course
Race in the Making of the U.S.

Mar 2013

I've never left a review on CULPA, but Kellie Jones inspired me. She is without a doubt the worst teacher I had in four years at Columbia. She taught a class on Latin American Art. Her lectures were dry, and failed to bring any of the enthusiasm or joy that the work deserved. I left the class each day feeling like she never actually said anything of substance. I was very disappointed by her class.

Dec 2011

In my four years as a history major at this university I have never had such an awful class. We were assigned about a book a week, but we almost never discussed the actual readings-- the class mostly consisted of the students going around discussing instances of personal discrimination. Or watching movies. Or talking about current events. Or how the US sucks because we occupy everyone or something and so we deserve whatever bad happens to us. Yes, it was one of those classes. Bottom line is-- don't take this class if you want to learn or discuss anything of value. No matter how hard you work or how excellent your final paper is, it won't matter. Grades are random and she will never respond to your emails. She is THE WORST professor I've ever had, and I would never recommend this class to anyone.

Nov 2009

An argument against the critiques of Esch: 1) "She doesn't use facts in her lectures, only her opinions" No. First of all half of what she talks about the most in class are POLICIES. These are real legislative documents that exist. Half of my notes for this class are various laws, acts, executive orders, or Supreme Court rulings. Also she frequently brings in statistics and raw numbers relating to the economic conditions of what period she is talking about. Also the reading she assigns is loaded with numbers and facts, but if that isn't reassuring enough here are some numbers for you to look at: 457579348577. That just happened! that is a fact! Feel better? 2) "Her lectures aren't organized" No. She has a microsoft work document up on the screen at all times that has key terms and dates that take place during the period she is discussing. If you find yourself in class and are frightened and confused simply lift up your head and point your eyes at the screen and then read the words, this should help with your feeling of bewilderment. 3) "She's biased!" Yes. Everyone is, just sometimes we don't agree with it or sometimes people don't make interesting or compelling arguments to back up their own arguments. As already noted in #1 Esch uses many facts and statistics as evidence for her particular interpretation of history. Every professor you take a class with is biased, whether its history, literature, economics, or science. There is no way to convey knowledge to other without interpretation and through this process we must use our own subjectivity. If you don't agree with her politics then fine, but to say her politics make her a bad professor is ridiculous. I've had many professors who are liberals and I don't agree with their politics but some suck at teaching and others don't, see the difference?

Aug 2009

Esch is a phenomenal and compassionate professor. After reading a wave of negative reviews from her American Civ class (um hello guys it's an intro course, it's gonna suck!) I felt the need to defend her as hands down the best prof I have ever had at Barnard or Columbia. She is extremely interested in her students and the level of commitment and concern she shows let's you know that teaching is definitely her calling. She's great, hands down.

Apr 2008

One word: awesome. Barnard got it totally right hiring her (now let's see if they can actually hold on to her). Her seminars are interesting, and she makes class discussions comfortable and engaging. Even better, I have never met a professor more helpful and approachable in office hours. (Added bonus: she is extremely down-to-earth...she's got all the brains minus the academic ego.) She takes a sincere interest in her students, and it shows both in and outside of class. Take a class with her, you won't regret it.