course
General Chemistry II

May 2021

Min is a good person, but his teaching skills are subpar which I understand cause he definitely focuses more on research. He reads from his ppts pretty fast (positive side is that we almost always end early by ~10 min). I ended up not going to lecture by the halfway point of the semester and would read the ppts myself and only watch the lectures if I didn't understand what was going on. The ppts themselves aren't horrible - they're just a regurgitation of the textbook plus some extra sample questions. His way of class engagement (optional) is asking people what the next step/answer to a sample problem in the ppts is, and he does have quite of special way to verify if you truly understand the answer or not: he continually asks you why the answer you chose (correct answer), not another answer, making you second guess yourself. It's not arrogant or egotistical in any way, he's just trying to make sure your understand the logic behind solving what he calls a "standard question." One thing that everyone probably hated was that he assigned all the odd-numbered textbook questions as "homework" (not graded, just practice)... there are ~180 questions per chapter and every midterm has ~2-3 chapters of information on it. No one has enough time to do all those questions. Min also only gave 1 practice exam per midterm, so I had to rely on Savisky's old exams to make sure I covered/reviewed all concepts before each midterm. The quizzes were horrible. They were only 2 questions long (4 points total) and normally 1 mc for 2 points and 1 mc with multiple answer choices correct (didn't tell you how many) for 2 points. Considering 1 point on a quiz is 1 point of your overall grade, they're pretty bad. Also, some midterm/final questions were also pretty convoluted. Best bet to study is his practice exam and Savisky's old exams. It's not worth your time during finals to do all the textbook questions. Pro tip: if you think you're doing badly, everyone else is also doing badly. You don't have to shoot for a good raw score for this class, just beat the curve.

Apr 2018

I personally would not recommend this class if you are a person who needs a helpful professor. Wei Min just lectured based off the textbook (at one point in the class attendance dropped severely as a result) and often made assumptions to what we should've already known about certain concepts which became unhelpful if you come from a background where you don't have this prior chemistry knowledge. I didn't find his TA's (Benedkit and Yupeng) very helpful either. I'd recommend finding a tutor either with CSA or outside if you can afford one. Actually, I'd recommend not taking this class to begin with, find a different section.

May 2014

Professor Zhu was great in the beginning of the semester, when he took the time to actually make his powerpoints and explain concepts clearly. As the semester moved forward, however, it was obvious that his enthusiasm for the course paralleled that of his students: very minimal (in a class of 100+ students, less than 50 students showed up to lectures after the first midterm). His exams are slightly harder than the practice problems he provides before each midterm; final was a copy/paste of midterms. Class is curved to a 3.20 (B average). Not a great time overall, but maybe better than the other professors.

May 2014

Professor Zhu was a good lecturer, and tied concepts together in a relatively clear fashion. However, his powerpoints were rarely mistake-free, which was frustrating during class and when trying to study from notes. Moreover, he was somewhat aloof on which topics were relevant to the midterms, which made studying unnecessarily difficult at times. Another drawback was the pacing in the course; we devoted three weeks and the entire first midterm to just one chapter, only to then rush through eight chapters in the remaining two-thirds of the course. Similarly, midterms varied wildly in difficulty, going from "too easy" to "too hard" as Professor Zhu tried to find the right median for Columbia students (his words). Having said that, he does provide a lot of practice material, assigned from the textbook, as well as 10-15 of his own sample problems before each midterm and the final. The class is doable, but not without its frustrations along the way.

May 2014

Louis Brus is nice enough but he is straight up an awful teacher. I've taken three years of chem (including AP chem) and still found the midterms to be a little challenging. Instead of going to class, it would be better if you just read the book, did the hw problems, and studied the lecture slides. The midterms are pretty hard, but the final is super easy if you make sure to go over the midterm answer keys. He literally uses a lot of the same questions for the final- so study those answer keys! Still make sure to study though, because not all the questions are from the old exams.

May 2014

Professor Zhu (affectionately known as XYZ) was a pretty basic professor. He speaks English far better than his name had me fearing, and he ran a solid class which covered everything that it needed to cover. He wasn't the best at covering the math-y parts of Chem II, and I found myself teaching myself most of them, but he was solid conceptually (though he just read off the slides some percentage of the time). He's very obviously a great scientist, and he spent the last day of class describing his research with solar cells (which he was quite passionate about). All in all, a decent class which left me without too many complaints.

Nov 2013

I really enjoyed taking Gen Chem 2 with Professor Gonzalez. I would definitely recommend taking his class to anyone who is deciding between chemistry courses. He is extremely organized, clear, and concise. All of the lecture notes are on powerpoint slides, which are posted before class. He was extremely helpful answering questions both in class and in office hours as well. I felt like there was more material covered in Gen Chem 2 compared to Gen Chem 1 so it was important to keep up with the material. That being said, Professor Gonzalez definitely made the material interesting and enjoyable. You definitely have to work hard to earn a good grade. The lectures were great enforcement to the textbook readings. If you read the textbook, go to lecture, do the problems in the back of the book, and ESPECIALLY the assigned OWL problems then there is no reason you should't get a good grade.It seemed like the difficult exam problems were similar to some of the OWL problems. There were weekly quizzes in recitation, but studying for them helped keep me on top of the material. They definitely paid off when the exams came around.

Aug 2013

As someone who have had a solid science background and a great deal of understanding of Gen Chem prior to enter this class, I will not try to speak for everybody. It's not fair to say that the exams are hard or tricky. How should I put this, a 40 year old vigin might find all women tricky and mysterious. A lady's man will tell you Humans in general are mysterious, but there are differences among inidividuals which can be significant. And I'm your lady's man.I usually get above 90% (raw school or ranking) on any given science exams. I would have to say, Beer's exam and grading schem are by far, is one of the most straightforward out there. Too straightforward for my lady's man's taste. I love getting the kicks in hard exams--Beating standardize tests is a hobby of mine. Beside lacking the kicks, the problem with easy exams is that you can't secure your spot high on the curve just by being on top of your materials. There are just way too many people gettiing above 23 out of a 25 point exam. You can know all the tricks and materials. But one misread of "NOT" will destroy your Z-score by a minimum of 0.2. It's not a problem is you don't aim for above 22. For the easy exam will get you an easy B+ easily. Beer's lecture is perfectly sensible, logical and concise if you are prepared in advance, but I can see why it might be hard to follow if you have absolutely no clue what he was talking about. My suggestion: just quickly read through every words on the chapter PRIOR to class. It takes no more than 30mins, and you don't need to try understand anything.

May 2013

I came from Parkin's class which was a great experience compared to this class. Don't think you can get away with just going to the lectures. I made that mistake. Review review review the practice problems, the quizzes, and reach out to your TA's. I had Lea and she was honestly a life saver. I can't say I appreciate the professors' teaching style. Both are a lot of derivations and not a lot of showing how to actually solve the problems that would be asked on the exams and quizzes. Lea helped to summarize things and get concepts down. I disliked this class especially more since it was an early morning class. I found most lectures to be dry but I found Kaufman's slides to be especially more helpful. Gonzalez's tests were nasty hard. i suppose it could be worse but it also could be a lot better.

May 2013

This class is a drag, but possible to push through. Kaufman and Gonzalez are both excellent lecturers who have a great grasp of the material, which doesn't seem too hard at first when you are talking about the ideal gas law. Unfortunately, the exams are insane. Recitation can be helpful to understanding the material, but the quizzes always contain curveballs that require extensive preparation from questions in the book or assumptions that aren't spelled out for you. Many of the quizzes had an average of about 1.5/3. OWL questions are somewhat helpful in preparing for exams/quizzes. Be prepared for questions on exams that TAs even have some trouble solving. Gonzalez's tests in particular offer a particular brand of cruelty that makes you question taking the course itself. Several questions on Gonzalez's exams are trick questions that throw you off completely, and on other questions you have no idea which principles to apply or how to set up an equation. This is particularly true when studying acid base equilibria and titrations. Read the textbook or seek out other resources if you want to gain a better understanding of the material, (though Gonzalez takes his lectures from Zumdahl itself) but don't stress too much about this course because the exams and quizzes are difficult for everybody. Do all the practice problems on OWL and many problems in the book, and you'll do at least the average (or better) on exams and quizzes. The class is curved to a B/B-. TAs are hit or miss. I had Lea Benkoski, she was pretty good at explaining material but said we needed to study more when we only got 1/3 on her impossible quizzes. She expected us to have the background and experience of upper level chemistry students who studied in France, as she did. I think quizzes were the same in every recitation. Good luck.

May 2013

Coming from David Reichman's Gen Chem I class, this class was very organized and well-run. Professor Kaufman taught the first half of the semester, and her lectures were clear and presented along with comprehensive slides that were posted prior to each class. She handled questions well, she was nice, and she wanted to make sure we understood everything. Professor Gonzalez took over for the second half of the semester, and his slides were the exact same format as Professor Kaufman's, so the class did not feel disjointed even though the professor changed. Like Kaufman, Gonzalez presented clearly and was very open to questions. Overall, I'd say both professors gave me a positive in-class experience. Each of their lectures were interspersed with iClicker questions designed to keep us engaged and to make sure we were understanding the material. I found that they were helpful, and if my mind was drifting away from chem, the questions would help refocus me. They weren't too hard, and you could talk about them with your neighbors. Plus, if you get 50% or more correct and you happen to be one of the top 3 people in your grade range, you get bumped up to the higher grade. (i.e. if you had the second highest B+ in the class, that would become an A-) Honestly, coming to the lectures was not enough to do well in the class. That said, the trick to doing well was *not* reading the textbook. Instead, the key was to do as many practice problems as possible. Both professors posted problems on OWL, and I did nearly every problem that they posted. I would do the relevant problems before each recitation quiz, and then I would do any remaining and relevant OWL problems before each midterm. Many of the questions on the exam that people thought were difficult were actually very similar to an OWL problem or two, so I found that doing the homework (even though it was technically ungraded) really helped me do well in the class. Note that you really need to know your stuff for the midterms, but if you know how to do all the OWL problems, it will ensure that you know your stuff. Overall, I had a very positive experience in this class. Sure, there were a handful of deceptive problems on each exam, but they don't make or break you, and they separate the men from the boys (or, to be politically correct, the adults from the kids). Pay attention, do plenty of practice problems, and you should be fine.

May 2013

The reviews for this course are mostly accurate, but don't let them scare you. The key is persistence. The exams are very hard with averages in the 50 to 65 range, there's not much of an opportunity for extra credit, and they curve to a B-/B. You will think the exams are unreasonable, but it just takes a lot of practice to be able to think through the problems the right way. Read the questions carefully and understand what they're asking you to do. Think of it like learning a language: do a little bit of work every day and eventually it will start to come naturally. It's best to start consistent practice right off the bat, but even if you have a bad start and mess up the first couple of exams, you can still do it. I got scores very close to the mean for all three midterms, but I buckled down and committed to practicing and I did really well on the final and ended up with an A-. Success is possible. Don't get discouraged. Keep trying.

May 2013

This class, especially if you are coming from Gen Chem I with Parkin, is harsh. Be prepared for a splash of cold water! In Gen Chem I, I was able to pull of an A with barely any studying; however, Gen Chem II with Kaufman and Gonzalez is a completely different story. First of all, the recitation quizzes in this class (with TA Nevette Bailey Chandler) were HORRIBLE. The quizzes ranged from incredibly hard (averages of 1.0-1.5 out of 3) to deceptively easy. Secondly, the midterms are much harder. The first midterm covers material taught by Kaufman and is harder but pretty straightforward. The other 2 midterms (Acid Base / Thermo) are based mainly on Gonzalez lectures. The Acid Base midterm has an average of 50 and was very tricky. The thermo midterm is not as bad, but still pretty hard. Kaufman and Gonzalez are both decent lecturers (very based on the textbook); however, Gonzalez has a penchant for creating tricky, deceptive questions. He even says so directly. You definitely have to work your butt off in this class doing problems and reading from the textbook.

May 2013

Honestly, don't take this class. Just don't. See if you can get another professor. If you can't don't even bother going to lectures because you won't learn anything there. Read the book and you'll learn more. Sure, there's "extra credit" if you go to lectures and answer half the clicker questions right, but that only applies to a maximum 20 people in the class because it will only count if you are in the top three of your particular grade band. Then and only then can you get bumped up 1/3 of a grade. This policy only adds to the sense of competition the instructors seem to encourage between classmates. The tests are designed to trip you up. They are demoralizing and disheartening and make you hate chemistry. This has been by far my least favorite class at Columbia. I took a 4000 level class in the same semester, and felt that this 1000 level course was harder. This class is simply unreasonable.

May 2013

I'm not sure how the other TAs for Gen Chem II with Kaufman/Gonzales are but I do know that if you get Nevette as a TA...switch. Now. Her quizzes range from incredibly hard and tricky to deceptively easy week to week and she has a slightly hostile attitude towards questions / everything. The quiz averages are around 1-1.5s and she gets really annoyed if you ask her a question that was not emailed to her beforehand. Overall, she isn't very approachable and the quizzes make me feel like complete poop afterwards most of the time.

Mar 2013

While professor Brus if obviously an extremely nice and intelligent man he was an inept professor – he knows the material all to well, but it’s as if he has forgotten what it’s like not to know the basics and is unable to translate this. The comments below are spot on about his lectures, they are powerpoints (that he apparently didn’t even make himself) that he reads in a barely audible monotonic voice. The biggest issue with his teaching style was that there was not a course syllabus and he did not put the slides up before class or let you know what chapters were going to be covered- that would have allowed you to prepare for class so you could attempt to follow along. I found it more helpful to spend the lecture time going over the previous work, waiting for the reading assignments to be posted and then teaching myself the material before deciphering his lecture slides. By the end of the semester 90% of class was not showing up to lecture – it was pretty sad. Also the fall semester of 1404 is about 90% engineering freshmen that seem to have a really good grasp of the concepts ahead of time, so if you are not in the boat be prepared to work a bit harder to stay in the curve. He doesn’t give out practice midterms for the exams so you have no forewarning of what the exams are going to be like. He said he didn’t have a big enough test bank to give out practice problems so my advice is find the old tests and learn what the concepts are from there because he can modify the question slightly to get a different answer. He also apparently didn’t give any information to the TAs prior to exams which made them ineffective for the review because they had to choose what they thought was the most important material and were not always correct. If you are taking this out of sequence with Chem 1 in spring and Chem 2 in the following fall I would say DON’T. Take Chem 2 in the spring with a better professor - the material doesn't draw heavily from chem 1 so you don't need to remember everything.

Feb 2013

This class was not only brutal it was also insanely useless. It's co-taught by Gonzalez and Bursten, who I've heard was only a visiting professor? Not sure since I can't seem to find him anywhere else. Professors: I learned next to nothing, mostly because Gonzalez is neither a good teacher nor is he particularly interested in motivating students to do well. His lectures consist of reading off of PP slides filled with material taken verbatim from the Zumdahl book, which means if you find Zumdahl confusing Gonzalez ain't gonna make it any better. He doesn't work out any problems on the board; he literally just reiterates the steps in the textbook. He peppers his lecture with supposedly engaging clicker questions but really they're a waste of time since most people don't know what the hell is going on since he doesn't actually teach the material. The clicker questions are supposed to help bump you up but that's only if you're one of the top 3 at the cut-off, which means the rest of the people are SOL. To make matters worse he tried to feed us this inane lie about the chem department enacting a policy that prevents professors from posting exam answers online. Consequently, the only way to get answers for practice exams (which ultimately do NOT help you study for the exams since those p.exams were written by a different professor) Gonzalez hosted these ridiculously timed review sessions (read: day before exam) where TA's (Gonzalez was always MIA for his own review sessions go figure) did nothing but put the exams up on projectors and then waited for us to scribble everything down. Everyone pretty much whipped out their iphones, androids and iPads and started taking pictures after we realized the TAs were only going to let us have five minutes per page. This "department policy", my friends, is pure and utter BS. Beer's class not only got their exam answers, they got them days before the exam. Moreover the O-chem I and II professors released the answers to their exams days before as well! Bursten is by far the better lecturer. He's passionate, engaging and he did a TON of practice problems on the board which meant most people did better on his exam even if it was insanely difficult. I'd prefer to have him teach the entire course than to split it between the two of them. Bursten also used clicker questions (those were a doozy but then again it is thermo). Exam: Hard. Tricky. Confusing. That's pretty much all there is to it. Gonzalez was obsessed--OBSESSED--with trick questions. He admitted so himself. He seemed inordinately pleased when the average dropped to around the 50s; he told us this is where the average is supposed to be. Say what now? His exams were so difficult, the TAs who mock took them, struggled. My TA at one point just told us to try our best and to stop stressing because most of the questions are designed for people who had studied the same material before in-depth (i.e. AP chem peeps). I honestly wish I'd taken Beer's class. I saw his exams. They were straightforward and made sense. Their averages were in the 70s which is appropriate for a G.Chem II class. My friends in his class had less stress; they couldn't figure out why I was running around the chem building like a headless chicken until I showed them one of Gonzalez's exams. That set them straight.

Dec 2012

This was an easy class targeted at engineers who knew basic chemistry, but didn't need it for their major. Most students in the class already know the stuff from AP Chemistry or similar classes. In fact, I had already studied Organic Chemistry in detail, but still took this class because I'm not terribly interested in chemistry. Prof. Brus' teaching style is lack luster. He switches off the lights and puts up a PowerPoint - he's basically asking you to sleep in his class. Hence most people don't turn up to lectures. He puts up his slides online anyway, so it doesn't make a difference. There are also weekly recitations with a quiz which are far more interesting than the actual class. If you're not a Chemical Engineering, BME or Material Science Engineering major and if you don't have any genuine interest in chemistry, this class is for you. Don't expect to learn much though. Its sole purpose is to fill the chemistry requirement. Note: This class is about 80% the same as 1604 intensive general chemistry, but doesn't give you AP credit. So if the credit is important to you, go for that instead.

Sep 2012

It's hard to even begin this review, because I'm having trouble thinking of ways to describe how truly abysmal Professor Gasperov (PhD...) was. I mean, record-settingly, mind-blowingly, remarkably awful. In fact, I might almost give this class high marks as an anthropological experiment, or perhaps as a Teacher's College practicum on how not to teach a class. That said, it went on a little too long for the joke to be funny anymore (though watching the TAs struggle to make sense of what Vesna was doing at any given moment never got old). Prof. Gasperov did not know chemistry AND was really really bad at communicating it to us. A double whammy of terrible! And be careful if you ask a question—that's like employing a freeze ray that will cause Dr. G to stand in place for up to 45 seconds with a blank stare on her face before she proceeds to ignore you and move on in the slides (if you're very very lucky, she may repeat what she's just said while circling shit in the slides with her laser pointer, regardless of its bearing on your question). Fortunately, her tests are chock-full of errors, and don't necessarily address the material (just like Vesna! HEYO!). The only redeeming quality of this class was Joseph Ulichny, the TA. I'd much rather have him teach it, since he a) knows chemistry, b) can respond to questions without playing possum, and c) is extremely friendly and accomodating (and will know your name within the first 5 days of the semester in a non-creepy way). But hey, why not? Take this class! You'll love it.

May 2012

I was in the joint General Chemistry II section with Gonzalez and Bursten. I can't find Bursten on CULPA, so I'll just review him here, too. Gonzalez is a pretty good lecturer; much better than the lecturer I had for General Chemistry I, who will go unnamed. He's very knowledgable and his teaching style just jived with me -- he presents material in a very clear way. He can be a bit dry at times, but there are worse things an introductory chemistry professor could be. He uses iClickers, which I love because it really tests your learning. He also only puts up iClicker questions and answers in class, so actually show up to lecture! Bursten is just the cutest guy ever. He simply loves chemistry, and is always excited to do labs and demos. The format of his lectures is very similar to Gonzalez (i.e. iClickers, PowerPoint, etc.), but he can be a bit more confusing. I liked Gonzalez's teaching style better, but I thought Bursten's lectures were more exciting. So it's a double edge sword. I would definitely recommend this class for General Chemistry, though. I think as far as General Chemistry teachers go at Columbia, they're pretty good!

May 2012

Gonzalez taught the first half of Gen Chem II, Bursten the second half. Gonzalez: Sucks as a lecturer. Bursten: Good lecturer. Class: Pretty much every exam (3 midterms, 1 final) had 50% or lower averages. The TA's couldn't even get full scores. It was beyond ridiculous; the test questions are much much harder than anything covered by anyone whether the professors or the TAs or the assigned problems. Most people straight up guessed on 1/4-1/2 of each test. Clicker questions which are stupid and a waste of time/money b/c only the top 3 students in a letter grade get bumped up if they answer correctly 50% of the clicker questions. Both profs refused to release the answers for practice exams/actual exams. They created special exam review sessions where it was crowded with people trying to copy down every question/answer and Avoid these professors if you can. Everyone dumps on Beer, but at least his tests/grading is fair.

May 2012

Ruben Gonzalez is one of the toughest professors. He doesn't go beyond what the book says to explain the material more clearly. He is a nice person but unfortunately as a student he does not give you the impression that he wants you to succeed. Almost everyone in the class was looking for better ways to study for his exams but every time his exams were surprisingly difficult and not at all in the same style as the quizzes or assignments or study problems from the book. Therefore it made it very hard to stay motivated to do well in his class since he didn't seem to want us to by making the exams close to impossible and not properly preparing us fir them. Average on our exams were 50s and lower. He had 20 questions on the exams and 40 on the final. Every single question is challenging and was not the same style question of difficulty than anything we've seen throughout the semester. He did not seem to want to help us do better...making every question " tricky" which he thought was a good learning experience.

May 2012

Professor Bursten was a great teacher. He came to class with interesting ways to teach the material and was very engaging. He's very personable with the students which is great considering the size of this class. His exams were tough but at least they didn't seem impossible as opposed to other chem exams we have taken. He is very helpful during office hours and tries to make himself available to you whenever you need him. The only negative part is about the class itself and how it is structured. I wish we could have been given additional problems to study from to better be prepared for the exams but I don't think that was his choice but more about the way the class was structured before he came in ( which was mid semester). The exams are very difficult and you have to do a lot of work on your own at home to keep up. You need to use other resources besides the chem book to get a better understanding of the materials. You can also go to office hours which helps but it's not always easy to go to them. I would recommend taking him as your professor. He wants you to succeed which is a refreshing feeling.

May 2012

This semester, C1404 was co-taught by Professor Gonzalez and Professor Bursten. Professor Gonzalez taught everything up to Thermodynamics (roughly 2/3 of the material for General Chemistry II), and then handed things over to Professor Bursten for Thermodynamics and Chemical Kinetics. I found the first 2 months of lecture very frustrating. Professor Gonzalez puts very little effort into enhancing the material presented in Zumdahl. He takes his slide show presentations DIRECTLY from the textbook, including worked out examples and graphs. This makes his presentation redundant for anyone who bothers reading the book before class. If something doesn't make sense in Zumdahl, it won't make sense in lecture. Professor Gonzalez incorporates 1-2 clicker questions into class, and even the promise of a grade bump dependent on your clicker use wasn't enough to fill the seats of this 10:30am lecture. In order to obtain solutions/an answer key for practice exams or midterms, you were required to attend office hours. This was supposedly a policy enacted to encourage students to engage with the material, although several days before the final exam the head of the Chemistry Department said this policy had been enacted to prevent "exam stocking" by the frats. Mysteriously, this section of Chemistry was the only section for which this policy was enforced. Professor Bursten was a game changer for the last month of Chemistry. He taught occasionally as a substitute during the first two months, and then taught the remainder of the course (~4 weeks) following the 2nd exam. Professor Bursten came to class full of energy, with slides that looked nothing like the material in Zumdahl (I think he authored his own textbook a few years back). Demonstrations were plentiful, and he worked a lot of problems out on the board. This is probably why Thermodynamics "sticks" better in my mind: step-by-step problem solving during class, as opposed to following along on a powerpoint. However, just because he's an excellent lecture doesn't mean he is an easy professor. His clicker questions were challenging, and the questions he contributed to the exams could tie your brain in knots. However, I found it easier (and more pleasant) to learn from someone who clearly put a lot of effort into preparing for class and was eager to see students succeed. It was too late in the semester to see any appreciable difference in attendance, but those of us who were regulars in morning lecture appreciated Professor Bursten's enthusiasm. In sum, I think the Chemistry Department has some work to do in order to improve this course. The course should be taught by one professor throughout the entire term, splitting the course between two completely different teaching styles is frustrating for both students and professors. There should also be a department-wide policy about the use of practice exams/past exams. It doesn't seem fair that the evening class (taught by Dr. Beer) was permitted to work from old exams, but this new policy was enforced for the Bursten/Gonzalez sections.

Dec 2011

While Professor Brus is a cute man, I hated attending this class, as did everyone else I knew in the class. Most people didn't even show up because the lectures were so boring. He was definitely a knowledgeable man but his teaching method is ineffective and his voice is impossible to follow. If you want to do well, you have to spend a considerable amount of time teaching yourself from the textbook, which I do not think is fair. I was very jealous of all of the people who had recently taken AP Chemistry in high school--they were basically the only ones able to do well because they had already learned the material. I was also, however, genuinely disinterested in the material in this class but was required to take it as an engineer.

May 2011

First off, Prof. Kaufman –To me, she seemed like a good professor at first; she’s quite eloquent in lecture and her PowerPoint slides are aesthetically pleasing. Well, that’s before you realize that Prof. Kaufman appears to be lecturing from some sort of script that eloquently regurgitates the Zumdahl textbook. I can understand why some people like her lecture style. She’s super clear and concise about everything that’s on her script. Try asking her a question about the class material that asks about the “WHY,” as opposed to simply the “WHAT.” She seemed dumbfounded by questions asked by students that threw her off the script. That’s not to suggest she doesn’t know the answer to the questions that students posed to her. She was just very, very insecure in her teaching abilities and had difficulty conveying chemical principles (outside her script) to her audience. I agree with the previous review that Prof. Kaufman seemed standoff-ish at times, and she was quite unhelpful and awkward at office hours, where she struggled to tackle Zumdahl textbook problems on the spot. On the bright side, Prof. Kaufman did many demonstrations (which were more interesting than her teaching), used iClickers to attempt to engage the class, baked fudge for the class, and had a dog in her office, which relieved the awkwardness of her office hours and her very weak teaching skills. Next up, Prof. Gonzalez – He seemed to be more confident in his teaching abilities and his ability to convey chemical concepts to the class, and I thought he was the better professor.. Unlike Prof. Kaufman, Prof. Gonzalez was able to answer students’ questions and address their concerns / confusion with the course material extremely well…that is, IF you choose to ask him a question. He’s quite helpful in office hours and he’s a very friendly guy who has a clear command of the subject matter. Now here’s the problem. This guy, despite being a rising research star and his vast knowledge of the topics that we covered, made little to no effort to engage the class. Like Prof. Kaufman, Prof. Gonzalez’s lectures regurgitated Zumdahl, went over the same exact examples from the Zumdahl textbook, and, as previous reviewers suggested, his slides were peppered with typos. He did few demonstrations, started teaching with iClickers but seemed to have forgotten about them by the end of the semester, and spoke in a very, slow deliberate way that made the class quite boring. I found it pathetic how little he seemed to care about the class. If he put some more effort into teaching, he could really make a very good chemistry professor. I got an A for the class. While this class is co-taught by Prof. Gonzalez and Prof. Kaufman, we should add a third professor (the best one of the three) to that list: Steven Zumdahl. My recommendation is to study from Zumdahl and do as many practice problems with the solutions manual as you can. Mastering the Zumdahl questions will help you prepare for the curveballs on Kaufman’s tests. Test averages were fairly low for the midterms (~70 M/T 1, ~50-60 M/T 2, ~60-70 M/T 3). Quiz averages were atrocious (~1-2 out of 3 points for each quiz). So do work hard, beat the curve, and best of luck. You have a lot of independent studying to do.

May 2011

When registering for classes there were two second semester chem options. The first was taught by Gonzales/Kaufman in the morning and then there was this choice: Professor Robert Beer taught Mondays/Wednesdays from 6:10 to 7:25. Me and my friends contemplated which class to take and decided we would take Beer's class, thinking that it would be pretty easy because it's a night class so there would definitely be a bunch of post back people. Let me tell you this much. Taking Beer's class was THE WORST DECISION OF MY LIFE. First semester chem was really easy. I got an A in it without a problem. I know a lot of people had Beer for first semester as well and said it was a great class so it might just be the material. But Beer for second semester is the WORST. He posts all his notes online so there was never any point of going to class because he would literally read his notes word for word. Sometimes it sounded like he didn't even know what he was saying. He could barely explain some of the material himself.

Apr 2011

If you are a Post-Bacc, or a CHEM major, take this review into consideration. Robert Beer as a PERSON: seemingly amusing and funny, makes jokes in class, looks like a distant cousin of Robert Downey Junior. I feel like I want to be his friend. Robert Beer as a General Chemistry TEACHER: Completely 100% Sucky, Awful and BAD. He makes mistakes in lecture constantly and the TA's or, usually, other students, have to correct him. He rarely returns an e-mail. He is almost never on-time to office hours and often does NOT SHOW UP to his office hours. I know two people that e-mailed to ask if they could meet him during a specified office hour and he did not respond the to the e-mail and also did not show up for even one minute of his office hours. Also. He posts his notes on Courseworks. His notes - the ones you're supposed to study from - are chalk full of mistakes. If you are someone who goes to class, doesn't have many questions, and is just taking Chem b/c you have to take it and are maybe not necessarily interested in it as a subject, then this class is just fine. If you are a post-bacc, a chem major or someone who actually finds this stuff interesting and like to put in extra work, take another class b/c this professor does not put any effort into even pretending to care. Oh ya, also, he scheduled the third midterm on Passover this year which was the weekend after Easter, the holiday I celebrate; so instead of getting to spend time with my family b/c usually I go home for this holiday, or even getting to celebrate Easter for more than the 45 minutes I spent in Church, I got to sit in a library all day and look at my Chem textbook. Oh, I'm sorry, was it far too much trouble for you to look at a Calendar and see that the day "April 25" had the word 'Passover' in Big Bold letters? Or that 'April 24' had the word "Easter"? I'm so sorry that was such a hassle, asking a Chem Professor to schedule exams accordingly so that they are not on religious holidays (like Columbia ASKS you to do) is really just far too much to ask. Bottom line: He should not be teaching at an Ivy. I don't care where you got your PhD (i think he got his from MIT); be responsible and show up to office hours or answer an e-mail and stop making a million mistakes in class that other students correct (how confusing is that for the students that DONT get it??).

Sep 2010

Valentini is a wonderful lecturer and knows his stuff. That being said, I did not do well in his class. His exams are very tough and the material he assigns as homework is hard to decipher because he assigns work which he doesn't touch upon in class and then mentions that we don't have to know it for the exam.. so why assign it in the first place?? Regardless, due to the fact that I wasn't doing well I seeked his help and although he didn't help me DO better, he certainly showed concern and tried to strategize with me. He is very available to talk and it ended up being that we met weekly to debrief about the studying I was doing. He continuously tried to help me develop better studying habits in order to improve on the exams. He is very kind and entertaining. He wants to get to know his students and I truly appreciate this because that's rare in Columbia.

May 2010

Professor Kaufman is definitely improving as a teacher. He lectures were well planned and interesting, and she incorporated a lot of demonstrations to keep things interesting, as well as a bunch of clicker questions, some of which appeared on the finals. Two gripes: The first is that her lectures tried to encompass too much material, and so some important things she missed. The second is that her tests are HARD, with an average usually right below 70. She'll give you a chance by teaching you the stuff, but you have to meet her half way and study for the tests.

May 2010

This past semester, Glen Hocky ran what was without a doubt the worst recitation I have ever attended. The fifty minute long recitation was supposed to consist of 35 minutes of instruction and a 15 minute weekly quiz. Glen would usually start ten minutes late and then hand out the quizzes with 5-10 minutes left of class, making me habitually late to my next class. The resulting 30 or so minutes of instruction time usually consisted of him confusedly doing 1-3 homework problems on the board excruciatingly slowly and without much coherent explanation. The quiz medians were usually between 40% and 70%, further showing how even after a review session with Glen covering the same topics as the quiz, nobody really learned anything about chemistry.

Jan 2010

Although she is very clear and well spoken in lectures, she spends an excessive amount of time deriving equations. The homework problems she picks out of the text seem to be the most time consuming of them all. She also requires you to be clickers that you don't really need in class as it is not really "required". She is still new and is confused on what is suppose to be done in a gen chem class here. She loves confusing, time consuming calculation problems, so expect to do a lot more work in this class than beer's class. Oh and her 10 quizzes are a bit excessive. Beer's class only has 6 quizzes and they get to drop 2 on top of that. Kaufman wants her TAs to give 10 quizzes (and you get to drop 2). Not sure what her logic is here, but again, Kaufman loves to put her students on busywork.

Oct 2009

George Flynn is like a grandfather. The grandfather who Dad makes you visit every year even though it's somewhat agreed that nobody really likes him and his bitter attitude. He tells the same war stories over and over, long/winding/dry anecdotes about the good old days, and even though we pretend to like his famous shepherd's pie we all know it tastes like a rotten taco. Do not go to class. Really. His lectures are filled with units that chemists don't even use anymore (ergs? really?) and confusingly worked out problems. Watch the attendance drop, halfway through the semester there were literally about 30 people in lecture. Just do the problems. The exams are a bit tricky, but not impossible by any means.

Aug 2009

I had a split semester with Gonzalez and Kaufman. It was his first time instructing here and he taught the second part of Thermodynamics. I agree his slides were flawed nearly every lecture, but then again so were Valentini's and he is the head of the department and arguably a genius. I'm not so concerned with algebra mistakes. My concern lies in the instructor's ability to engage students in order to present the material they are tested on. Gonzalez does just that. He doesn't stray from the material too much in theoretical discussions, although some may enjoy that; he gears his lectures directly to the subject matter and leaves ample office hour time for those who may have deeper questions. He seems to take his examples directly from the book. He has a friendly demeanor and stays after every class to answer questions.

May 2009

It's hard for me to know where to begin talking about Gonzalez. He is so incredibly awful, from his poor lecture slides (full of typos) to his poor lecture delivery (monotonically reading it off the slides) to his lack of email responses (two days before the midterm he emailed us telling us not to email him as he had gotten too many messages and didn't have time to respond). Honestly, this guy is the single worst professor I've had at Columbia, and I don't say that because of my grade -- I got an A. Perhaps if his lectures were actually decent, I would have been more forgiving. But he literally took them right from the book (as in, copied it directly onto the Powerpoint), and STILL managed to make mathematical errors. Moreover, he didn't even manage to deliver them with enthusiasm and excitement. And I can think of only two demos he did in an entire 6 weeks he taught (he team taught with Kaufman). When I did this material in AP Chemistry, it was interesting and logical. When I did it with him, it was boring and illogical. A "good" day would have 40% of the class show up. This is the kind of person who should be kept far away from a classroom. If you have an option, stay away from this guy. It's not that he's that hard; he's just that mediocre.

May 2009

Professor Kaufman "team taught" her section this year with Professor Ruben Gonzalez. However, by team teach, she basically meant (unfortunately) that she would teach the first half and he would teach the second half. There was no attempt to have them do specific parts that they were especially knowledgeable/interested in. They just switched after the second midterm, which I found frustrating their teaching styles were so different. As for Kaufman as a teacher rather than the logistics of the class, I generally liked her. I found her perky and interesting and able to deliver cohesive and logical lectures (at least as interesting as GChem II will ever be). She kept a good pace, and generally had her lectures timed about right. That being said, I think she should NOT have used Powerpoint in this class (I know most of the GChem professors do). Mathematical operations/problems do not lend themselves to Powerpoint, and I never felt she was teaching as much as presenting/spitting out information. Still, for any problems she had, she was still much, much better than Gonzalez. Different league entirely.

Apr 2008

Stacey is very nice and her lectures are great but be prepared to study for about 20-30 hours a week in this class for her exams. Her exams are very time consuming and challenging compared to all the practice problems. Even though 30% of class was in C range and 17% in the D range, she still didn't curve the test grades. Be prepared for lots of work.

Sep 2007

Joseph was a fantastic TA. He was very nice, knew the material and always responded to e-mails. His quizzes required some studying, but they were fair, forced you to stay on top of the material, and helped you gauge whether you were ready for the exams (the questions tended to be easier than the exam questions). He obviously put some effort into his job, which is more than you can say about a lot of TA's.

Sep 2007

Flynn was a nice guy but his lectures were VERY boring. That being said, it doesn't really matter what his lectures are like because in my opinion there's no need to attend them. The trick to this class is to thoroughly do the homework problems and the practice exams. A lot of the exam questions were taken directly from the practice exams, and when I say directly, I mean directly. Sometimes he wouldn't even change the numbers. I did the practice exam problems twice before every test and got an easy A+. The main thing I liked about this class was that the exams were very straightforward, they were long but there was no trickery.

Sep 2007

Amazing TA in terms of teaching and explaining concepts, just awful at writing quizzes. Many suffered because of his extremely long and time consuming quizzes which were pretty much a combination of all the hard problems at the end of the chemistry book. To do well simply sign your life away to that garish blue book and do the problems over and over and over and over again.

Aug 2007

Terrible lecturer. Lectures are dry and hard to understand. Save your time and do HW and practice questions instead.

Mar 2007

Severin is this absolutely brilliant Swiss exchange student. He would be perfect for advanced organic chemistry - not for general. He is very nice but assumed you know everything. He is just too smart...but he does arrange office hours to help the utterly confused.

Mar 2007

Joseph is very nice and approachable. He's great with answering emails instantly and arranging personal office hours. However, he tends not to cover all the material for the exam (usually just the first third, but that is covered well). His exams nicely mimic the exam and thus are a good prep for them.

Nov 2006

This class was very easy, basically a review from highschool. There doesn't seem to be a need to go to his lectures - about a 10% attendance rate thoughout the semester - because really, he follows the textbook pretty closely. But, if there's something you don't understand, he's very nice during office hours.

Sep 2006

I was among the only people who ever attended class because lecture was confusing and worthless, and I ended up with a LOWER grade than my peers who did not attend class. Seriously, NOBODY went to class and really did better if they didnt come. If you take this professor's class, just DONT GO! Thats my best advise. Actually... even better, take a different professor.

Jul 2006

He is the worst TA I have ever had in all my years of schooling. He hates his students almost as much as he hates his job. He is mean-spirited, and lazy. No one should hire this guy.

Jun 2006

I know very few people who felt this way, but I LOVED this man. Don't get me wrong, everything they say about his lectures is true. They are a complete bore. If you tune in once in a while though, you'll see how funny this guy is. His tests are fair. If you do the assigned homework problems and understand everything about them, you will get at least an A- (the curve is VERY generous). Another reviewer stated that you could get an A+ by cramming a few days before. I would not count on that nor would I recommend it. I did very well but I worked my ass off. I would definitely recommend this teacher. He is extremely approachable and is dying to help anyone who asks for it.

May 2006

Flynn is certainly a nice guy. Much nicer than Friesner. Lecture, however, is a complete waste of time. All the information on his lecture slides are posted online, but you don't even need those. Just read the book before the exams and cram before the final for about 3 days and you should get an A+. Recitation is a waste of time.

May 2006

Professor Flynn is generally a very nice man. I have read some other negative reviews of him and I happen to disagree with them. It is true that his lectures are useless. He is usually 2 or 3 chapters ahead of his assigned homework and he often speaks on and on about calculus, which most of the class hasn't taken and is not tested. However, anyone who actually went to his office hours knows that he is incredably smart, nice, and helpfull. The class is not hard at all AS LONG AS YOU DO THE HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENTS. If you do only the homework assignments, you will get a B. If you do the paired even problems you will get an A-, if you understand everything you will get an A. The class is curved and anyone who doesn't do well only has themselves to blame.

May 2006

I could not agree with the previous review more. I could not have dreamed of a worse TA then Madhav. He generally came to class late, and then complained to us about having to be there at all. He rarely answered questions. When you did persuade him into answering a question, he gave the most convoluted crazy explanation any one of us had ever heard. Every time he spoke snickers could be heard throughout the class (and i was one of them). Whats worse, he did not give any of the quizzes back until the second to last week of the semester, so we did not know how we were doing.

May 2006

I was happy in Professor Norton's class. He doesn't really teach much in class that you can't get out of the book, but if you want to learn the material slowly, that's what he'll give you. I slept through a lot of the classes I went to. Actually I would fall to sleep, have a dream or two or three, then wake up and feel like I hadn't missed much, which was nice. Take the class. If you're good with chemistry the workload is light and if you're not, he's thorough and takes the lesson slowly.

Apr 2006

John is BRILLIANT!!! He is very helpful and supportive. Ann is really nice, however she isn't that knowledgeable of the material and couldn't answer many of the questions asked in her review sessions if they weren't from the material that she was assigned to review. (ie if she was leading a review session about chapter 10, and someone asked a question about a concept in 9, she usually could not answer it). So I suggest you go to John's review sessions and just pick up Ann's review session handouts. ;)

Apr 2006

Stacey is a very nice person with her helpful nature and encouraging words. But you will definitely need them for her class. I read a previous review that stated, "Brydges doesn't assume that you are a chemistry major," but from my experience with the course, she does. She told the class that she expects us to do about 10 hours of studying per week; however, I found myself spending over 20 hours a week on her challenging weekly assignments, reading the chapters, and doing the homework questions that she assigned. Moreover, her exams were VERY challenging!! Do yourself a favor, DO NOT think that you skip class and pass her exams because the tests are more challenging than ANY problem and concept in the textbook. So if you do wanna hang out with Brydges be prepared to put in ALOT of time studying and reviewing EVERYTHING that she offers (ie her old exams, chapter exams, her pp class notes, chapters, chapter assignments and her weekly assignments).

Nov 2005

easy...never went to class...crammed two nights b4...got an A he posts all his notes online...read them!! he goes over things not in the book and they show up in exams... ill take him again in a heart beat...

Sep 2005

Although Valentini was a friendly guy, he was an awful lecturer and a terrible professor. The ten or so positive reviews of him must have been from the ten people who bothered to show up for his class each week. Out of an enrollment of 120 to 130 people, only 30 or 40 people would regularly show up to his lecutures. Counting the number of people in class, in fact, was the only way I could stay awake. In the last couple of weeks I also stopped going, since all of his lectures were posted online. Although I received an A in the course, it was unnecessarily difficult and Valentini delivered painfully boring lectures. Unless you're entertained by stories of someone's pool and plumbing problems, you'll never need to or want to go to his class.

May 2005

Professor Brus is fantastic! I found his lectures to be very boring for the first few weeks - but once we got to thermodynamics - wow. Brus does a great job of enriching your knowledge of chemistry, and is very approachable. He's very nice and enjoys telling adorable little jokes. If you honestly want to understand the concepts behind what you are learning, enjoy chemistry, etc... Brus is the professor for you. If you are a pre-med, another professor would probably be better, Brus does not test very much on calculations...MCATS... Finally, BRUS IS NOT EASY (he is not hard), but he is not as easy as ONE CULPA review presents him to be.

May 2005

Professor Brydges is certainly an enthusiastic chemistry professor. She is very good at breaking hard concepts down into bite-sized, comprehendible pieces. She promotes working with your fellow classmates on in-class problems and homework assignments, which is very effective. She also encourages her students to form study groups, which is also helpful, especially if you cannot afford a tutor. She administers weekly homework assignments in lieu of recitation quizzes. This is can either help you or harm you. If you rely on your study group or your tutor to do the homework problems for you, you will be at a serious disadvantage because her exams reflect the difficulty and style of her homework questions. The up-side is you have a chance to really score great on the homework, which will help your average in the long run. The down-side is you may not be completely proficient come exam time. You know your study style. If you want an easy A, choose someone else. If you really want to understand the concepts and formulas behind those concepts, take Professor Brydges.

May 2005

If you have a strong high school background in chemistry, neither 2nd nor 1st semester general chem. should really throw any surprises at you. With that said, Brus approaches the material in this course from a very "different" perspective. As the other reviewers have noted, he is not interested in mathematical computations; he is interested in helping you to gain a fuller understanding of concepts. I personally believe that a true understanding of the concepts cannot be achieved without first understanding the mathematics behind the theory. If you very strongly prefer a more traditional approach to chemistry, I recommend Valentini. Otherwise, Brus is not a bad option. His lectures are interesting. They do not merely regurgitate the textbook; they provide a fresh perspective on much of the material. I did not find the exams to be all that difficult. Reviewing his notes is a must, as a great deal of his test questions come DIRECTLY out of his notes. In short, read the book for a basic knowledge of the material, then go to class as frequently as possible and be sure to study his notes before the exam. Some of the exam questions are very simple, such as: What's the formula for the relationship between gibbs free energy and the equilibrium constant? Yes, no joke. And if you don't know the answer to a question right off the bat, often the wrong answers are so blatantly wrong that process of elimination works really well. Overall, an okay professor with a unique approach to chemistry, and a very doable class. If you're looking to make the grade, Brus is not a bad choice. If you're more concerned with learning chemistry in a traditional/normal manner, go w/Valentini.

May 2005

Valentini is as reasonable as it gets for premed professor. His lectures are pretty straightforward, with the exception of one or two that digress into fields he's interested in. He follows the book pretty closely. Homeworks are not collected and can be done at your leisure. And contrary to what others are saying about his tests, they are pretty easy. Everyone took Brus this semester because they heard he was easier and got screwed because the means were pretty much the same in both classes, but Valentini actually teaches the material.

May 2005

Brus is an amazing guy. He knows his chemistry. He's very approachable, whether you have a question or just want to talk about the class. His lectures are basically straight out of the book so if you read the textbook and read his notes online,you should be alright. As said above, calculators aren't his thing - and is great if you don't know math! I wouldn't say his exams are wordy but sometimes he will try to trick you. I liked his class a lot more than Fine's. Take Brus, you will be happy you did.

Apr 2005

This lecture SUCKED! He is the most boring professor I have ever had and his tests are wordy and confusing. He doesnt make you want to go to lecture at all and certainly you dont have to. He posts his coffee stained horrible lectures online and from that and reading the book you should be fine. Dont bother even bringing a calculator to the exams, you wont be needing it since he would rather confuse you with his wordiness. He is a terrible professor and really scary to approach. Too bad too, because there is not much of a choice in terms of professors for chem unless Turro or McDermott are teaching, and good luck getting registered for that.

Oct 2004

Dr. K is a nice woman at times. Other times she has mood swings and can bitch at the students for no reasons. She, at times talks to her students as if they are 5 year olds. She is also anal about certain things. I liked the class but I disliked talking to her or going to her office hours. She def. needs work on her interpersonal skills.

Jul 2004

Prof. Valentini is such a nice guy. He genuinely cares about his students. He incredibly approachable and always willing to help you during his office hours. In addition, he holds a weekly review session, which is essentially a Q&A session for those who can't make office hours. He makes an effort to make himself available to his students. Since he makes himself readily available to his students, he expects that you master EVERYTHING for his midterms. His exams are mostly calculation based and make sure you know how to do the problems that are presented on his slides...they tend to show up on the midterms. His exams are a bit tricky, but his first midterm is a great indication of the types of questions he likes to ask. Yes it is true that he posts all of his lecture slides online and that most people did not show up to class, it is mainly because the class was at 9am. All in all, Prof. Valentini is a great guy and he is a wonderful teacher. You will definitely learn a lot in his class.

Jun 2004

Valentini is a nice guy. He is quite knowledgable and he can give clear lectures with interesting demos. He puts all the lecture slides online, which is actually a bad thing - it causes a LOT of students to miss class. Unlike Chem I, this class is very mathematically oriented. This is a good news for us engineers (we actually learn how to solve problems instead of simple memorization) but this is bad news if you are a premed. But don't worry too much. Valentini curves very nicely. Tip for success: read the textbook carefully, and do the hw. You don't actually have to go to the lectures except when he teaches thermodynamics and entropy.

May 2004

I don't know who has written some of these reviews, but Valentini is a terrible teacher. By the end of the semester, maybe 30 out of over 100 people would show up to lecture. I went in the beginning, but gradually went less often as I realized the lectures were boring and a complete waste of time. He teaches little chemistry and rambles a lot about plumbing, pools, etc. He lectures straight off Powerpoint slides and he puts them online, so as long as you read over the slides before the exam, class is unnecessary. His exams are definitely hard. You really have to understand ALL of the material and even if you do, he'll still trick you on a few questions. I got an A - in the class, but this was only because I did problems from the textbooks on my own. Basically, try to avoid Valentini, but if you can't, just plan on spending a lot of time teaching yourself chemistry.

May 2004

Professor Valentini really cares about his students. He spends several hours per lecture preparing for class. He makes time to meet with students, and grades fairly. The trick to doing well in his class is to dominating your TA section. Don't be afraid to switch sections to get a TA whose quizzes are predictable and which you can clobber. I never went to class and did very well.

May 2004

Professor Valentini is by far one of the best professors at Columbia. He tries to make every lecture interesting even though the material is boring sometimes. He does really cool demos during almost every lecture. He is very receptive to questions, even if they don't refer to his class. He is friendly and he really cares about the students. His exams are not easy but it you go to class and his office hours, you will do well. All in all, one of the best classes that I have taken thus far at Columbia.

May 2004

Brus is a slightly below-average professor, neither terrible nor great. On the positive side, he gives informative lectures and explains the theory behind the material in the textbook well. He also frequently dismissed class early, sometimes 20-30 minutes early. On the negative side, his lectures sometimes go off on lengthy tangents that don't really relate to the material in the course. His tests, although not excruciatingly difficult, have vague questions that can be very confusing. He was also disorganized--he never put out a syllabus only started posting lectures on the course website halfway through the semester. If you end up stuck with him, don't panic, but if you want a more structured, organzied class, look elsewhere because he will not give you that experience.

Apr 2004

In my honest opinion, I found Professor Valentini to be alright, wasn't the best professor I ever had and he wasn't the worst. After having Len Fine my first semester of G.Chem, I was relieved that Valentini's powerpoint presentations were clear, organized and informative and that he generally gets them up on the website with a day or two after lecture. The lecture generally consisted of Valentini opening the floor to some "stupid" (his words) questions about the material, he would crack a couple of jokes about his unpopularity with the undergrads that didn't come to lecture, would do a couple of demonstations and then he would lecture for the remaining period of time. The material is very boring and that was reflected in Valentini's lectures. Again, not the worst professor in the world, but at the same time, he would lecture on a topic for one or two lectures and would rush through the "real chemistry" and then he would spend what seemed like hours on irrelevant material such as testing the pH of dodge's pool. I would have preferred if the "practical applications" of chemistry were done away with and that we had more in class practice with questions and that more of the textbook material done were presented lecture. Our exams consisted of 25 multiple choice questions and I felt our first exam was very unreasonable. It was long, difficult and did not reflect the material we learned or were responsible to know for the exam. He doesn't curve the class and his grading ranges are too rigid. Overall, a much better professor than Professor Fine, but can bore you to death in lecture and seems a little unsympathetic regarding the difficulty of his exams. (Most people did not finish our first exam in 75 minutes (including myself) and when told that the exam was a little too long for the time alotted, all he could say was "well you should be able to do that exam in 35 minutes"). Most people said he was personable and approachable, I felt he was a little indifferent at times.

Oct 2003

Dr. K is one of the best professors I've had at Barnard and a really nice person as well. Her lectures are well organized and actually make chemistry interesting. She really seems to care that everyone understands the material and makes herself very available for help outisde of class. The small class size was a change from G chem 1, as students were expected to participate in class. This ended up being a good thing for me because it kept me on my toes and up to date with the reading. While the class atmosphere was a bit warmer than G Chem 1, you still need to put the time in and work hard to do well. Dr. K really notices who is making an effort and who isn't and if she thinks you're trying hard she'll do all she can to help you do well. A really dedicated professor!

Jun 2003

He's very knowledgeable, but also quite condescending. I met with him a few times over the semester and did not find him to be very genuine in manner. I did well, but his 3 professor system of teaching the course is the biggest cop-out by a professor I've ever seen in my academic career. Also, his TAs basically run the class. Being a post-bacc with a B.S. from the University of Miami and an M.A. from Tulane University and the University of Pittsburgh, I had the opportunity to learn from some highly respected professors at highly respected research instituitons. So I figured Columbia would be above and beyond these schools in terms of academics and professor ability. I am very disappointed to say that I was wrong in that assumption. And that the assumption caused me to waste thousands of Manhattan rent dollars that could have been put to much better use at many other schools. Columbia has the name, but not much substance to back it up, at least not in Professor Fine's Gen. Chem II.

May 2003

He is so nice and passonate about teaching, very funny too; his speaking frequency is about 2.5 times as Fine's, if you know what I am saying. Material is boring though, well no complains coz it is G chem you gotta go through the boring stuffs all the time....it is at least the most fun one among all premed requirements.

May 2003

Prof. Valentini is a great lecturer, and makes Chemistry easy to understand. He is also very responsive and always happy to answer "stupid" questions.

May 2003

"Will you be my neighbor?" That is the best way to describe Valentini. He would be perfect for teaching a class of 1st graders. He goes very slow and is very clear, and holds your hand through EVERYTHING. But that is a plus and a minus. You will sit there bored as hell if you already know chemistry, but if you don't know any you'll be thanking god Fine isn't up there teaching. To get a good grade you have to just use you "tool box" as he calls it. Basically, just don't go to class. Night before the test look through all his slides and memorize whatever is in gold and you're set for the exam.

Apr 2003

Adams is perhaps the worst teacher I have ever had. While lecturing, he spends several minutes drawing complex molecular diagrams, mistakenly assuming that the majority of the class can follow his bizzare teaching style. He wrote a devilishly difficult midterm, then sent all of his students a bitter and condescending letter at the end of the year. Avoid this class if you can--it's likely worth taking honors chemistry to escape Adams.

Mar 2003

Nice guy, clear speaker, fast but comprehensive lecture. You've got his class teaching fitness and food science more than chemi theories, HA, fun, i love this man!

Feb 2003

Do not take this class unless you have to!!!! While Chapman is a very good teacher, the material is HARD. It is absolutely impossible to do the problem sets on your own. The exams are impossible as well. The 9:00 lecture with 150 students puts you to sleep. Do not take this class unless it's necessary!

May 2002

Prof. Kujawinski (or Dr. K as she insists that you call her) was a new professor at Barnard this semester in the Environmental Science dept. - and although this was her first class she ever taught here, I found her to be extremely organized and very straightforward (i.e. understandable) in the presentation of some pretty difficult material. Miraculously, she made this class, which I had been dreading forever as the 2nd half of my lab requirement, tolerable, even [gasp] enjoyable at times! She shows a tremendous interest in the material that she teaches and is very patient with her students, even lazy non-science majors like myself. If you don't understand the material, she will go out of her way to help you and held thorough review sessions for each of the exams which definitely saved my ass (and my grade). Also, she tends to call on students randomly throughout the lecture so you'd better stay awake during that 9 a.m. lecture...