in my class did not feel this way. In fact, they thought he was annoying and it bothered them that he randomly called on people (who might not have done the reading). My answer: do the hecking reading, assholes. Seriously though, this man is a gem. if you love english and are willing to put in the effort and work hard, you'll be rewarded greatly!
I must disagree completely with the negative review of Prof. Pilinovsky. I found her to be one of the most impacting English teachers I've had. She replied to all of my emails quickly and diligently--not just answering another tedious email.She really cares about developing her students' writing skills and understanding of literature. I believe she engaged my class in, what was for us, a really exciting discussion--often humorous and never belittling anyone's opinion. As was said before, she is indeed very educated and (compared to other pompous professors at both Barnard and Columbia, I never felt like she was merely trying to voice just how educated she was. Often if you just listen to her, and not think about the length of her 'lecturing' or her style of lecturing, you may realize that what she is saying is actually veryyy interesting. She helped me, as long as I needed, work on a very long research paper and even though she specified certain avenues she wanted me to research (which for me, at the time, the subject matter was very difficult, complex and controversial), when I turned in the paper at the end, I was extremely proud of it. She pushes you -- and often if you show a little interest--you'll be very proud. Don't confuse her age for inexperience-- she's wonderful, engaging, and for me, (someone who misses class quite often), I never missed her class once!
Prof. Fleischer is intelligent and seemed to be engaged in the works she was teaching. She has her own point of view and will voice it, but this does not mean that she opposes all views unlike her own. You can voice your own opinion and she will respect you if your point is supported through the text even if your opinion is not the same as her own. Unfortunately, some people in class try to throw back at her exactly what she says and this makes for some redundant discussion. As long as you read most of the assigned texts and come up with interesting theses for your papers, you'll do fine.
Karl was a really difficult teacher, because he's so caught up in his own stuff that he hardly gives the students a second glance. I always revised my essays, went to class, talked with him outside of class, participated, but he gave me a really mediocre grade. Whatever he sees when you write your first paper or walk into his classroom is what he sticks to. He will not give you an opportunity to improve. That said, some of the discussions that he prompted were pretty interesting, and since this is his field he's quite knowledgeable. The workload was pretty light, and he definitely gives adequate time to get it done. I'd say, though, that the bad outweighs the good by far with him.
Daniel Leonard is a very mediocre teacher. He does little to incite discussion, choosing instead to completely monopolize class time with tangents that have little to do with the text. His grading criteria is absolutely mysterious, and meeting with him to discuss your paper prior to handing it in will just leave you feeling even more lost and clueless as to what he wants. Ultimately, if you want a positive first year English experience, find a different teacher. He will make you lose faith in the prestige of the University.
Prof. Fleischer is a really engaging and interesting professor to discuss the literary works with. She almost seemed interested in what she was talking about and was always ready to admit she was wrong when told she made a mistake in explaining some concept, especially about the Greek mythology. She made the class really engaging, and as long as you know what the book is about, you will be fine. However, she is a terrible grader. I don't know how other English teachers grade essays, but it seemed that Prof. Fleischer expected us to be professional writers. It is impossible to get an A on your essay if you are in her class. Her conferences weren't helpful. When I had my first conference with her, I became completely scared of her because of the way she was looking at me, right into my eyes. Also during that conference, she told me to change my thesis statement to a completely difference one, but when I did that in my final draft, she said that my thesis statement did not answer the question I was triyng to answer. In brief, I have to say that Prof. Fleischer is a good teacher who has, however, too high expectations of us as writers and therefore makes it impossible to get an A in her class.
I'm going to give Daniel the benefit of the doubt and say that he has yet to "grow into" being a professor. Most of the professors at CU have been teaching for decades while Daniel is still relatively new to the profession. His grading system can be completely illogical. Don't expect to understand your grade (and don't expect practical comments on your rough drafts). I actually thought that Daniel's lessons were well-prepared and I agree that few professors are quite as patient with their classes. I think that Daniel has the potential to be a high-quality professor in a couple of years (so maybe hold off on taking his classes until then).
One of the worst "professors" (she's at Columbia grad school) I have ever had the misfortune of taking. While she is very knowledgeable in her own field of fairytales and indeed in that of classical Greek literature, she has absolutely no idea how to present the material in an interesting and engaging way to her class. She is incredibly young, and therefore feels the need to assert her intellectual superiority in the form of absurdly high- brow and unnecessarily lofty speech which is in fact only to cover the fact that she is far too nervous to be teaching yet. She comes in to class with a yellow legal pad filled with notes discussing everything from the Hymn to Demeter to "first off, I'd just like to wish everyone a happy fall" (this is no joke, it was literally written down word for word on her yellow legal pad). She has no idea how to create a forum for an interesting and involved class discussion, indeed most of us in the class agree that we enjoy the readings before class... and after feel as though we can never look upon them again. For those of you who thought this was a "classics" course (we read everything from Homer to Shakespeare) be forewarned! "Prof." Pilinovsky took two weeks out of course to discuss... feminism! That's right, not feminism within Greek culture, or within the literature we were reading, but contemporary feminist literature. Something I was very confused about as I was under the clearly mistaken impression that I had NOT taken Women and Culture. Though a very nice person, Helen Pilinovsky is not ready to be teaching, nor do I believe should she ever force a class on another group of unsuspecting freshman again.
Prof Pilinvovsky rocks! She's technically working towards her doctorate, but her knowledge is already so extensive that it blows people away without making them feel degraded or stupid. She's really young (so she makes an effort to keep lectures not too dry), she's flexible about deadlines if you talk to her and she's willing to discuss pretty much anything with you (majors, her thesis about bridging eastern and western fairy tale archetypes, life in general). Her assignments are legit - its not really the best class to totally slack in (believe me, it will show up in your paper if you dont read), but she's fairly generous with grading. Plus, she's cool. She brought our class cookies one day and actually seems to care about what students think. The only downside was that our class discussions were pretty slow and awkward, but that could very well be the 9am start time. I highly recommend Legacy or a FYS with her, so go to class, do most of the reading and make a couple good comments in class and you'll get a lot out of it.
Ms. Laizik was one of my favorite professors this semester. She has a great understanding of all of the readings that we did, does not give busy work, and facilitates good class discussion. She does not give any quizzes or tests as long as discussions in class show people are reading (she didn't give any during the time I took her class). She is extremely understanding about moving deadlines if people are feeling overwhelmed and giving extensions, and she's extraordinarily nice.
Likeable, nerdy, and ever so slightly narcissistic, this definitely felt like a class with a graduate student, but not always in a bad way. For example, with all of his own work, he's not as eager to dole out lots of essays. It's a student discussion-fueled course, but he really enjoys talking too... Good grades on re-writes are easy: insert and elaborate all the ideas he suggests. He's also exceptionally understanding about giving out extensions. The class itself can seem like a chore unless you manage to get really into it. In the meantime, Karl's a fine teacher.
Mr. Bird is a funny one, that's for sure. He's pretty inept at leading class discussions, since he doesn't ask many questions that draw people into them, so he just ends up talking for almost the entire time. Our discussions about novels always left me bored out of my mind, but on the other hand whenever we discussed poetry he did a fine job and I always left feeling I understood more than when I came. Given a free rein in many classes to just ramble, he often seemed to be trying to shock us with cursing and talk about sex. His saving grace in long and boring discussions is that he's a very funny man, and would come out with the most random statements. Once he said, "Is Frankenstein, like, a gigolo? Did he go back to Zurich and hang out with all his gigolo friends?" What? He also genuinely doesn't mind talking with students during office hours, and will engage you in a far longer discussion than you expected when you went to see him. His grading seems of average strictness, he gets papers back in a timely fashion, and doesn't mind giving extensions. Over all, going to class was a bore, but in terms of difficulty and a likeable teacher, one could do far worse.
Prof. Weinstock is one of the nicest professors I've had so far. She is always so enthusiastic about the material and about in class discussions. I remember when we went to the Cloisters, and maybe only five people from my class were able to make it, but she was still so excited about it. I loved how she would go on and on about all the artifacts and displays and then stop and be self-conscious about being too talkative. It was the cutest thing ever and just shows how much she loves what she's doing. Although the course did nothing to improve my writing as Prof. Weinstock, like the other reviewer said, left all the work to the Writing Fellows, I did learn a lot about literature nonetheless. And I really enjoyed the Seminar experience mainly because Prof. Weinstock is such an open-minded and non-condescending instructor, unlike my current FY-English professor... It's too bad I really don't like English, or else I might take another course with her.
Professor Fleischer is okay. I must confess that when I first met her, I hated her. My classmates would laugh after class while explaining to me how unhappy I looked and asking why did I roll my eyes so many times. But Fleischer definitely got better as time passed....and we took control of the class. Although many people found her to have a mono-optic view on the literature we read, Fleischer is not really so. If you give your point of view and can support it well, then she will agree with you...and if both sides of an argument can support it well, she'll agree with BOTH of you...and really, id rather she not take sides. I was constantly late for class but managed to pull a B+ anyway. She is a MAJOR stickler for grammar which was a complete piss off to me since we spent HALF of each class talking about the mistakes in various papers. And the paper did have to be written about a topic that she thought good, not the one you actually choose. But otherwise, I think the problem with the class was due more to the fact that Legacy is a boring class with readings that I've done three times since fifth grade (i.e. The Odyssey) but if you interject your opinions and participate at least once every class, you'll do fine. Also I give her props for taking over my class after Professor Baechler passed away. She was compassionate and did not complain.
Arrogance is the word that comes to mind when asked to describe Steinkoler. I got to know her through the many visits to her office hours and she really is a very intelligent, capable woman who is just full of knowledge regarding psychology, literature, and politics. But hit on a topic that she doesn't know much about... and she will somehow link it to something she can talk about and then go on for another hour. She loves to hear herself talk and loves to win arguments. That said, she is a great lecturer, she can go for hours on interesting topics and I found everything she said to be fascinating. But first-year english at Barnard was designed to be a discussion-based class, where students can exchange OUR ideas about great works of literature rather than listen to a professor drone on about her ideas (which she seemed to believe was the only right answer). Example: I spent about 2 weeks writing my first paper, exploring creative ideas and doing a lot of research to back it... and she returned it with a D+ written on it. So I re-wrote the paper in one night, reiterating everything she lectured about the book in class and reinforcing her opinions and ideas and got an A. I would happily go to her lectures, but in my opinion Barnard made a mistake when they asked her to lead a discussion-based class.
I can't fault Daniel for the class being boring. It's impossible to make all of that material interesting, especially since nearly everyone in the class has already read at least some of the books. I give him credit for introducing bits of information that I was unaware of, but that helped make the material more clear. He's a better prof than most, but he isn't the best I've had. In short, don't not take a class just because he's teaching it. The guy did his best, it's just my class wasn't particularly interested in the subject matter.
I haven't really made up my mind about Professor Weinstock. She's nice, and she fascilitates a good discussion. She got really excited about some of the material. I didn't feel that there was much direction in terms of what she expected on the papers. She left that to the writing fellows, and then I was always downgraded for not doing what she wanted...maybe that's not fair to say since it was my first college-level lit course, so something more is expected. However, when you can find that she is available, I advise discussing your paper idea with her first to get some feedback and focus. And participate in class--she likes that, and it can be really fun.
I hate to admit it, but I did enjoy Daniel's class. While many of my peers slept straight through the semester, literally sprawled and drooling on the table right next to him, I absorbed quite a few chunks of wisdom from the guy. He is definitely a teacher that does his homework. He always came prepared to class with carefully analyzed passages to talk about and often brought up really interesting points I never would have thought of on my own. With the load of books we have to pack into the semester, who has the time to consider that Homer spares the bard in the Odyssey from murder? Daniel does the work of careful reading for you. Although I admit, I had days when I looked at the clock every other minute, I have to give him credit for his well thought out lessons (and incredible enunciation!). On the other hand, though he brought interesting points to the table, he didnÂ’t do a great job of involving the class in conversation. He certainly tried by asking us many questions, wanting our view and opinions, but somehow he couldnÂ’t ever start that rousing debate English teachers seek. If you do speak, he listens carefully, and your point will be acknowledged with an "excellent", or at least a "great", but in my class, people would rarely contribute. Oh what patience Daniel had! He could wait through whole, awkward minutes of silence before he would give up on us answering. His tolerance was almost maddening at times when half the class wouldnÂ’t show up some days and he wouldnÂ’t say a word, or people would practically fall asleep on top of his notes and he wouldnÂ’t so much as give them a nudge. He is such a nice guy you should almost feel guilty not taking this class.
Daniel Leonard does not seem to expect much from his students. It doesn't matter how hard you work, he will give you the same grade. You can write a review before class or spend time on it and care about what you are writing and you will always get the same grade. He doesn't care if you attend class or not so most students take his class as seriously as he does. I did not learn how to write at all. If you want to learn go to the writing center. With him there is no hope in learning how to write.
This class made me want to kill myself. I don't know who designed the syllabus for First Year English, but it's awful. They ask you to read a million things, and you barely get to discuss them before you have to move onto the next. I barely read most of the books, except for the things I had to write papers on. At first, Professor Ciolkowski seemed like a nice person, but then she kind of wasn't. When meeting with her about papers, most of her suggestions were very vague, and it was like pulling teeth to get something further out of her. The paper writing was hell. Sometimes I found her condescending too.
Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you take a class with Steinkoler. She may know about Freud and psychoanalysis, but does not care much for English literature itself, which this class should be about. She mixed up characters, read off disorganized scribbled notes, and totally ignored a comment if it conflicted with her ideas. An extremely hilarious moment in class was when she gave us an overview of Greek history; what she did was print off a timeline from the Internet and picked up important events and nervously read them to us--One good thing about this woman is that she knows A LOT about NYC; she'll give you tons of info on lectures that you can attend for extra credit (of course, on psychoanalysis but these for the most part are really good), museums, operas, and even tango classes. Her grading isn't that bad; a bit strict on the first draft and she only has minimal office hours which she skips when she's "tired", but not that different from other First Year English profs. She's pretty lax with deadlines; she'll tell you that she only extends deadlines for emergencies, but if you give her a pretty good reason she'll give you an extra week pretty easily.
Prof. Steinkoler is a person who for all her intelligence lacks one thing, a heart. The woman is vicious in her criticisms which in no way are constructive. An example is once a student was absent and she proceeded to butcher her paper and call it "garbage" while constantly sighing in frustration and fixing her hair. She apparently forgets that she is teaching freshman in college who come from all walks of life and need help rather than bashing behind the back. If you want to listen to interesting commentary in regards to literature, take the class. Just be warned that her mouth and pen are her strongest weapons and that in the end everything she teaches is simply elegantly regurgitated and easily found in books on the literature we read.
REALLY NICE and sweet! She really tries to help you with your writing. She even emailed our class a long email asking us what we wanted her to do differently to help us more in writing. She also is really understanding about demanding workloads and will extend deadlines if you're swamped. I loved her as a professor. She's not the kind of professor who will yell at you if you didn't read. I didn't partiicpate much in class and still got an A, but it is important toshow her that you work hard on your essays. She is really open to meeting with you to help you on your essays. I met with her several times about my rough drafts any time i was stuck. She helped me find certain ideas to expand in my paper so that i could make the paper longer. And she's really cool with email. One time, during the weekend before a paper was due on Monday, I had major writer's block and couldn't expand my paper anymore. I just emailed the paper to her and she got back to me quickly with advise. She's also very understanding for writing recommendations. AWESOME TEACHER!!! Really nice! loved her!
I like him. He does a good job of engaging the class, and his looks are a definite plus (easy on the eyes!). He fills the class with many anecdotes, and it seems like he actually cares about teaching us. He's also very accessable outside of class. Any flaws exist with the class, not him as a professor. Legacy is a GREAT class to take for first-year english - it has the best syllabus by FAR! Paradise Lost, Candide, Frankenstein, Heart of Darkness, To the Lighthouse, Their Eyes Were Watching God, & many shorter works such as Freud or the Communist Manifesto. EXCELLENT readings everyone should read at some point anyway. I the problem with the class is that there is SO MUCH material, I don't feel like we spend nearly enough time on any of it. It also sucks that you can't see what professor you have when you sign up for the class, b/c Farmer is a pretty awesome guy. Just be forewarned - he gives the class a lot more work than the other classes. We were on our third paper when the other 1st year english classes were only turning in their first! & both drafts are graded :-/
One of the worst professors I could imagine. She is obviously intelligent, but also obviously cares nothing about her class at Barnard. Because of my interest in writing and literature, I was hoping for constructive criticism, or at least some form of critism. She, however, offered absolutely nothing in the way of commentary. Her discussion of the literature was also cut and paste (and read) from other people's commentary. A terrible class.
Frances Richard is the most ridiculously awful teacher in the English Department. The first couple of classes you will be amazed at how pretentious and rude she is, then you'll just learn to tune her out. Outside meetings involve her showing up late, giving you a couple of sentences of critique, advising you to read the Illiad (no matter what) and then leaving early. It's a shame because the syllabus is really good, but her presence is grating. Avoid at all costs.
Professor Levin is caring, sweet, and ready and willing to help. She is very accessible. I found her to be very helpful with my writing, she really walks her students through the process and makes writing a research paper practically painless. She also makes a different student lead the class discussion everyday. Despite that, there were too many long, awkward silences when no one had anything to say. Overall, a good class, just not the most exciting one.
Professor Levin works very hard for her classes but information packets do not make a course. She is very informed of scholarly opinion and background information but has little worth remembering in the way of analysis. She talks a lot, often at the expense of your ideas, and goes to town on your papers, but dont expect to improve your writing dramatically, especially by her standards. Get used to the phrase "B+ is a REALLY good grade in MY class." and also empty out your inbox for her flood of emails...Shes not the worst teacher in the world, and obviously appeals to some students, but i found her class an excruciating experience.
Aloof, sometimes cold, and absolutely brilliant. If she doesn't have tenure in 5-7 years, Barnard is losing out. Remarkably astute comments on papers; is able to pinpoint the exact weakness in a thesis and always has constructive criticisms. Seems to know unending amounts about the historical, social, political, and economic situations which impacted upon the literature, and knows exactly how to synthesize all of these different factors and then to relate them to the literature. Always poised and in control of the discussion, but makes sure to focus during first 15 minutes of class on eliciting reactions to the literature. But she's not for those who rely on a gregarious, Mother Earth-esque English teacher. She isn't very personable, which even her incredible fluency and knowledge can't always alleviate.
Great class. The material really grows on you and you'll even find yourself enjoying it sometimes - Candide, come on, it's great. Prof. Ellsberg is great, so great in fact that you'd wish she's stop being late and TEACH more. However, the material she teacher is extremely fascinating/relevant/helpful. Really improves your writing and teaches you what not to do ever in barnard, such as include the word states in your essays. If you're going to take this class, take it with her. Soooooo low stress, fun class. People actually voluntarily chose to add an extra class to the end of the semester. Definitely will take another class with her.
i actually had Frances last year, but she's so awesome that i think she deserves my review. She is quite amazing. the degree of her erudition is almost unbelievable, especially given how young she seems. i loved listening to her talk; she seems so well-versed across disciplines, and can explain anything. she's one of the most brilliant professors i've ever had, and technically she isn't even a professor yet. she is very attuned to each student's strengths and weaknesses, and she won't prod anyone into participation. her comments on papers are always right-on--she knows just what to look for. she can really help you understand writing and reading as participatory and dynamic. really, i swear. i hope she gets an awesome professorship, because she deserves it more than anyone.
I thought she was a really good teacher. Classes dragged sometimes, but she didn't force anyone to participate and gave really helpful, extensive comments on all papers. She took attendence every class, which was annoying, and shes a hard for fair grader. For first year english, not as bad as I expected.
Prof Richard is one of the best English teachers I have ever had. Take advantage of the private meetings she offers to students. She comes to class prepared- presents historical info- provides good beackgd of the criticism written on the work at hand... but she opens the floor for comments and questions. She is one of the most eloquent persons I have ever encountered. Expect B+s on your first paper (if it's really good) and youll prob work your way up to an A-. She is not an easy teacher, but you def. come out of the course with a solid background of the diff periods in the development of literature and a nice survery of the various works composed within each one. SHE ROCKS.
Shes pretentious alright: British accent, well dressed, wife of Quigley, but shes a nice down to earth lady. She'll go to plays with you, invite you over to her house, and let you meet her kids. HOWEVER, she's a hard grader. She lies when she says that she grades from class participation, response papers and presentations - she only cares about PAPERS. Yep, shes a harsh grader and gettting a B+ is an accomplisment. It's a hard class to get an easy grade, but she's caring and you do learn in the class. So access yourself.
Professor Denison though offers little guidance in terms of class discussion (the students do it all). She seems to put little effort into grading papers, and the effort she does put in is to correct the odd grammatical error. Her seemingly false British accent can be unnerving, but she's friendly, so her course in not unbearable. This is a mediocre course at best.