course
University Writing

May 2021

You cannot ask for a better UW professor than Prof. Schlauraff! Classes, even on Zoom, are always engaging, entertaining, and productive. More so, Prof. Schlauraff is always willing to offer guidance and help with any questions or concerns I had. She's truly a gem.

Apr 2021

Conor is awesome!! He seems a bit prickly on the outside lol but he's actually a real sweetheart and cares about UW. This may have just been a product of the Grad Student Strike which took 3 weeks of our course (course-wide post-strike policy was that P1 and P2 count and then P3 and P4 are automatic As), but he really really really really gave everyone wayyyyy better grades than we deserved. Our class DID NOT participate in the least. We could not write. We just failed epically as students. But Conor was still very generous both in class and with grades more than he had to be. Without the strike, I think we all still would have done pretty okay. According to a GroupMe poll, on P1, 5 kids got in the A range and 6 kids got in the B range. For P2, one person got an A+, 9 people got an A, 2 people got an A-, and one person got a B+. Although I think there's a mandatory or recommended grade distribution across all UW sections so maybe it doesn't matter? idk Course discussions were really nice. Conor made everyone feel as though they had valuable things to say and didn't spend too much time talking himself. He also basically ditched the textbook and just distilled the interesting stuff. The essays we read were almost all very compelling, although "Sweatshop Sublime" nearly killed me from boredom. Anyyyyywhoooo, take the class with Conor/don't try to switch out.

Apr 2021

I don't think Bo's teaching UW in the future so I'll be brief: he's everything you want in a UW professor. Interesting readings and discussions, lots of helpful comments on each draft, fair grading and expectations, interesting and fun occasional tangents, easy to talk to in office hours, and invested in students.

Apr 2021

Take university writing with emma, that is enough said about her.

Apr 2021

Loved her! She was a great and interesting lecturer, and led class discussions well, even though the class was on zoom. She would always make positive comments on students' contributions to the class which created great class conversations and an engaging environment. She was clear and organized with directions on assignments, and gave helpful feedback on our essays. She was very personable and understanding to our individual circumstances, and made the class pretty low-stress. The work she assigned was helpful yet light and didn't feel like busywork. I really enjoyed taking UW with her, and I never dreaded coming to class or doing assignments for this class! Overall, she's a pretty chill teacher but still teaches in a helpful way. It's the kind of class where you can get out whatever you put in... but getting a good grade doesn't depend solely on 100% effort all the time.

Apr 2021

Very sweet professor! I loved being in her class so much, she was so nice. Everyone told me UW was a lot of work so I was scared going into this class, but this was probably the class with the least work for me. She doesn't grade harshly at all, and is very helpful if you want advice from her. I am not a super huge fan of american studies which is what the class is themed around, but in her class you can still write about anything you want which was cool. Definitely take her class if you can.

Apr 2021

I had her for the contemporary essays section of UW. She is very nice and tries her best but is kinda awkward. I may have just been because of zoom/COVID and the people in my class, but it was dead silent all the time. She would ask a question and it would rarely be answered. She did not improve on getting our class to interact throughout the semester. Time in breakout rooms was helpful. Her grading was not terrible. I ended with an A- in the class even with getting two Bs on the first two essays (and I am not a great writer). She provided great feedback on my rough drafts that I was able to incorporate into the final drafts. Her lectures were not too helpful and you did not have to pay attention but they were interesting. She gave great reading material and essays to look at.

Jan 2021

I completely agree with the previous review. She’s a very smart and fun person and the classes themselves were often quite engaging. The essays were a different story. You can meet with her during office hours, which is helpful. But that is basically the only feedback you’re going to get. Don’t expect to get feedback on your first draft more than two days before the final draft’s due, and that’s being generous. She also didn’t grade the last three essays (of the 4 total) until after Christmas. I’d never considered myself a great writer but the grading was absolutely brutal, even compared to my LitHum essays. If you enjoy writing and revising on your own and aren’t too concerned about your grade (perhaps a good question to ask yourself is would you have taken UW even if it wasn’t required?), you’ll probably love her. If this is not you, I do not recommend it.

Jan 2021

If you want to become a better writer, Reid Sharpless is a great mentor and taking his class will definitely teach you how to thoroughly plan - or as he calls it "reverse engineer" - your essays rather than writing them in the usual caffeine-induced scribbling the night before the deadline. He is always willing to set up a call to discuss your essay in detail or give you other advice to help you in your writing. That said, his official feedback on your papers will be very vague and rarely contain any criticism, so I encourage you to set up a call with him because that's where he'll give the constructive feedback. Now to what you're here for: Reid is a harsh grader. Getting an A is something you really have to work very hard for. This is not an easy class by any means. Still, it is a class to take for those who really want to become better writers.

Dec 2020

(Also goes by Kat) Is super nice, flexible, and understanding, and a really cool person to boot! Obviously I have no other frame of reference, but I'd consider her an easier/nicer grader. After hearing all the horror stories about UW, I'm glad I had Kat as a professor and would definitely recommend taking this class with her!!!

Dec 2020

I do not think that professor Tsygankova is as bad as some of the reviews make her out to be. She isn't a "heartless robot", just more of an introverted writer type. For me, her UW section was just kind of boring. She would talk and lecture for large portions of class, and sometimes put you into breakout rooms and leave you to do an activity in the class google doc for a while. Attempts at discussions usually resulted in her asking a question, nobody answering for 30 seconds, someone saying a sentence to break the silence, and then her talking for 5 minutes. While she wasn't super engaging, the content of her lectures was overall pretty good, and she did actually teach me to become a way better writer. Also, her written feedback on drafts/final essays is very useful/informative, although for smaller assignments, her feedback looks like some heavy copy/paste action. It is true that sometimes, that introverted nature can make itself apparent. In office hours/conferences, she could sometimes initially seem like she didn't want to talk to you. However, if you ignored those vibes and kept asking her things and got her into it a bit, she would give you some actually useful advice/information, and would sometimes follow up afterwards with an email with even more useful information. I could see someone with more of a timid personality having trouble doing this, though, so if that's you, just write her an email. As far as grading goes, she doesn't grade easy, but it isn't super unfair. Overall, she wasn't really as bad as some of these reviews claim (at least for me). While I wouldn't actively seek her out as a professor, if you get her/have to take her section, it really isn't the end of the world.

Dec 2020

Eva is a very nice grad student who really enjoys teaching University Writing. One can tell that she cares a lot about her students and she is willing to help them as much as she can. As the other review said, sometimes her feedback might be a little misleading, but if you work hard on your progressions, it can be EXTREMELY helpful. She is also very approachable during office hours and she is willing to meet with you if need be. Take advantage of this. Her conferences can make a difference between a good and a mediocre grade. She makes the class enjoyable and not a pain in the ass as other University Writing professors. If you take it with Eva, it will probably not be an easy A since she is a little bit of a tough grader, but you will probably end up learning a lot about writing.

Dec 2020

Jason is a fantastic professor, and I highly recommend his section of University Writing. I enrolled in UW with slight intimidation from reviews on culpa, Reddit articles, etc., but after taking Jason's class, it turned out to be one of my favorite courses. Despite the semester being affected by a pandemic and being entirely remote, the environment was engaging. I learned a tremendous amount, and the instruction resulted in a noticeable improvement in my writing. Jason is extremely approachable, and I highly recommend taking advantage of his willingness to meet with his students as your essays will benefit significantly from his feedback. Each of my essays received prompt and valuable grading and in-depth written feedback. While Jason is a great instructor, UW is a considerable amount of work, and you'll get out of it what you put in. The papers get progressively more in-depth and time-consuming as the semester progresses. I met with Jason at least once, more often twice, before submitting each progression. Additionally, I met with the writing center for each of the four assignments and a librarian while working on P3, the research essay. I highly recommend using all the resources if you want to do well in the course.

Dec 2020

Matthew is a fantastic instructor for University Writing. I took his section of UW remotely during Fall 2020 and he was incredibly understanding about the challenges and difficulties of starting college online. The readings in his section are mostly interesting and he takes a great approach to stimulate discussions in class. He is responsive to emails and makes time to set up calls/zoom sessions for office hour 'visits' outside of the scheduled sessions. He is flexible with deadlines and very generous with extensions, especially if you ask in advance! Based on my visits to the Writing Center and anecdotal evidence I heard from others in UW, he is much more generous with his critiques and grading in general. I appreciated that he focused more on big picture parts and developing ideas over tedious minutia such as pointing out grammatical pet-peeves or strictly adhering to MLA formats. His critiques and comments were constructive and clear and I always felt that I understood what he expected of my draft in the next step of the writing process. There was never anything that came out of left field, especially when considering grading on the final drafts. He was expedient with returning drafts back with liberal amounts of comments. However, I do think he could have pushed us a little further in sharpening our writing skills throughout this semester. UW is, unfortunately, an unavoidable part of the Core but Matthew makes the class mostly pain-free and I definitely did learn a lot from him. Highly recommend his section!

Dec 2020

This was my favorite class this semester, and I can for sure credit that to Austin. He's super understanding and forgiving about essay delays, and he's always willing to meet to discuss your assignments or just talk over things. 100% recommend!

Dec 2020

Andy Jo is entirely the reason that I didn't drop out this year. She was extremely understanding, and is one of the kindest, most personable people I have ever met. She is dedicated to her students, and willing to put in extra time. She is dedicated to keeping us from hating writing as much as she used to, and she consistently worked to "decolonize the classroom." I even looked forward to going to this class - and I usually don't like writing at all. Andy will expect a lot from you, but she is an extremely fair grader, and acknowledges and rewards improvement and effort. Also, her comments are very helpful and I've learned SO much in this class. Overall, I would rate this class a 9/10 (only a 9 because university writing is supposed to suck), and Andy Jo a 9829838/10 (she's the best writing/english teacher I've ever had- if you can, find a way to get into this class)

Dec 2020

John is such a great professor!! He genuinely really cares about the subject he teaches and the wellbeing of his students. He's an okay grader, but UWriting grading, in general, is pretty hard, so I don't think he is much different than the standard for grading in this class. There are 3 papers, which is normal for UWriting, and then for your final paper, you take your third essay and turn it into a small Op-Ed piece. His classes can be a little boring sometimes, but he walks you through the articles he assigns to make sure you fully understand them. Definitely, in the grand scheme of UWriting, I think you're pretty lucky if you get John. Also, go to his office hours with an idea of what you want to write about and he will basically help you develop a claim..super helpful!!! I was randomly assigned to this section and I'm so happy I was!!

Dec 2020

Prof. Blue-Hitchens is a very kind person, and this is in no way supposed to be insulting to her. However, I would not recommend taking her UW section. Canvas was ridiculously disorganized, and you could never find readings/assignments because she posted them always in different places. We never did any of the writing exercises or assignments other classes did; we just wrote a first draft and final draft of each progression. Prof. Blue-Hitchens also did not lecture or teach, really, so the whole class was confused about the essays and had to figure out everything on our own. We just kind of read articles that she gave us and did our own thing during class. Her feedback on our essays was really confusing and we had no idea why we got the grades we got. She didn't respond to emails on time and didn't really seem to want to talk to us; she didn't have set office hours or anything so you had to try and catch her before she ended the Zoom call for class to talk to her about anything. She did bring in some cool guest speakers from the New York Times and the New Yorker, but unless you're REALLY interested in that, don't take this class. It's not worth it and I didn't improve as a writer.

Dec 2020

There isn't much I'll say about Mia because everyone seems to have conflicting views about her (including me) but there's one thing I will say-- GO. TO. HER. CONFERENCES. University Writing is a pretty frustrating and time-consuming course and you can rely on having several cognitive blocks, but Mia resolves them for you! She might be late, may not always deliver, but you can count on her for that little bit of insight you badly needed.

Dec 2020

I took UW Human Rights online with John during the Fall 2020 semester. Pros: - Interesting readings (in my opinion). - John is available to meet with students and discuss their work, and he is accommodating with extensions. He's also very accessible via email. -Gives detailed comments on work. - I found his grading to be fair. - Generally, class discussions about readings are engaging and he helps you to understand more difficult texts. Cons: - For me, the biggest issue that I had with this class was that John can take a while to return comments on work, and he often underestimates the amount of time that he needs to grade papers/formal drafts. This can make it difficult to plan as a student, since deadlines shift as a result of when he's able to return work. - Some discussions about essay structure and source us could be a little dry, but I understand that they're necessary to discuss.

Dec 2020

I had a horrible time in his UW: Data and Society section. In the class, Sharpless was capable of leading a discussion and facilitating conversations around the text we had to read, but when it came to the actual writing portion of the course he failed in more ways than one. Obviously, UW uses obscure language in the detailing of the project assignments, and when I would ask questions to get a better understanding of the goals of each paper, Sharpless would answer the questions as if he wasn't too sure of his answer himself, which if you don't understand the goals of the paper, or ironically can't even convey them in a 'reader friendly' way, why would you believe that you're fit to grade those said papers. And so because it appeared that he was unable to define the goals of each paper in a 'coherent' and confident manner, I would go to office hours and have him read of over my drafts to see if I was hitting the marks of the projects, that did not help me reach the goals of the paper either. After reading over my drafts he would say things like "you're in a good place for now" but then never truly elaborate on the aspects of the paper that were lacking(in class he said something along the lines of not believing in criticism). But when it was time to give me a final grade, where I could no longer revise my paper for a grade, he was more than vocal about the shortcomings of my paper, which makes no sense as a professor who says they would like to improve their students as writers not addressing the students shortcomings as writers when they are presented. All in all, I think UW has a terrible curriculum, but more importantly, I think that Sharpless is a coward for not being a constructive critic of my writing in the ways and areas it counted.

Dec 2020

Prof. Blue-Hitchens is really kind and very smart. She has written for the New Yorker and brought in some amazing guest speakers from NYT, Harper’s, etc. However, I don’t think she really likes teaching very much. Her canvas site was super disorganized and she uploaded assignments late or not at all. She never really taught us about how to write any of the progressions; she just gave us example essays to go off of. She didn’t seem prepared for our classes. We were all really confused for most of the time. She is a lovely person and I in no way want to insult her. I just was not a fan of her teaching style.

Dec 2020

I had her this Fall online for contemporary essays. She was okay, it was not the best time. Since she was based in Taiwan, it was hard to reach out to her during office hours. Would not take it again.

Dec 2020

Kevin is the sweetest UW instructor ever. I know he’s the only one I got, but no one can convince me otherwise. I had UW for International Students this fall when it was remote, so the semester was kind of rough to many of us, but he was always very nice and understanding. Also, he managed to foster a sense of community in our class which is pretty hard when we’re literally all over the world and have only met over Zoom. Kevin is a great teacher, and my writing skills improved significantly in his class. He is super approachable and willing to meet with you one on one to help you out. He clearly wants you to do well and will go above and beyond to assist you. The grading was reasonable, maybe a little bit on the harsher side but pretty okay. He also really acknowledges your progress when grading, which is nice. Overall, I had an amazing experience and would fully recommend picking him as your UW professor.

Nov 2020

I loved UW with Reid! As a SEAS major, his Data and Society section did a great job of bridging together the stem and humanities worlds. He's also just incredibly friendly and went out of his way to make the class interesting and manageable for his students. We had pretty interesting readings, and he seemed to understand that not every student had time to do every single reading, which was definitely appreciated. He also handled the transition from in-person to online very well, he genuinely cared that everyone in our class was doing well, etc. Really recommend him!

Nov 2020

I literally cannot recommend Professor Baker enough. She is such a nice easy going teacher, that is really straightforward with her expectations. She is an incredibly reasonable grader and is very understanding that life happens so as long as you communicate with her she's really understanding if you need an extension or extra help on anything. I also have her over zoom and she has done a pretty good job keeping the class engaging in that environment. If you like discussion-based classes, this is a great option. She really will let the students guide the conversation to wherever they think it will be helpful. I really recommend her class if you want a class that is very low stress and won't be a waste of time.

Nov 2020

The first word that comes to my mind is enthusiastic-- dare I say almost too enthusiastic at times. Was not expecting to pull up to Zoom class day 1 for Everybody Talks by Neon Trees to be blasting, but hey, you win some you lose some. Seriously though for as characterless a class as UW can be, she does her absolute darndest to make it bearable, which I respect. Discussions are usually the best part of the class, and she does a really nice job of keeping things flowing when the conversation starts to die down. In terms of expectations, she expects a lot, but is very reasonable and will often listen to you. Overall I would recommend it, but not if you're looking for an easy UW experience (if that exists).

Sep 2020

I don't think Prof. Byers liked me particularly but she was pretty chill. Very hard grader. Assigned good reading and I enjoyed our discussions in class.

Sep 2020

(This was an international section ie. I don't think non-international students can take the class with him) I guess there's not much excitement associated with UW regardless but Slater was extra boring. He wasn't engaging, he often didn't really know/care about what's going on. Unless your class is really talkative, the class will be pretty silent/ I don't think he's very strict with attendance, participation OR grades. He's also a pretty nice interesting guy. Maybe he just doesn't want to teach UW. anyway, if you're looking for a chill section - this is for you. You don't learn much but alas there isn't much stress.

Aug 2020

SIGH! Katherine...graduate student of English literature. Organized, methodical, structured. Sounds seemingly great. It's not. There is very little emphasis on her teaching what she is actually interested in grading here. My entire UW class suffered from LOW grades on nearly all essays. Katherine is awkward at best. Kind, but hard to get to know, and has her opinions on writing that can't be swayed. Even though I like her as a person and she is a nice person, I wish I hadn't taken this class.

Jul 2020

Honestly, just switch out. The only good that came out of this was the fact that all the students bonded with each other because of our shared suffering. On the second day of class, a student showed up about 15 seconds late, and Rebecca smiled and said, "If you can't make it on time, you should switch to another section." I should've known then and there that it was over for me. The main problem is in the teaching style. Rebecca never answers your questions, but instead redirects them with a "What does the class think about this?" Great, but if the class has no idea what an IP is because they were never taught, it really doesn't work. Even worse, she doesn't say anything when the class is wrong. During office hours she told me "I'm worried the class has the wrong idea because they think x, but it's really y." Wow, thanks for letting the whole class go the wrong direction. She doesn't even grade easily. The class always gets contradictory feedback, and it's also clear that she is incredibly biased with certain topics. If she doesn't agree with something you say, your grade will drop regardless of how well you make your argument.

Jul 2020

Honestly, just switch out. The only good that came out of this was the fact that all the students bonded with each other because of our shared suffering. On the second day of class, a student showed up about 15 seconds late, and Rebecca smiled and said, "If you can't make it on time, you should switch to another section." I should've known then and there that it was over for me. The main problem is in the teaching style. Rebecca never answers your questions, but instead redirects them with a "What does the class think about this?" Great, but if the class has no idea what an IP is because they were never taught, it really doesn't work. Even worse, she doesn't say anything when the class is wrong. During office hours she told me "I'm worried the class has the wrong idea because they think x, but it's really y." Wow, thanks for letting the whole class go the wrong direction. She doesn't even grade easily. The class always gets contradictory feedback, and it's also clear that she is incredibly biased with certain topics. If she doesn't agree with something you say, your grade will drop regardless of how well you make your argument.

May 2020

Great instructor and human being! People kept on complaining about UW for the entirety of the previous semester, but when it was my turn to take it I couldn't see what the fuss was about, because Reid just made it a painless core class. He taught the data and society section and it was really fun and covered interesting and relevant topics. He gives good and valuable feedback on your work and actually gives useful suggestions, and does his best to understand your work from your perspective and help you achieve what YOU want. Class was always pretty chill and low stress, and his soothing voice is a plus. He's very organized and understanding and you will not fell pressured in his class whatsoever. Can't say much about his grading because of the pandemic situation but I believe everyone did pretty well on their P1 essay. All in all really great experience and would definitely recommend him.

May 2020

Don't recommend. Neda is nice and genuinely helpful (she went out of her way many times to help me figure out my essay topics and claims) but actual class periods were a total waste of time. No discussion, just fruitless exercises. The homeworks she assigned were not helpful, and presentations of your topics were pointless. Peer exercises were the worst because nobody cared and nobody actually gave thought-out feedback. You basically just do busy-work and then write an entire essay with no preparation or having learned any essay writing skills. The actual value of the class comes from just writing and editing the essays, and not from the other stuff she makes you do. Don't get me wrong, she's a super smart and lovely person. Just don't take UW with her.

May 2020

Dr. Wisor is a good choice if you’re on the prowl for one of the better UW professors. As other reviews have said, she’s very lenient: formal draft deadlines are flexible, and none of the writing exercises are graded. She also provides extremely helpful feedback, and she’s more than happy to work with you during office hours. My only complaints are that she’s a hard grader at first (but she eases up as the semester progresses), she‘s not the best with returning work in a timely manner, and she tends to only go over weak or average sample essays in class. The uneven grading seems to be a common theme across most, if not all, UW sections anyway, so don’t get discouraged if you underperform on the first progression. Overall, I’d recommend her, but temper your expectations if you end up in her class. Judging from past reviews, I was expecting an eye-opening and exciting experience, but I finished the semester feeling mostly indifferent. At the end of the day, it’s still UW, and there are only so many ways it could be more tolerable without drastically overhauling the curriculum.

May 2020

I had her for university writing and she was such a pleasure! She taught the theater section and was incredibly passionate about it, very happy and full of jokes. The classes always felt much shorter then they were with her and as long as you try with your essays and are passionate you will do well

May 2020

Lauren is one of the coolest, kindest, most empathetic professors I've had at Columbia! She's kinda quirky, but it only adds to her uniquely awesome persona as a UW instructor. She is so incredibly helpful; if you take her feedback into consideration and really put thought into your writing, I don't see why you wouldn't be able to get at the very least an A-, if not likely an A. She knows that UW doesn't have the best reputation with students, and actively tries to fight that by not having us do any superfluous work – everything we do for HW makes sense. For exploratory drafts, she gives us structured worksheets to fill out that essentially give us an idea for how to outline the paper instead of throwing us into the deep end as many other UW instructors do. Her feedback is timely, detailed, and so so helpful. I would 100% recommend going into office hours, because that's where you'll get truly golden advice from her. Most of all, Lauren truly cares about her students; I felt like if I had a personal issue and there was one instructor I'd talk to about it, it would be Lauren. She is simply amazing!

Apr 2020

Milan's UW class is amazing and a steal. It should be considered like winning a lottery if you get in. Milan is very nice, approachable, cute (hot?), and overall a very sympathetic human. That said, I think there are other UW teachers that are better able to help students with their writing skills more analytically/mechanically. Regardless, Milan tended to give generally good advice and assistance to our writing. Milan's grading system is amazing, and you get a free sign boost for visiting the writing center.

Apr 2020

Awful. She is a nice person and keen to help but... She often says conflicting and confusing stuff. Classes also boring af She has a very set view of how people should write which didn't set the way I was used to writing before. I have literally published papers and stuff but I still got a B. Its the only B I've ever got. Pretty much no one got above a B+ in our class. I'm actually quite angry cos she has ruined my GPA. Her justification is: "I make it really hard to give As because potentially everyone can do better." That the same with every class - she needs to chill with the grading. It's supposed to be a core class! Avoid at all costs if you can!

Apr 2020

I'm not sure why everyone has such harsh reviews for Professor Tsygankova -- she isn't perfect, but it's a good class. The justice readings are fascinating and (most of) the nightly assignments are pretty helpful. She's an approachable and helpful teacher. I have this class in Spring 2020, but before everything went Pass/Fail, I thought the grading was very fair. It isn't easy, per se, but it certainly isn't as difficult as some reviews make it out to be. She's also been really flexible and kind during the coronavirus weirdness, which speaks well of her. The one thing that I do agree with from past reviews is the length of the readings. It is a bit much. I really enjoyed the justice readings, but the readings about writing were less helpful and could be quite lengthy. If you're not interested in really delving into writing & ideas of justice, you're better off in another section, most of which are easier/less work than this one.

Apr 2020

Mrs. Munson is the best UW teacher. She is super friendly, approachable, and knowledgable. The readings she chooses as seed texts are interesting. I love how I feel so inspired to write after meeting with her because she is just that helpful. If I go into the meeting unsure with what I am going to write about for the upcoming essay, I leave with a concrete idea I feel confident with. She also gives really useful feedback and will even directly help you revise specific sections as practice. As a plus, she doesn't make you do discussion posts or anything. Very manageable workload.

Jan 2020

Take UWriting with him if you can! I went into it expecting to be bogged down with a ton of work, but honestly the way that he structured the class made it very, very manageable. Class time was engaging (there was a day where we summarized our essays with memes) and genuinely helpful. Feedback for essays was always very clear and detailed; came out of every draft with a clear idea of how to cut/improve.

Jan 2020

Eva is a genuinely nice grad student teaching University Writing. She's a fair grader, perhaps leaning more towards the stricter side of grading, but she truly cares about her students. She'll try to help you however she can and is very understanding. University Writing sucks in general, but Eva does not make it any worse than it already is. Her feedback may sometimes be a little misleading; you might think you're doing great after reading her comments on a draft (she says you are off to a great start and doesn't point out any flaws, or something similar) and then get a very mediocre grade for your final paper. One-to-one conferences with her are very useful though, and she's very open to having them regularly/for every essay if you feel like you need them.

Dec 2019

He's a friendly and enthusiastic teacher who doesn't assign my work outside of the four essays. But he's not the nicest of graders!

Dec 2019

Gives specific feedback that is helpful for each successive project, skills learned are applicable to other classes/general academic writing and reading, makes UW an actually useful class, very available/makes time to meet with you if you request it, works to develop community in the classroom, very understanding of personal circumstances should hardships arise and get in the way of your work, always willing to answer questions Fair WARNING though— if you are not interested in English/writing and/or improving your academic writing, or if you have a hard time receiving criticism, you should not take UW with her. If you seek her out and want to improve, she has the capacity to help you, but it will probably be hard. If you don't want to work hard then you will not have a fun time :") As a prospective English major think she is an excellent professor. Even on A essays she doesn't hand them back and just say, "perf!" -- she still has feedback for improvement, which is always what I'm looking for. She was also very understanding of my mental health issues and worked with me and Disability Services to properly accommodate me so I could still succeed in the class.

Dec 2019

HK is just lovely, through and through. She treats you like a friend, she’s a very graceful, thoughtful friend. To be honest, I just liked being in her class because it was nice to be around somebody who I wanted to imitate. As is often the case UW, The grading was tough. I had a particularly rough time with timeliness, and I felt that she was fair to the other students. (I was penalized) but, she’d always (reach out, check in, make herself available, etc) -this is the rare kind of UW professor that really cares, and provides extremely insightful feedback. She really does the work to understand what you were trying to say in your writing. I can’t recommend her enough. She makes you want to take UW again. that’s no small thing (This is for EmilyThis is for Emily Hunt Kivel), site won’t allow me to review her because she’s new.

Nov 2019

Don't ask. Just add. Best UW on your shopping list with everything you are looking for in an instructor and a person.

Sep 2019

Literal definition of the worst. If the fact that he has a masters in dance critique hasn't already thrown up a red flag for you, let me wave one high in the air right now. Unhelpful, unclear, uninteresting. He will spend the majority of his time and effort "teaching" you things you already know and refuse to explain things you don't understand. Claims that he can't explain certain things to you because the class requires students to get comfortable working without full comprehension of concepts, but this is just an excuse for being a poor teacher. He will give you serious doubts about the value of the Columbia education, both because he is partially responsible for providing it and because he is a product of it. Avoid if at all possible. If not possible, brace yourself for a tedious semester and go to the writing center as often as they will let you in the door because that's the only way you will learn anything.

May 2019

Dr. Wisor is my favorite prof I've had at Columbia, and maybe my favorite teacher ever. She is so chill, kind, and understanding. She makes such an effort to make the class flow naturally, and we have engaged in so many interesting conversations beyond what we were talking about in class. 10/10 UW experience. Wish she taught more classes!

May 2019

Dr. Wisor is my favorite prof I've had at Columbia, and maybe my favorite teacher ever. She is so chill, kind, and understanding. She makes such an effort to make the class flow naturally, and we have engaged in so many interesting conversations beyond what we were talking about in class. 10/10 UW experience. Wish she taught more classes!

Jan 2019

This class is horrible. Do not ever take it. Nitzan has no idea how to teach and is a really harsh grader.

Jan 2019

Allen Durgin is hands down the BEST professor I have had at Columbia. Coming to Columbia, I had little to no knowledge of the gender and sexuality discourse, and will admit I was a bit hesitant about taking Allen's class. Despite my doubts, I decided to stay in his class and I can confidently say that was one of the best decisions I have ever made. As the semester went on I realized how passionate, enthusiastic and excellent Allen is at teaching. NEVER in my life have I encountered a professor who cares more about their students. Allen is extremely approachable and if you seek his help, he will go above and beyond to improve your writing and understanding of the discourse. There are very few professors who care as much about their students success and progress in University Writing as Allen does. Aligning with the reviews below, Allen's class is far from easy. You will have to work to succeed in his class, but the blood, sweat and tears are absolutely worth it. Allen truly loves teaching and will improve your writing in ways you could never imagine. My recommendation: if you have the opportunity to take Allen Durgin's class, TAKE IT. Allen will bring your writing to the next level and teach you valuable skills you can use for the rest of your time at Columbia and in whatever career you decide to pursue. Besides being a fabulous teacher, Allen is a great guy. He genuinely cares about his students and will do whatever he can to help - whether that be a simple frustration with your research essay or a problem at home - he is always there to help. You will leave Allen's class with a transformed and newly polished writing style, but most importantly, an ally on campus. I can promise you will not regret taking Allen's class.

Jan 2019

Very nice and genuine professor. Sometimes throughout the course, she struggled to convey instructions for assignments, but she would even acknowledged the fact that she was not articulating them well. Super lenient about due dates and she gives very quality feedback on all of the major papers. Overall, I would recommend her to anyone. She also cancelled class quite a few times which was relatively amazing considering I had her at 8:40 am.

Jan 2019

I'd say 4 out of 5 stars. Some things could be improved, but I'd take it again. Prof Tadmor is the most enthusiastic person I've ever met - which is pretty helpful for this course. This doesn't mean that the class is easy - it's very hard to write an A grade essay. It is fun, though. The class is a bit chaotic and the readings are not-always-great.

Dec 2018

Chelsea Spata is an amazing UW instructor. She teaches writing in a very honest and easy to understand way. She also gives very helpful feedback on your formal drafts. If you put a lot of effort into your formal drafts and then genuinely address her comments (she leaves really amazing comments), you will end up writing great essays and at least get an A- in the class.

Dec 2018

Of the UW Human Rights professors this past semester, Taleen was by far the most relaxed. She’s an incredibly intelligent individual (she’s been published everywhere and used to be a lawyer), and is extremely passionate about her work. She genuinely cares about her students and is always accessible via email or in office hours. Her readings were sometimes tedious but always interesting, and the bulk of her assignments were low stakes. She could be kind of a harsh grader, but always provided helpful feedback and was willing to discuss grades outside of class. My only complaint is that she has way too much faith in the power of group work (peer reviews are an incredible waste of time). If you’re at all interested in the modern issues surrounding Human Rights, her class is a good fit!

Dec 2018

Valerio Amoretti is an excellent UW Instructor. He takes the time to explain things very clearly. When you ask him a question he answers it thoroughly and with precision. His lectures were energized and interesting. He also created a nice group interactive atmosphere in the class. He really cares about his students and seems to enjoy teaching. I learned a lot and felt lucky to have him for UW, and I definitely recommend taking his class.

Nov 2018

Porzak is a genius who actually cares about teaching. He'll make sure you walk out of that classroom with all the necessary skills and more knowledge than you came in with. He's more concerned with you actually learning to be a great, interesting writer than with your grade so he's not too strict with deadlines or stingy with extra credit opportunities. He's an overall cool dude and it is rare to find someone as smart as he is who genuinely cares about helping others learn and improve. Take advantage of his brain while you can and you will walk out of that class better than you walked in.

Sep 2018

She is a very nice and relatable teacher and leads discussions very well. However, the amount of work she gives is absurd (compared to other classes like Lit Hum or Calc 1). She always expects something equal to a 1-2 page essay every class along with the 20-40 page reading she assigned you so that you can do the writing part.

Jul 2018

I took UWriting Gender and Sexuality with her. She was overall very nice and kind. Towards the beginning of the year, I found her comments confusing. However, after attending office hours, I was able to clear everything up. Although she was not the easiest grader ever, you can definitely do well in the class if you put in the work and go to office hours.

Jun 2018

Kevin is one of the most amazing professors at Columbia! I have never had a professor that I felt cared so much for his students. A friend of mine recommended taking Kevin's class and it was definitely the right decision! Kevin makes the course material relevant and fun and is very responsive to emails and meeting in office hours. He framed subjects such as the New York City subway system as human rights issues for us to think about in an amazing way. He also brought in an analyst from Teacher's College to analyze his teaching mid-Semester. The analyst said that he approached her to come and shadow our class because he wanted to improve, which is rare for professors to do. He would also bring in food for us on days that he knew would be more interesting. Overall, 10/10 and would take a class with Kevin again.

Jun 2018

I loved Aidan's UW: Music class. The dude is so passionate about pop music and its history, super understanding and kind, an enthusiastic grader and comment-er, and plays such good music in class. Everyone in my class loved different kinds of music, from classical to jazz to Top 40 pop, and Aidan made sure to foster everyone's contributions. The syllabus is amazing and I would recommend reading everything on it even if you're not in the class. Also, read one of his books if you get the chance — he's a good writer and a great researcher.

Apr 2018

I think he is a great teacher. Professor Ritzenberg made me analyze my own writing in a way that I hadn't before. I had gone into the class thinking I was a pretty good writer, and he made me reevaluate that opinion (In a good way) by forcing me to become more conscious about the choices I make. By the end of the course, I have become much more aware of my writing choices and have improved numerous aspects of my writing, which is in my opinion the purpose of the UW course. Important to note potential downsides for people interested: 1. He's a tough grader. He himself acknowledges that he's harsh, and it is very difficult to get an A in his class. However, I feel that his harsh grading in fact motivates you to improve your writing and really spend time thinking about it. Overall, I would sacrifice that half a letter grade you may get elsewhere for a chance to really improve your writing. 2. He does make some quirky/awkward jokes, and is admittedly a kinda odd dude. We had a class discussion about the morality of having sex with a dead chicken which was surprisingly enlightening, but you may see why that could cause some awkwardness. Again, however, I feel that his quirkiness hardly detracts from the class, and almost everything we do in class is very relevant to our writing. Overall, he may be harsh, but take him, he's great!

Apr 2018

JASON IS A GREAT TEACHER. His attitude in the face of the utter absence of discussion was more than admirable. It made UW feel fun and easy. Overall would recommend.

Feb 2018

Simon Porzak is such a sweetheart. I know some people in my class found him to be unnecessarily sarcastic and brusque but if you do the work and don't bullshit about in class, you'll totally be fine. He's very sympathetic and I really felt like he was out to help you improve your writing and to remind you of the choices you make as a writer. I took the contemporary essays section and you can expect a lot of dense philosophical readings (Barthes, Baudrillard, Nietzsche and not their more famous texts cuz he's cool like that). They're tough but the reading list is exceedingly well-curated. He also always has clear lesson plans, witty turn of phrases and fun little activities.

Jan 2018

Wouldn't recommend taking this class. Discussions are lackluster and though workload is light, grades are pretty arbitrary and harsh. He comes to class unprepared, often late, and sometimes teaches blatantly wrong information (ex: grammar rules) as gospel.

Jan 2018

If you were assigned Rebecca Sonkin as your UW instructor and came here to check her reviews, stop right now. Go on SSOL and change sections immediately. You can read this review afterwards, but you can't afford the risk of having Rebecca as your instructor. Rebecca starts the semester as an excellent teacher (for kindergarten). You will each write your name tag and she will keep them so that you won't forget! She will ask you to CLOSE-READ the syllabus and write her an e-mail (she will constantly ask you to write her e-mails, but you'll probably only going to write the first one). Then she will confuse all of you. Her approach to the course is to "explain things little by little." For the 1st essay, we were writing our first draft without having read the essay prompt. In fact, we didn't even know it was a draft: she told us to write "a letter to a friend." When it come to the basic concepts, she will have trouble explaining them. By the time she had reviewed our formal drafts, 4 days before P1 deadline, she finally explained us what an IP was: out of 14 students in class, 13 didn't have an IP in their drafts. Rebecca constantly changes her explanations (first she told us our IPs should contain an X and a Y, but later she complained we haven't explicited Z). She also has the policy of "putting the questions to class." It doesn't work when the class was not taught at first, but she just doesn't answer anything herself. And if you are thinking "well, but at least she must great easily right" you are wrong. The feedback she gives you on the drafts is contradicting to the feedback she gives you on the essays. Highest course grade was a B+, and the essay grades were so random that she couldn't even explain when we tried to ask her. Unfortunately, not one among the 14 students in my class can recommend Rebecca Sonkin's section. If there is no other option and you have to take her, then I wish you the best. Try to bond with your classmates at least: it is the only thing that made us go through this semester.

Dec 2017

Barely prepared for class, assigned weird readings none of us could understand or figure out why we read them, gave us some blatantly incorrect information (about grammar rules, for example), gave higher grades as essays progressed to give the illusion of the class helping our writing, and making up reasons to lower essay grades that he couldn't even explain. Sometimes, he doesn't show up for office hours and when he does, he comes out with bullshit criticisms of your writing that don't make sense and when you press him on it, he can't explain or even takes back his made-up criticisms. It's not a ton of work and you can probably pull a B+ or A- just by writing the four essays. Quality of discussion depend on the people in the class...he resembles competence in leading discussions but sometimes asks nonsensical questions and there's just awkward silence for minutes.

Dec 2017

Simon Porzak is intensely smart and articulate in many areas (rhetoric, science, writing, French, critical theory, pop culture...) and witnessing this intelligence in the classroom is an honor. He's also absurdly funny and full of wit. His syllabus and each day of class are meticulously planned and organized, yet he somehow combines this attention to detail/coherence with an approachable, laid-back attitude and sense of humor. He is also really helpful with drafts, and I think my writing has evolved a lot for the better in his course. I definitely recommend him even if just for the laughs.

Dec 2017

I would rather eat from the Meatless Monday menu for the rest of my life that take another course with her. She is quite ignorant yet condescending, annoying to the bone and bluntly useless when it comes to learning anything. RUN

Dec 2017

Extremely difficult to deal with her, I wish I listened to others who warned me. You'll be forced to write exactly as she commands. There is no room for creative writing, opinions, or original thoughts. You'll need to write exactly as she wants or it's going to be a nightmare. She is not really willing to work with you if she doesn't agree with your arguments and if you aren't willing to change your views. Office hours were very frustrating. She stares at her phone a lot while pretending to listen, fake smiles and nods as others mentioned. Everyone in my class had strong opinions about her. She really is an awful human being. She can be helpful at times, but only if you say the right things and don't rock the boat.

Dec 2017

Professor Durgin is legitimately my favorite professor at Columbia, for a lot of reasons. Let me be clear that this class was far from easy. He will make you work on your craft and he won’t let you get away with bullshit. If you’re the kind of person who is interested in getting away with bullshit, yet have somehow made it to Columbia, I can promise you that you will be writing a review that looks a lot like the one below mine. If not, though, read on. The evolution I witnessed in my own writing and, I would venture to say, my concept of my abilities and worth as a person were substantial. This is EXACTLY the kind of class I envisioned myself being a part of when I accepted the admission offer at this school. Durgin is charming, funny, interesting, kind, and incredibly passionate about the craft of writing. He will meet you at your level of interest, wherever that level is. I could not have chosen a better or more fulfilling UW experience, in my opinion. Tips: do the seemingly meaningless busywork during the progressions. It seems like BS at the time, but it adds to your understanding of the progression goals in meaningful ways. Go to his office hours. As much as possible. You will be rewarded for it hugely, and you’ll emerge from his class with a great friend and ally on campus. Take Durgin. You’ll thank me later.

Oct 2017

TERRIBLE. Sonkin is a horrible teacher, my writing basically got worse because of her thanks to her unhelpful and contradictory feedback. She was very tough on grading. But the worse part was the way she treated us. Everyone in the class hated her, and I'm very serious when I say this. She made inappropriate/racist comments many times, threatened some students to lower their grade if they wanted to write about a topic she did not agree with (aka the Free Palestine movement). She is such a fake person and every hour I spent in her class was a wasted one. DO NOT TAKE HER CLASS.

Aug 2017

The class didn't focus on learning to write, but was mostly focused on reading and interpreting the texts. Texts were occasionally interesting but more often not (in my opinion). Very approachable in terms of office hours and getting help on essays, easy to talk to. I think she had a very specific idea of what she wanted for each essay but I wasn't ever too sure what she wanted. Figuring that out would be good for your grade. Essay grading was on the tougher side, hopefully you're already a good writer because you probably won't learn how to write from this class or from the feedback on completed essays. Stickler for deadlines - once I submitted the wrong draft and still got a late penalty because the correct draft was submitted a day late. As far as I know she doesn't give any extensions or anything like other UW professors. Class got a little awkward sometimes but Emily seems to really care about the class and the students. If you're a good writer and you are willing to spend a LOT of time on your essays and you like to talk in class you could probably do well.

Jul 2017

I took "University Writing: Contemporary Essays" with Shannon my freshman year, and I believe it was his first time teaching the class. Even though he seems pretty young, I was extremely impressed with his maturity and teaching style. He was a very engaging lecturer, got everyone in the class to bond with each other, gave funny examples, and still was a very effective writing teacher. Best of all was that he was an actual published writer for the New York Times Magazine, so you could literally feel the passion he had for amazing opening lines and tiny character details as he ranted about why they made such an effect on the reader. He doesn't give A's unless you are a truly brilliant writer, which I think is the source of resentment for a lot of kids (especially in engineering) who want to just breeze by without giving a lot of effort. But he is fair, and will offer as much help as you need. The entire grade is based on 4 essays that go through multiple drafts, and he holds office hours in the writing center. If you are an English major or want to be published someday, you will love him as a professor. However, even if you're not amazing in his class, he will still treat you with the same respect as a kid who's obsessed with writing. 10/10 would recommend, and I'm not an English major.

Jun 2017

Taking her class is the BIGGEST mistake since I got to Columbia. She herself has quite a stellar record (a Brown undergrad and a Columbia graduate, chief editor of a publisher), but she does not know how to teach. Her description of each assignment is quite "fluffing," lack of detailed, down-to-earth explanation. Office hour was usually not busy in the beginning of the semester, but later on, she limited the times you can go. Usually, it was 15mins per person. They weren't helpful mainly because she gave some random advice and sometimes even contradictory. She might say the draft was good in OH and later on in the final draft took points off. BUT, GO TO HER OFFICE HOUR. More importantly, make sure she understands and "likes" your argument. If she is not familiar with your paper beforehand, good luck with her random grading style. FYI, she is a big fan of justice, so no extra office hour or extra help, not even extra email.

May 2017

University Writing is known as kind of a drag, but I thought Kent assigned rewarding and insightful readings that guided our curriculum. This was a non-themed section (contemporary essays), and he brings in ideas from critical and cultural theory that I enjoyed. Notebook assignments and drafts are graded on completion, and they're pretty helpful in developing your ideas. Kent offers helpful feedback, especially if you discuss your work in office hours, that I felt refined my thinking and helped me write more focused, developed essays. I don't think he was very harsh of a grader, although I can't compare his grading standards with those of other UW instructors.

May 2017

Awful professor! Change sections if you can! His class is a huge waste of time. Most of the time he does not even teach (usually spends class time talking about his gay dating life, his experiences with porn, or marijuana) and when he does decide to teach, he just reads off of a paper. A lot of the classes were spent watching drag queen videos on YouTube and then he would quickly read the "progression goals" off of the prompts online the last 5 minutes of class. You won't learn anything about becoming a better writer. He is not the type of Professor that belongs in Columbia. Feedback on your essays is useless; none of it is constructive and basically just grades you based on whether or not he likes you.

May 2017

Worst professor ever! She takes cookie-cutter approach wanting all of her students to become carbon copies of eachother. Classes are filled with redundant, busy writing exercises due to professor's lack of preparing lectures. She's a poor communicator - doesn't respond to emails timely. Worst of all, she passes out failing grades like candy and has little interest in helping students, who need extra help, get up to speed learning the mindless assignments given in this class. She's a nice person but not so great professor. Take Zander's class only if you want a semester filled with headaches and stress.

May 2017

He is awful, do not take a class with this professor. Grades extremely harshly and only lets you write papers concerning secularism or the development of education within the United States. Very boring in class and although he meets with you whenever you would like his comments are not helpful nor are they often truthful. The worst experience i have had in a class at Columbia.

May 2017

Nice person, subpar professor, harsh grader. Professor Watson's comments are deceptive in that compliments on first draft can quickly turn into bad grades for final draft. All in all, avoid.

May 2017

Professor Durgin is a mixed bag. He's very passionate about the subject of writing and will do everything in his power to help you succeed. If you go to his office hours he will talk you through your essay and ensure that you walk away with a good idea, usually like 5, (more importantly an idea he likes) that you can pursue. The ideas are also genuinely interesting and will make you see the relations between individuals, narrative, and world in a whole new light. That said, his style of writing is very humanities, gender studies,that iffy dimension of philosophy and thought. So if you're not into the kinda bsey nuances of aesthetics, representation, and language it's going to be a rough semester. On the other hand, if you can stick to a text and analyze the shit of what it means for someone to wear white glasses or how sounds can be reflected off of mirrors in the form of images, you're good. Little bit of advice. The way he keeps his grading consistent and feel not like bs is that he grades very harshly on how close you keep to the text and exhibit. So for all the progressions stick very close to the language and arguments of your exhibit don't insert your own narration and expand the scope of your text. Stay as specific as possible. So if you're looking for an easy Uwriting class this is not it.So SEAS kids stay out. If you're genuinely interested in the humanities and academia in a gender studies/philosphy field, I cannot reccomend anyone better than Dr. Durgin. Also he's generally a great guy.

May 2017

He has stellar course organization. Being an international student, I was worried whether my level of English writing was at par with the expected college standard (especially because I chose not to enroll in the UW section designed for international students). He is very prompt with emails and extremely helpful during office hours. He even reviewed my final draft of the fourth progression (op-eds) via email an hour before it was due. He was great at encouraging discussion and acknowledging student's efforts. He really wants the students to learn and taught us to use cool sites and software like Zotero, CLIO and GitHub (for posting weekly responses!). I got an A- in his class and that definitely boosted my confidence a lot. P.S Our theme was Sustainable Development

Apr 2017

Justin Snider is a great teacher, and I'd recommend taking his section of UWriting if you can. He's an awesome person, and is always available to give feedback on essays. It isn't an easy-A class, but if you talk to him about your essays and revise based on his comments, you can get an A. He's opinionated and engaging, and I feel like I've learned more from arguing with him than from the class itself. Overall, one of my best experiences at Columbia!

Apr 2017

NO. DON'T TAKE HER SECTION. She is a very talented poet for sure and teaches the international section of UW. But the class is awful. I don't know what this class is supposed to be, but it is so BORING. I got nothing out of the class. She doesn't know how to foster great class discussions and grades so hard on international students. What is the purpose of having an international section? In terms of progressions, she is pretty clear on what she wants. But it is not anything useful. I am just writing to her taste, and she grades down so much no matter what. She is so stingy on being late, always seems to rush through class schedule but everything she planned for us to do seems like I am back in high school. She is also never clear on her assignments. If you miss something, that's on you for not checking the syllabus. But seriously? Not very organized/ on time with feedbacks, response to questions etc. I expected so much more from UW but all I got out of it is just time wasted for nothing.

Apr 2017

I love Dr. Wisor as a person -- I think she's kind, intelligent, and interesting to talk to. She's flexible and willing to give class time to have an important discussion about something related to the readings. HOWEVER, because she takes this time, valuable time is taken away from talking about writing strategy. This was the first time I have ever been in college -- refreshers on certain more complex grammar rules would have been nice, as well as learning more about how to properly structure an academic essay. I, unfortunately, had to learn these lessons on my own, and after being harshly graded. She gives off the vibe of someone who is very enthusiastic to teach, and unfortunately that translates into tough grading. I wouldn't mind this if she gave us a real opportunity with her feedback, but it still feels like her expectations aren't known to me. This class gave me an immense amount of anxiety and made writing an essay significantly more miserable than it has ever been for me, though that is not entirely her fault.

Apr 2017

She gives detailed feedback on assignments and drafts leading up to the papers. She even provided audio feedback on some of our rough drafts, which turned out to be tremendously helpful when writing the final paper. Some of the writing assignments for each paper felt a bit unnecessary, but if taken seriously can be helpful in the long run. Grading was fair and her comments were helpful for future drafts. In short, she's fantastic and remains one of the better professors I've had here thus far.

Feb 2017

Professor Watson is a nice person. That being said, she is a harsh grader and her comments on the first drafts can be deceptive. It was a lot better if she could have harshly criticized my first drafts rather than leaving possitive comments only to find out that I have received a terrible grade.

Feb 2017

Prof. Wojczuk is amazing! If you care at all about reading and writing, you've struck gold by getting her. Ever class is tightly organized in order to maximize the effective of the lesson, and she chooses readings that actually keep you interested in the craft of writing and analyzing. The readings were lengthy, but almost always extremely enjoyable. Meeting with her one on one is even better than having class with her because she has an ability to grasp what you want to say in your piece before you fully grasp it. Your writing will improve in this course because she does not accept BS and cares deeply about writing as a high stakes craft with real life implications.

Jan 2017

Sure, Abby might be able to get information across and has experience teaching the material, but she is an awful human being who tries to cover it up with her always-on ungenuine smile. Also, during my office hours, she constantly looked at her phone and never gave me any respect or attention. Don't take this class!

Jan 2017

I cannot recommend enough. Professor Porzak was a delight to behold, and (I felt) he guided me through my first semester. He is at first snarky and fun (our class spent most of our time chuckling), but is most of all desperately smart. He thinks critically at an inspirationally high level. He would be played by Billy Eichner, but Porzak would sooner diss Decarthes than Sienna Miller (I believe Porzak would also like me to note that he is more handsome - sorry Billy). If you like wit in a teacher you'll be pleased. Notably he gives his notes on drafts in youtube videos where you can see your draft as his voice gives you notes on it. I found this to be extremely valuable. Nobody else does that! My favorite Porzak moment of the semester was when I went to his office hours to last minute switch the exhibit (subject) for our P3. In an instant he told me the root of what I was really talking about and without leaving his chair he handed me his copy of Walter Benjamin that had an annotated chapter that became the core of my argument. It can also be noted that the copy of Benjamin was annotated in multiple languages! Also that I still have it, but I plan to return it Friday with a batch of homemade soft pretzels because I'm lame and also I can't thank him enough for all the time and care he put into our class.

Jan 2017

Heather is an amazing teacher! I hope she ends up teaching more classes in addition to UWriting because she clearly cared about her students and their progress. The classroom environment was also great, and Heather picked many interesting readings to assign. Word of caution - from what I could tell, she was a harder grader than most other UWriting teachers. But, she held her students to high standards and was reasonable overall.

Dec 2016

Dr. D is a great professor to have for university writing. I always found his feedback helpful. The more feedback you can get from him, the better your writing assignments will be (so go to office hours often). He really helped me to improve my writing. A word of note: His area of expertise is gender studies. I had him for contemporary essays, and a lot of our readings were about gender and sexuality; however, we always had other readings on which we could complete our assignments.

Dec 2016

Adam is a fantastic UW professor. Engaging during class, approachable after class, and his comments are usually helpful and constructive. Initially, I was worried the Sustainable Development section would be a preachy liberal shit-fest, but I turned out to be wrong (about Adam at least). The readings were engaging and varied to the point it didn't feel like we were covering the same thing all semester. Workload is similar to most other UW classes, but luckily the readings are typically short and don't include literature by anybody who died over two centuries ago. He is also a fair grader and will not hesitate to help struggling students. ASK FOR HELP IF YOU NEED IT! Take Adam's section of UW, you won't regret it. P.S. If you regret it, you're probably just a really shitty writer who ignored his comments.

Dec 2016

Julia is a bit disorganized sometimes but really cool and worth it. At first, you'll probably be annoyed because P1 is so restrictive by nature of P1 and the grading is a bit harsher (Julia lightens up as the semester goes on, so don't stress about it, even if you get something in the B range), but by the end, if you put the work in, you'll be totally fine. One of the fun things about this class is that in our section we got a lot of choices to write about whatever we wanted as long as it loosely fit in with the readings, so you can find a way to connect essays to whatever you're interested in. If you're not interested in anything on the planet, then yes, you'll be bored, but if you've got literally any interests at all, you'll be able to find something that interests you to write about and it won't be that hard. Most of the readings are really engaging, so that part of the class is good too. Definitely GO TO MEETINGS!! Julia's a great person to talk to and it will make edits on essays so much easier than just paper feedback. I thought I'd really hate this class but I really like it. A lot of people hate UW as a thing, which makes me really thankful I had Julia. Definitely worth switching into this section, if you're UW class shopping and want a prof who's engaging, relatable, and will improve your writing.

Nov 2016

Dr. Durgin is knowledgeable, witty, and makes class an enjoyable experience for all. He's a fair grader and gives constructive, meaningful feedback on writing.

Nov 2016

I had Porzak for a GS section of UW, and I loved him. He is a writer by trade, so he really knows what he's doing. He's incredibly knowledgeable about so many seemingly unrelated topics, but he doesn't make his students feel dumb. In addition to being brilliant, he's also very funny. I genuinely enjoy his class. The greatest aspect of his class, though, is the way he helps students revise. For each progression paper, he makes ~11 minute personal YouTube videos with his comments for each person's essay along with annotations on the text itself. His comments are insightful, personal, and helpful. I really feel like I've improved as both a reader and a writer this semester.

Sep 2016

An entertaining teacher with incredibly high standards. He is an extremely hard grader.

Aug 2016

Prepare yourself. Trevor's class will be hard. As in, when you compare your UW assignments to your friend's, you will realize that yours require more work and writing. He's a tough teacher and will push your writing very far. The workload is tough and time consuming and not really in line with a 3 credits course load. Trevor's class will feel like 4 credits. That being said, I love Trevor. His class is my favorite taken thus far at Columbia. He's an amazing teacher and is incredibly invested in improving every single person's writing. Class discussions are really good (be sure to participate!), and the small size of the class will make you feel close to everyone in no time at all. Trevor is a strong proponent of peer review and one-on-one sessions (two are required). You work in depth with your classmates and learn so much. Thankfully, everyone is pretty interested in the focus of gender and sexuality. The readings are great, but do require multiple rereads. I would note that Trevor's class is a little different from other specialized sections in that he prioritizes writing and improving everyone's writing ability over learning about gender and sexuality. However, I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm such a more confident writer now because of this class. In short, his class is pretty difficult and will require lots of work, but your writing will be elevated to such a great extent! For transparency's sake, I received a B+. My friends who had previously taken UW said my essays would have been more of an A- level in their classes, but that's okay with me. If you end up with Trevor, keep him! He's funny and endearing and a little awkward and will terrify everyone the first day with the textbook length syllabus and policy about coming to class late, but it was such a rewarding experience. He also does this great thing where he will edit your progressions via video, so you can understand "his experience as a reader". His feedback is invaluable; if you try to follow most of his advice you'll do just fine.

Jul 2016

Probably one of the kindest and most pleasant professors at Columbia. Grades fairly - not very strict, not very lenient. The readings are interesting and he has useful insights to offer on almost every topic. Would totally recommend this class.

Jun 2016

I got randomly assigned to Mr. Williams's class last semester. He told us on the first day of class that he was a tough teacher. On the strength of the reviews I found here, I thought, "Oh, I can handle tough. And it seems like he'll actually be able to teach me something as opposed to just wasting my time!" I was sadly mistaken. He was the worst teacher by far I had this year. I found myself avoiding thinking about the class whenever possible. Mr. Williams is an incredibly unfair and harsh grader. He ripped all of my drafts to shreds, only to point out totally new flaws in my final draft, usually things that had existed in previous versions of my papers that he had neglected to point out. I'm currently in the process of contesting my grade, as are a number of others in my class. I'm not a bad student, and I typically get A-range grades on papers for other courses, not just Lit Hum. But I'm wary of this review sounding like a "wahh I got a bad grade in this course and so I'm going to complain about this teacher to make myself feel better." I can assure you that's not the case. Grades don't matter in the long term. What matters is the way this class made me feel, which was miserable. I was constantly frustrated with Mr. Williams, both for his arbitrary and unfair grading and for his hypocrisy. He gave us numerous lectures on the importance of punctuality and not wasting our time when tuition is so high, only to be at least three to five minutes late to class. He also constantly pushed back the dates he told us he would give us our papers back, despite stressing the importance of sticking to a deadline. As a result of this delay in grading, I didn't get my second paper back until there were only three weeks left in the semester. I dreaded every second of this class and implore anyone considering taking UW with him to reconsider. It made me miserable. I don't know how the other reviews could possibly be so positive, except that maybe Mr. Williams had a personality transplant.

Jun 2016

Abby teaches UW in Sustainable Development. If you are so fortunate to have her as your teacher, stay in the class. You WILL work a lot but cannot describe how much your mind will have grown after the most intellectually provoking class for freshmen at Columbia. UW was a class in which I became more aware of myself and the world around me. This conclusion is a result of having an instructor like Abby. I have never had a more inspiring professor than Abby - one of the very few people whom I consider purely brilliant. Abby is one of the most intelligent people I have ever met and one of the most inspiring critical thinkers. I usually do not even go to office hours in my other classes, yet I went to 80% of Abby's, just because, on the one hand, her very optimist demeanor made me trust myself and inspired me to immediately go to explore the ideas we were generating together, and on the other hand, her very fast and research-oriented thinking allowed me to have the most intellectually stimulating conversations in my life. In a world abundant in hackneyed ideas, where sometimes you feel that everything has been explored and there have been so many ongoing discussions on almost any topic you might think of, Abby showed me how to bring my own contribution in an innovative way. Before University Writing, I thought that having a decisive conclusion/opinion on a topic was impossible given the myriad of argument and counterarguments one can find. Yet, through P2 and P3, I realized that researching, exploring a conceptual problem from many and contrasting angles, allows you to hold an opinion on a topic and gives you trust to sustain it. Abby taught me for the first time in my life to start an essay with a question I wanted to answer -- not a claim disguised in a dishonest question. Thanks to her constant support (challenging me with further and even more intellectually stimulating questions on my topic, teaching me how to not distort the data and quotes that I find in order to fit my "evidence" and instead see them as an opportunity to explore even more my question, summarizing my sometimes disordered ideas), I had some of the most rewarding moments in my life: the satisfaction of coming up with my own claims after a most intellectually engaging research. Furthermore, I cannot thank Abby enough for how supportive she was of everyone's ideas. This attitude can only show how -- not even open-minded, because it would be too modest a description -- intelligent she is, for an intelligent person is, above all, curious. An intelligent person sees ideas everywhere and is interested in how everyone came to think an idea, which is what Abby did every single time we met with her. All in all, even if I had just taken Abby's class, I am confident I could have called my Columbia experience truly transformative. Finally, I want to add a last note. I went to the writing center a couple of times and was never satisfied, I always felt I was losing and wasting my time trying to explain to the instructors my ideas and they were understanding them very slowly, having me to repeat them etc. etc., yet with Abby, who even anticipated what I wanted to say, everything was so much different. Also, when Abby had to be replaced once, another UW instructor came in and it was then that I was completely certain that it was nothing about the course that made our classes extraordinary -- it was just Abby's way of teaching it. With Abby, time flew and did not know how to take more advantage of every single minute spend in a class coordinated by such a gifted person, whereas with the other instructor I was constantly looking at the wall clock. I am not saying that the other instructor was not an expert in writing; what I want to express is that Abby is a genuine professor. Abby is a genuine expert in writing, but so are many writers - what makes her the best professor I have ever had is that Abby has genuine pedagogical and communication skills and, above all, a superior ability to think critically. In terms of feedback, never have I seen such a dedicated professor. She volunteered to even record herself giving feedback, on top of writing very insightful comments! Never has she refused to meet up with me during office hours and she has always responded to my emails as well. I appreciate my instructor immensely and I thank Columbia for hiring such uniquely gifted people like Abby, who have offered me the possibility to develop as a critical thinker in one year, especially the last semester with UW, more than I had in all the previous years of my education.

Jun 2016

Professor Birch is an overall very good professor. The readings - personally, I found almost all to be very interesting. The ones I didn't find interesting I simply didn't write about. Discussions - Campbell is a fantastic discussion leader. He's smart, calculated, and somehow manages to listen to every single comment. I really enjoyed the discussion. The discussions were rarely about with the actual process of writing, but rather about the merits of the reading. Grading - While I believe that the UW bias exists in this class as well, and people are somewhat labeled for their grade, at least half of the class got A/A-. He's not a harsh grader at all, he's very critical and had great, really in-depth remarks. Campbell is very accessible whether through emails, meetings, after class or OH. I believe that you can greatly improve your writing if you take advantage of all of this.

May 2016

Jaime clearly is inexperienced with teaching. She comes into the classroom, (1) writes down shit the class did last time, (2) tells us to write the goddamned focused freewrites, and (3) lectures for the rest of the class without giving time in class for work on the essays. So glad I am finished with this class. If you want a professor who rewards you for shit like going to the writing center, feel free to take her class, but her grading is hard af.

May 2016

Nina was terrific. She was so sweet and clearly cared about each and every one of us. I could tell she was kind of nervous for the first few weeks, but as the class became more comfortable with each other, she also became more comfortable with us. Her teaching style took some time getting used to because she would deflect a lot of questions back to the class, as well as try really hard to engage us early in the morning, but I liked it overall. She was very good about making handouts for every class, as well as keeping detailed notes on CourseWorks assignments and in PowerPoint lectures for each class. She also made herself very accessible in terms of office hours and assignment feedback. She was great about turning back assignments promptly and held us accountable for our work.

May 2016

I learned how to properly revise and articulate myself on a sentence-by-sentence basis. The handouts were extremely helpful, and I won't ever throw them away. I have applied skills learned in this class throughout other classes already throughout this semester. The course is extremely beneficial in its selected readings, and how to evaluate what is necessary in a research essay and what isn't in terms of the radical revising tactics. This course is extremely strong in that you build strong connections with your teacher as you are in a class with around 13 other individuals. The teacher brought in outside sources that we had read as actual voices in the classroom, which was strongly advantageous-- ie Susan Rosenberg came into our class and discussed her book, An American Radical, openly and honestly. Ms. Schwerin gave me the most feedback I've received in college thus far. She was always available to meet outside of class about difficult concepts or on paper ideas and extremely accessible through email. This was my favorite class this semester. She generated lots of class discussion about random topics as well as connections through other sections of the course. Her timeliness of even the longest assignments was efficient. What you get out of this course entirely depends on the work that you put in outside of class. Her selected readings were always pleasant. Feel both blessed and lucky if you get Ms. Schwerin for UW.

Apr 2016

Noah is very enthusiastic and friendly but an incredibly harsh grader, very reluctant to give out As, and not a great teacher. I didn't learn anything in his class, but I suffered from the tedious amount of work and substantial criticism he gave my essays. His classes are often confusing and he is young and arrogant. Would not recommend taking his class if possible.

Apr 2016

Julia was awesome. She pushed me to be a better writer and thinker. Her feedback on all my essays was extremely detailed, and also went way beyond simple line edits and asked me to clarify my thinking or expand on different ideas. I love how I could always meet with Julia about feedback, and she was always able to discuss things I found confusing (e.g. a Butler essay we read). Trust me, meet with her weekly! It will drastically improve the quality of your writing. Plus, I promise you she's easy to talk to and just a really interesting, kind person, even though it might seem scary to talk to a professor at first. I've never been comfortable with analytical writing before this class; I came away feeling comfortable and, dare I say, enjoying it. For reference, I don't care about grades, but I think it's relevant to point out I've never gotten an A-range grade on an analytical essay in my entire life, counting high school, so I really, really didn't have a grasp on what I was doing, nor did I look forward to analytical writing before because I felt like I was worthless at it. And to be clear, I'm not saying Julia is an easy grader — I just felt more comfortable with what I was doing, and enjoyed writing what I did regardless of the grades I ended up getting. Julia also led thoughtful class discussions that helped me better understand or analyze readings. She created a great balance between lectures and engaging with us as a class. Every time she had a Powerpoint, a lot of time would be spent in discussing in small groups to interact more with the material so we weren't just staring at slides. Julia was extremely easy to related to and was comfortable cracking jokes and laughing with us, so it was easy to interact with her and at the same time, get amazing quality feedback on all our work. FYI: the readings are interesting and sometimes really intense, but she's really good at supplying trigger warnings if you need them (ask her!).

Apr 2016

Although it is only my second semester, Nick is without a doubt the worst professor I have had here. He is lazy and completely incompetent. He cancelled class for two weeks and serially fails to show up to appointments he sets up with students--appointments that he requires us to make. He does not care about the students at all. Class discussions are dry and the reading material often doesn't even fit the American Studies theme of the course. Judith Butler?? Sure, she was American, but I thought we would be reading things about America, not simply by American authors. Nick does not teach us anything. My writing has not improved at all through this class. It is a complete waste of time, and he always waits until less than a week before the final draft is due to give you any feedback. For our third essay, Nick didn't even give us an instruction sheet about the requirements or purpose of the essay. He is so hands off that it is utterly ridiculous. He should never have been put in this position as he is truly dreadful.

Apr 2016

I took her class that had a theme of Human Rights. This was an incredibly interesting course, and inspired me to attempt a concentration in HR which I would later drop. I would highly recommend Professor Strauss. She expects a lot from her students, including meeting with her or other students in the class for peer reviews regularly. However, you will learn a lot and will never be bored in class.

Mar 2016

Absolute laziest professor I have ever met. He just dismissed class 40 minutes early because instead of teaching us in class for the next couple of weeks he wants to have individual meetings with us. That is ONE individual meeting for each person over the course of two weeks. It's like he doesn't have time to meet with us in addition to "teaching" a class. If you don't have time to teach a class, don't take the job! Did I mention he hasn't taught us anything about writing?In the first part of the semester he had tried to meet with us, but the conversations went on far too long and did not help. I admit, it is an American Studies UW class––but we should still be taught basic writing skills. Not only has my writing not improved, but in class we haven't gone through any tips. On top of that he did not explain to us what the P1 and P2 were actually supposed to be about. The writing style UW looks for is completely different from anything most students have experienced before, and he does not explain that to us. Even after going in and talking to him, I still feel like I am not learning anything and he does not care.

Mar 2016

Professor Allen Durgin will make your University Writing class possibly the best class you will ever take at Columbia. Under its non-serious first impression, he will make you learn things that will be a treasure for the rest of your life - not only as a student but also as a person. JUST TAKE UW WITH HIM.

Sep 2015

I had Chris for UWriting, and he was an amazing professor. Extremely nice, very helpful (both in and out of class) and a very fair grader. He also brought food to the class sometimes, which was always welcome. Chris taught really well, graded fairly and gave very helpful comments. He also had one-on-one meetings with students to speak to us about our drafts and see if we were going in the right direction. Not a super hard class if you do what Chris says (He's very fair about work and extensions). He also gave a lot of very practical advice, like how to get past writer's block, email etiquette, how to make your argument sound stronger, etc. Chris also gives 2 free extension 'coupons' at the beginning of the semester which you can use if you want more time for a paper. Other than that, he also gave other extension opportunities (like 'attending this event and you get an extra extension coupon', etc). TLDR: If you get Chris for UW, consider yourself blessed.

Sep 2015

She teaches UW Human Rights - sometimes too nice, but very intelligent and loving towards students. Best professor I've had.

Aug 2015

Ms. Tsygankova seems to be a very nice person, and in class, she basically tells everyone that they have a good point when they contribute ideas during discussion. Now this is definitely very encouraging (better than teachers who shut your ideas down), but her persona seems to be totally different when she's writing to you - whether it's through email, feedback, or even in the syllabus. She's a friendly person and easy to talk to, but just a lot harsher in her written comments, so be prepared for that. This isn't to say that she's an unfair grader - I think she's definitely strict with her grading, and she expects you to get through some very dense readings, but I don't think her reasoning for her grades are necessarily unjustified. However, I did find it difficult sometimes to understand what exactly she wanted from me, or what she wanted me to do to fix my writing. She would point out that I was doing something wrong, but I often found myself wishing she could give me more advice on how to fix it. Some papers that she made us read had interesting topics, but the papers we had to write for U-Writing were a pain-in-the-butt (not really her fault though). Ms. Tsygankova's not a bad teacher to have - she's not life-changing or anything, but you won't die if you have her.

Aug 2015

Alexander is a decent guy but not a good teacher. He often seemed unprepared, not only to teach the material but to be the center of attention. I could excuse awkwardness alone, seeing that this was his first year teaching, but his inconsistencies extended beyond that. He barely commented on drafts but graded final essays very harshly. In one-on-one meetings, which were mandatory, his comments were vague and generally positive-- nothing like his feedback on the final draft. After at least two students complained, everyone received A's on the last assignment.

Aug 2015

I had Ronna for UWriting, Gender Studies. It will be an "eh" experience if you're a good writer. If you're not the best writer and looking for a class to improve, this is not for you. She will probably make you feel kind of dumb and you will do poorly. She is more on the tough side of grading. She seemed to pick favorites, this was the only time when she showed personality. Overall a fairly monotone course ie why it will be an "eh" experience. Simply put - U writing is 100% what your professor makes of it, and she will not make anything great out of it and you will not improve as a writer.

Aug 2015

I came into my UW class with extremely low expectations (I mean, who ever raves about a mandatory writing class), but Ms Zander's class blew me away. Ms. Zander was kind, fair, and smart - but above all, she was just a really good teacher with the rare ability to facilitate classes effectively. She frequently made time for "focused free writes" during classes (which helpfully trained us to be more reflective throughout the writing process), created a very inclusive and non-threatening class environment, and taught us the finer points of academic writing super effectively. And while her essay feedback was top-notch + incredibly helpful, she wasn't the sort to force her opinion down students' throats. Like if you choose not to incorporate her (usually on-point) suggestions into your next draft, it's okay, no one will die. Also, she fed us with cookies/donuts. So I can say with some certainty that Ms. Zander was an excellent instructor to have - and you're lucky if you get her! She's a grad student, though, so I don't know how long she'll be around for. Maybe the only con of this class for me would have been the readings. I didn't particularly enjoy most of them (I chose unthemed precisely because I didn't want to have to deal with gender twice a week; however, many of the readings ended up being related to gender issues anyway). But those were just my personal preferences I guess. And anyway the quality of teaching more than made up for the readings by far.

Aug 2015

I attended this class Fall 2014. Margie, or Abby as she prefers to be called, is pretty awesome. She is always on time and very organized. The packet that comes with our syllabus was insanely helpful. She is very straight-forward but not curt, so you feel encouraged to share your thoughts or ideas but the class also stays on track. I enjoyed the essays she chose for us to read and she facilitated discussions well. She works VERY hard on grading papers and got them back to us astonishingly quickly. She also gives wonderfully helpful and clear feedback and has no problem helping people develop their ideas. Her grading is super fair and reflects the work you put into your assignments. University Writing is a notoriously tough unavoidable class, and I'm glad I took it with her.

Jul 2015

Leah Lee Zander is pretty much amazing. She’s vibrant, enthusiastic and organised, and her class is structured to be as discussion-based as possible. My section was reluctant to speak up in class, unfortunately, but once everyone did, it made the process that much less painful. UWriting on its own is dry and unappealing, so the amount of energy Leah put into it formed the entirety of my interest in this course. Leah is always enthusiastic about everyone’s new work, in addition to being very understanding and open. She expects everyone to adhere to her standards which she sets out at the start of the semester, but she’s very understanding when it comes to student-related stress. Just talk to her if you have any questions. Try and participate to make the most out of it. She really cares, guys.

Jun 2015

As opposed to most of my friends, this class was a nightmare (and I'm an English major so it was somewhat terrifying to see the subjectivity involved with what I thought would be my favorite Core class). Ms. Wang, while a great human being and extremely intelligent, can't explain anything and is an inept teacher. The prompts were never fully explained, a rubric was never really given, and guidance in any direction was never given at all. If you prefer that to structure, his might be a good class to take, except that even most free-form folk need to know what it is they're expected to write about. The problem is, the attempts at explaining the prompts were more confusing than the prompts themselves. A majority of the class was at a complete loss as to what to do/what was going on. Discussion involved three people spouting absurdities and everyone else trying desperately to understand what was going on. All in all, if possible, switch.

Jun 2015

-he taught the American Studies themed UW -topics are interesting if you like American history -readings are reasonable and helpful and relevant -writing exercises on readings clarified assignments -discussions help guide you to your claim/topic, especially when you didn't understand or didn't understand the readings -he made us do peer review for each progression, which really helped -writing center is a blessing -he makes you meet with him at least once -approachable and ready to help/meet -can be long-winded: takes 10 minutes to make a 5 minute point

Jun 2015

Great class, great professor. Highly recommended.

Jun 2015

This semester with Eliza was much greater than expected. I don't quite understand all of the negative Culpa reviews because the class was fun to be in. The people were great and Eliza was great. In class she was both funny and caring. As far as writing goes, she wasn't as tough as I expected her to be from reading these reviews. I went into this class being a pretty bad writer, but I was still able to come out of it with a B+. Eliza puts a lot of effort into helping her students, and I admire hat about her. She really cared that we did well and that we improved our writing. Yes the class is a lot of work, but that goes with any UW class. Overall, I feel as though Eliza was a great instructor, and I'm very happy with my decision to pick her class.

May 2015

This class was a lot of work. I don't think that was a reflection on TW, but rather UW on a whole. I actually thoroughly enjoyed this class though, and would definitely choose to take it with TW if I had it to do over. In the beginning of the semester I was a bit skeptical of her and her teaching style, but she really warmed up as the semester progressed and the class was pretty enjoyable even with the heavy workload. I do not agree with the previous reviewer and feel that my writing improved a ton and that I was definitely able to apply what I learned in even the classes I took during the same semester. She's by no means an easy grader, but she's definitely not a harsh one either. Overall I thought her grading was pretty fair, and for me at least reflected the work I put in. Definitely take advantage of the writing center. I didn't and regret not doing so as I probably would've ended up with a half to a full grade higher.

May 2015

She is probably one of the worse University Writing teachers you'll meet.

Apr 2015

Professor Watson is an incredibly nice woman who is very approachable and receptive to helping students. That being said, I didn't think she was a great professor. I wanted to get a lot out of uwriting and develop into a better writer. However, I don't think Professor Watson is the best teacher in terms of helping students grow as writers. Professor Watson will rarely/never edit your grammar, so if you aren't good at that, then this may be the class for you. She is much more focused on bigger ideas and the content than on the style of your writing. Perhaps the biggest flaw I found in Professor Watson was the randomness in giving out grades. Each time I thought I wrote an excellent paper, I received a B, and each time I thought my paper was below average, I somehow conjured an A. She does provide an extra credit opportunity at the end of the semester, but in general, her grading is totally subjective and random. I recommend going to her office hours and talking through her comments with you.

Apr 2015

I thoroughly enjoyed my experience in Professor Wojczuk's class! She's extremely helpful and patient, and definitely go to office hours since she'll be willing to spend almost an hour with you to talk out your ideas and help you figure out what you're trying to say. She knows what questions to ask that will generate a fruitful discussion. I came out of the class with a whole new appreciation for the writing process (especially after that monster P3), and she really encouraged me to always be skeptical and constantly challenge my preconceived notions. This was probably my favorite class last semester!

Feb 2015

John is a solid U-Writing professor, and I feel like my ability to articulate an argument and comprehend a heavy document greatly improved during the course of his class. Sometimes the class can be boring, but John treats everybody like an adult and is able to present everything in a very understandable manner. He is a fairly tough grader, but if you are a good writer you will be in good shape.

Feb 2015

Ronna was by far my favorite professor first semester. She's knowledgable, sweet, and just an overall good person and professor. She made everyone in the class feel comfortable and was able to facilitate group discussions really well. Her office hours are also really helpful, so be sure to go to them. She tries to make herself available as much as she can. She grades fairly, and is very conscious about handing drafts back so that we have enough time for the final draft. My advice would be to treat every draft like the final draft, so that you don't have to cram writing a whole new essay in a week. The readings she chose were really interesting too, more so than the other sections from what I could gather. They changed my views on a lot of different gender related topics. Bottom line: if you're placed in Ronna's class, be thankful. If you take Uwriting second semester, then try and register for her class. You won't regret it!

Jan 2015

Professor Tsygankova is an amazing teacher and a fair grader. She will put in a lot of effort into helping you with your writing and is very responsive on email. She will read all of your homeworks, but they are not graded. In terms of grading, she offers an extra credit assignment -- attending and writing a short essay on any presentation given by faculty at Columbia. She also offers a revision of Progression 1 or 2, for a completely new grade. If you struggle at first in her class, don't worry because she will do everything she can to improve your writing and give you a fair grade in the end. She clearly cares a lot about the course and will try and encourage discussion, but at times has difficulty encouraging seminar discussion, but this may also be because I took a section that started at 8:40 in the morning. She also has a great sense of humor and will bring some sweets/pastries after each progression!

Jan 2015

Amber is definitely a newer professor, but her own writing speaks for itself. She let us read her dissertation on philosophy one night as homework, and her comments on your essay (and she writes more for you the more interest you show in class) are definitely worth while. She may not help you with MLA or finicky grammatical issues, but if you're an aspiring writers, she gives you flow. She cleaned up my sentences a lot and just made the whole writing process way more organic. The work she gives can sometimes be irrelevant or repetitive, but some exercises are useful in that she is such a reductionist-- say your point in 3 sentences (for which you will write a 2,500 word essay on) is a common homework assignment.

Dec 2014

Sam teaches the unthemed section of UWriting, and I have nothing but positive things to say about his class. He is a PhD student and I'm not sure how long he's taught the class, but he does seem to have it down. As a disclaimer, I did well in the class (A+) and while I'm a science major I do enjoy writing, but it seems like many others did as well. UWriting is one of those classes that is hard to teach, because everyone from english majors to engineers need to take it but Sam tried to make sure that the readings for this section were recent, not unreasonably long, and interesting (for example there were two David Foster Wallace essays in the reading and some essays about New York). Most importantly, Sam is aware of the challenges of being a first year at Columbia, lightening work load around midterms, pushing back deadlines when we seemed overwhelmed, etc. His feedback on essays was always useful and helped to improve my writing, and the assignments gave us enough room to breathe and find what we were interested in within the text. Doing well in his class wasn't tremendously hard as long as you participate during class and take his feedback (important, you have the potential to raise your grade 1/3 of a letter if you're engaged, I calculated my grade without the participation bump and it should have been an A). Overall, sam is an engaging, understanding professor who knows UWriting may not be your favorite class but still grades very generously and makes it a pleasant experience. If you have the chance, stay in/switch in to this class!

Dec 2014

I'd heard a lot of negative opinions about University Writing, but since everyone must take it, whattayagonnado? This class will improve your writing exponentially. The syllabus is straightforward - read some literary articles, write some journals about them, come up with your own idea to enter the conversation, and write, write, write. That's going to be everyone's experience, regardless of the instructor. On to Harald Sundt: Wonderful human being. Hal showed a genuine interest in each class discussion. He was very gracious working with the "class mind," and had a keen ability to ensure clarity on participative input before moving on. Having spoken with many students in other UniW classes, I can say that Hal is a gem. Understandably, the UniW instructors are grad students, each working on their respective studies, so they have to balance their instructor time with their own study, and I could see if you ended up with a selfish instructor, you'd be screwed. This is not Hal Sundt. Of course, the instructor should have frequent office hours, but Hal went above and beyond to ensure that each student was offered a personal coaching/editing session in addition to regular office hours, that coincided with each draft stage. By the time final drafts were due, each student should have been extraordinarily confident they had received enough guidance from the instructor to land a decent grade. Last thing: I had a fairly extensive background in writing prior to this course, but not this "literary" kind of writing. More so, I believe the course taught me more about reading, and how to disseminate and digest complex pieces, then develop my own opinion.

Dec 2014

She's awesome. She chooses interesting topics and gives great feedback on drafts so you know exactly what to fix in order to get a better grade.

Nov 2014

This Professor is THE WORST PROFESSOR EVER. She would never give review on your essays, she will give feedback after you the deadline, she is so confusing. Your class will grow a bond after hating her for 3 months. You will not get an A, because A is for people who can write like Fitzgerald. Be prepared to never never get any feedback. She is often late, and will make you wait in class to compensate for the time loss, as if it was the class' fault. DO NOT CHOOSE THIS PROFESSOR. If you can, change it!!! it doesn't matter if you want to take a class and this one fits your schedule, DO NOT REGISTER FOR THIS!!!! worst. professor. ever.

Nov 2014

EMMA IS THE BEST I am currently taking Emma (since she's a Ph.D. candidate she would rather be called by her first name rather than Professor) for University Writing but I've decided to write a review since many people are getting ready to register for classes. University Writing is one of those classes that we are all required to take and many people thread this but taking class with Emma has been both productive and engaging. She's very approachable, understanding and overall an extremely sweet person. Her readings are all interesting which makes it easier when writing the papers. Her feedback is always precise and clear so take advantage of her office hours!! I have grown so much as a writer, I HIGLY recommend taking UW with Emma!

Nov 2014

If possible, try to avoid taking this UWriting section. The course is already a waste of time, as it actually just makes writing way more complicated than it is by creating a whole UWriting dictionary of vague terms and ideas. While the readings that were assigned by Tana were interesting, she was not very good at generating discussion about them nor was she very good at clearly explaining all those vague UWriting terms. She was a harsh grader, something my entire class basically agreed on and was also vague about what she was looking for. Even though she would give us feedback on drafts, it would often not include the criticism that we would get on our final papers. What I mean is that she could criticize one thing in a draft, which you fix, but then in your final she mentions some other huge problem that she failed to note was a problem in her prior feedback. Meaning you can't really end up with the outcome you would hope for on any of the papers. Honestly, by the end of the semester I felt like my writing had gotten worse and like I had lost literally all interest in writing on even interesting research topics. Since you have to deal with the waste of time that is UWriting, try to find a different section.

Nov 2014

NICOLE GERVASIO IS A GODDESS. I AM UPSET THAT SHE DOES NOT ALREADY HAVE A GOLD NUGGET. HELLO? IT'S BEEN LIKE 2 YEARS. Taking UW with Nicole is what inspired me to be an English major. She is so approachable and dedicated to making her students better writers. She is available as a resource at every step of the way, from random ideas and breakdowns to a full-fledged ~progression~. She is also just in general a really chill person and I've kept in touch with her since leaving that class! If you have taken the intro to the English major, ENGL 3001, you know it is pretty much the 7th circle of hell if you don't have a good seminar leader. I'm taking it this semester and I am genuinely sad that I can't take it again next semester (Spring 2015) and have Nicole as a seminar leader!! So if you're taking it in the spring, there's no other option. You're welcome.

Oct 2014

If Campbell continues to teach Uwriting, whoever gets him should consider themselves lucky. Campbell is a PhD candidate in the English department of the Graduate School of Arts and Science and from Auckland, New Zealand. He is witty, funny and probably one of the more helpful professors/TAs I've encountered since I've gotten to Columbia. He is really understanding about anything that you talk with him about, extremely lenient in regards to being in class on time (8:40-9:55 is a nightmare), and super reachable in his office hours/email. He has made Uwriting significantly less worse than all the hellish things you might've heard about. He seems to be a decent grader too!

Sep 2014

This class was extremely easy. As long as you turn the work in on time, follow the guidelines for essays, and take in feedback notes from previous work, you will get an A. Most people who did not get an A had their grades lowered because of tardiness, poor attendance or turning papers in late. As long as you show up and participate, you're all set. She's not strict when grading papers. The texts in this class are not particularly interesting reads and Diana can be very mellow which results in this class being quite uneventful (aka boring). With that said, she is very sweet, attentive and organized.

Sep 2014

Coming into Columbia I had doubts about my writing abilities. After taking this course with Professor N'Diaye I felt prepared to handle any writing required of me in subsequent classes. The feedback she gives on Drafts/Essays is very detailed and provided in a timely manner. Although there are many intermediate tasks required before the Final Essay Draft is due, doing each one on time ensures your final product is something you can truly be proud of. If you have her, you are in good hands.

Sep 2014

Glad to see Jared now has a silver nugget, as he deserves. I had him for University Writing in an American Studies section last year during the first semester, but am only now getting around to writing about him. Jared was super personable and very dedicated to trying to get students to care about the material. He taught UW as more of a seminar based class revolving around the readings, which were all very interesting and he offered a lot of insight into, rather than the "how to write" portions. Class discussion was encouraged, but he was by no means pushy - I remember a specific occasion when one classmate commented on a girl who never talked in a somewhat rude way and Jared defended her, which stuck out as a class act to me. Aside from that, he's genuinely interested in his students' lives and in just talking to them about what they're doing. He encouraged us to write about things important or engaging to us and tie our writing to the modern, even when reading old texts. He's also very accommodating with deadlines and happy, even excited, to talk to students about their stuff outside of class. His grading seemed fair to me - he's enthusiastic in pointing out what he likes about your writing and not afraid to give comments where he sees a need of improvement, which were by and large very helpful. He's also a funny guy and loves to talk about rap and other music. He also had a long conversation with us at one point in which he tried to puzzle out exactly what the phenomenon of Pokemon was to our generation.

Sep 2014

Arden is the coolest UW teacher, hands down. If you have a chance to take Uwriting with her, TAKE IT. She runs what is best described as a totally no bullshit class: she doesn't give homework except the progressions, and each progression is one rough draft, one final draft. You can send her more drafts and she'll give you feedback on all of them, but they're not required. Her readings are very well chosen (and not the stuff the other UW classes do either). The comments she gives back on progressions are really helpful. Also, you get cookies from Artopolis on a regular basis.

Aug 2014

I am surprised that, as a SEAS student, I can honestly say that Jaime's University Writing class was my favorite class this past semester, despite having two other teachers that are practically gods in the ieor and economics departments. Jaime's workload appears to be standard for University Writing, apart from the fact that you have to turn in a source packet (stapled print outs of all of your sources with quotes highlighted) for your research paper. So as far as workload is concerned, nothing out of the ordinary here. What is out of the ordinary however is Jamie's commitment to her students. Yes, you will put a lot of hours into this class, but I have no doubt that Jamie put even more work into this class than we did. We would get detailed feedback on all drafts, and she would be willing to meet with you at any point in the writing process. In these meetings, she was extremely helpful in guiding you towards new angles of approach without actually telling you what to do. It seemed like teamwork to me: she would give some options, I'd take one of the further, and we'd repeat until we felt like we had made a strong progressive argument. The detail with which she reads your exercises and drafts is apparent in the issues she finds in your papers, and the result of such close comments is a hugely improved final product. I can honestly say some of my best writing occurred in the class, almost solely thanks to Jaime. In the classroom, Jaime is always excited, engaged, and ready to go. She did her best to warn us ahead of time when weeks would get rough, and ask us when other midterms were to try and avoid killing us in her class simultaneously. She was also very easy to relate to; she even explained doge to us on the last day of class. As mentioned by the previous reviewer, Jaime is a tough grader, but extremely fair and clear (NOTE: Even though she is "tough", it is most definitely possible to earn an A range grade in her class). I never questioned why I received a grade on any given paper because her comments in explaining strengths and weaknesses of the paper were extremely thorough. Jaime also remembered all your essays and would use mistakes made and strengths learned in previous essays when working on current ones, something I was pleasantly surprised with. Overall, if you are willing to put in the work for Jaime's class, it is going to be an extremely rewarding experience. I would definitely recommend her to anyone.

Jul 2014

I came into UW daunted by the horror stories I had heard from my friends who had taken the class first semester. You undoubtedly will have heard that UW is an awful class, so I won't argue that point and readily admit that there is a massive amount of work ahead of you. However, if you happen to get or choose Amber Medland, you are quite lucky. Amber is a teacher that truly cares about you, your writing, and making the class as good of an experience as possible. I did not expect to put as much work into this class as I ended up doing- the assignments took much longer than I anticipated and there was a huge amount of reading that you really have to do in order to write your essays. I naturally take forever to do anything, so I would consider myself somewhat of an exception, but do keep in mind that you need to plan out when you are going to do your assignment and DO NOT assume that you can complete the homework and turn in something of high quality in just an hour before class. Procrastination is also a problem because everything you do for one class is built upon for the next class, so putting off any work just makes the next night's homework even worse. Moral of the story, plan ahead for a consistently heavy load of UW homework. Again, having Amber for UW was a blessing. Many of my friends have had terrible experiences with other UW teachers but I promise as long as you respect Amber and do what she says your semester in UW will be tolerable. I hesitate to say pleasant because there were many a night (or should I say morning) when I was sacrificing sleep to finish UW and cursing the class; however, office hours with Amber are invaluable, arguably the most helpful office hours I've had this year at Columbia. Also, comparing with my friends she gave the most consistent and helpful feedback among our teachers. Every class she would return our previous assignments with notes and helpful questions, something many of my friends did not get. And did I mention she's British?

May 2014

Christina is a goddess. Having taken Frontiers of Science first semester and having hardly had the best instructor, I was more than a little apprehensive about the workload of UWriting. But Christina disarmed my assumptions from the very first class, simultaneously an imposing figure with a you're-going-to-do-your-bloody-work-and-we're-going-to-fix-your-bloody-writing-aren't-we attitude and a colloquial, approachable, friendly individual. Her reading selections are always very thought-provoking, and she participates in discussion as if she were a student herself, while somehow, ingeniously keeping track of what she wants to cover. She structures her classes around what she's noticed her students need help with. At the same time she's absolutely concerned with students' well-being and was able to empathize with us, understanding delays and granting leniency when necessary -- she's also able to enliven class discussions between college students at 8:40 in the morning, a herculean feat in its own right. Office hours (at least one is mandatory for Progression 1) are insanely helpful. My first writing conference was probably the most productive 15 minutes of my life, and the rest didn't disappoint after that. Christina's written feedback is always thorough but clear and concise -- and if you follow her suggestions between exercises, formal draft, and final draft, your writing (and your grade) will improve dramatically. She pays a lot of attention to your work, and her end comments are incredibly useful. Christina is one of those grad students who want to become a professor because they want to teach, and she's really quite good at it. I highly recommend her if she's still teaching UWriting next year.

May 2014

McCormack replaced our previous teacher for UWriting. However, the way he conducted the class was not fruitful and didn't contribute to me as a writer. He spent a bulk of the class just him talking on one or two of the essays being evaluated, and during the rest he handed out a bunch of handouts that were supposed to be helpful, but were very formulaic. I certainly did not feel my creativity improve, but I also felt that I was just trying to fit certain guidelines without knowing why, and no matter how hard I tried, I always seemed to fail at it. He also has conferences for every progression, but he doesn't give very good constructive advice. I didn't like the classes very much since they were very one sided and not fun to participate at. He seemed to dictate some rules and wasn't helpful for much else.

May 2014

Jaime Green is awesome. Even being a grad student, she is probably better at teaching writing than some Columbia professors. She made everything clear and had a ton of writing and revising exercises to help us, even giving us tips from her personal experiences with writing. She was consistently bright and bubbly and always kept class interesting, even though it was late at night and all of us were tired by the time we got there. She also took a personal interest in everyone and the development of everyone’s writing and could remember what all of our paper topics were even weeks after she’d graded them. We were all at different levels of writing skill coming into the class, but she managed to make the class applicable and helpful to all of us. She was also incredibly helpful during office hours. She would help me think through my ideas for essays and also help my edit them, so even if meeting with her for a paper wasn’t required, it was really great to take advantage of her office hours. Jaime's grading wasn't easy but it was always fair, and you could always learn something from the grade and comments you got on each paper. I would recommend taking Jaime's section to anyone taking University Writing.

May 2014

Before I found out I was in Kassi's section, I dreaded UWriting. After our first class, I was excited to have someone so passionate and knowledgeable about writing and gender studies. She made the class fun and memorable, with various visitors (like Thomas Page McBee and Jamil Smith!) and occasional snacks. She expects improvement, so if you enter as a strong writer, you will lose nothing in Kassi's class. She finds a way for every student to learn new writing techniques and by some miracle, all her students come out of the class as better writers (or at least in my section). The assigned reading was super time-consuming and ate up my printing quota, but the responses definitely gave me a deeper understanding of the works. The responses also make writing the final essays a breeze, since most of your points would be in the shorter responses. Meetings with Kassi were my favorite aspect of her class -- she takes the time to really know her students and their respective writing styles, which she then tries to work with. She isn't too harsh of a grader and allows for a resubmission of one of the final Progression drafts (but with heavy revisions). TLDR: Kassi is the best -- she works with students to improve their writing and everyone comes out of her class as a better, stronger writer.

May 2014

I had some seriously mixed opinions on this class. While it's pretty rare to hear a glowing review of a UW class, I didn't particularly enjoy this one. It was a tremendous amount of work (but that was to be expected), but it felt kind of unrewarding. Amber was a decent instructor, but I think it was the first class she had ever taught, and she seemed a bit in over her head. It could definitely improve with time though. She was a very strict grader, and my grades seemed to have no correlation with the amount of work I put in to the essays (whether they were justified or not is kind of hard to determine in English classes). My grades also didn't match very well with those I received in LitHum--my professors preferred very different styles, and an essay which would have received an A in one would get a B in the other, and vice versa. Amber's comments were helpful, but she had a very particular notion of what she liked, and she would, in large part shape your essay towards that (though she would help you every step of the way). She was very accessible via email and in person, and I wish I'd taken advantage of that more than I did. In short, I wouldn't avoid this professor, especially in a few years. But it wasn't the best UW could have been.

May 2014

Paulson is a fair instructor. One of the downsides is that he assigns "Writing Exercises" every Monday and Wednesday to be finished by the next class. These exercises include readings, summaries, outlines, peer review letters, and drafts. These can be time-consuming and taxing, especially for assignments that are assigned on Mondays and due by Wednesdays. However, some of them are quite useful in making sure that you are keeping up with the work and not procrastinating on final drafts. Depending on how you see these writing exercises, they might actually be a benefit. He provides useful criticism on drafts. However, I'm not entirely sure if addressing those criticisms actually help, since my grades on the essays have remained fairly consistent (example: Paulson writes suggestions on the formal draft. I follow his suggestions and turn in the final draft. I get back my final draft with some extra criticism that he didn't mention on the formal draft). His criticisms are valid for the most part though. In class, Paulson reserves some time for group discussions and peer evaluations. As a result, the actual class is not taxing - only the assignments themselves are. No computers are allowed except for the very last class of the semester. Paulson also requires students to meet with him to discuss certain progressions. Most of his suggestions will revolve around making your essay more focused (versus a claim that is overly broad), so keep that in mind. Personality-wise, Paulson has a very even temperament. He won't make you laugh or cry, but what can you really expect from University Writing?

Apr 2014

Carin's class was kind of boring because it was from 5:40-6:55pm, but she really tried her best to make it interesting. On top of that I thought she was a pretty fair grader and she was definitely approachable. I ended up with an A- in the class and I don't even enjoy writing. The one thing that did annoy me was that she didn't really give critical feedback on each progression. Once, I switched my intro and my conclusion and she didn't even notice. Also, it wasn't a themed section so she got to pick the topic. She chose plagiarism (which was interesting to me), but some people really hated it. By the 3rd essay she shifted to intellectual property so that was pretty cool.

Mar 2014

Micromanagement at its finest. University Writing as a class typically features a closely monitored discussion group and peer work, but Selby's intense grip over the classroom dynamic is something that you'll either come to love or hate. If you're a dazed, independent or wise-assed student, don't join this section-- you WILL behave and adhere to the style of conduct or she WILL, cloyingly, call you out on it right in the middle of class. You will love her class if you are particularly alert, grade-grubby or masochistic in loving to worry about your essays and having every bit of them torn to pieces. She will indulge every bit of your stress. If you are your own kinda guy, too proud and snooty over your own writing, do not bother. If you are also too proud to fully bow down to parameters of prompts (in style, content, and length), again, do not bother. Following parameters and conformity to the assignment is where she will truly hammer you in terms of her grading. Selby doesn't seem to appreciate any kind of side-talking or jokes, because her class is planned to the very minute: because of how meticulous it is, she might tire you out by the end of each section. She hears all and sees all-- don't even consider looking at your phone or someone else, let alone let the classroom discussion topic get even a little off-point. During pair and group discussions, she will circulate the room and actively listen and give feedback to any input you are heard giving in a private conversation. The many, many writing exercises and multi-step approaches to said exercises take away from peer editing time and answering of useful questions, but some people like the incredibly thorough teaching style. A plus: this woman will know your writing like the back of her hand, and it's not BS. She knows you and what you can put into your work, whether you like it or not. If she overhears a peer editor say something to you across the room, she can specifically attest to whether or not she agrees or disagrees with it. She is a quality instructor, but this doesn't mean that she benefits everybody. You'll come out stronger in one way or another from this course. If you need to learn how to kiss professor's writing standards, this is a REALLY good way to start to get your butt in gear. If you need micromanagement and want your writing perfected to common standards, Selby is your instructor. ...but if you are a rebellious little bird or have a less-traditional writing background, avoid this class like the plague!

Feb 2014

Jared Lister was one of the best teachers I have ever had. The American studies concentrated University Writing class is one of my favorite classes I have taken at Columbia. Jared assigned really interesting material, and guided the discussion in the perfect way, such that if felt like we as a class were getting into deep questions and answers about the texts. He's funny, relaxed, and very approachable. I'm disappointed to see the less than enthusiastic comments below, I think it's one of those classes you get more out of when you put more into and do the reading.

Feb 2014

The professor engages in friendly conversations to perpetuate the facade of friendship. He also appears to encourage the free flow of ideas during class discussions and interjects light-hearted comments. This type of communication suggests that he is your friend and there is a mutuality or an equivalent relationship between a student and the professor. In actuality, such communication belies his regard for students and their opinions. There is only one way to do things in this class - his way or the highway. He is very rigid in his approach to writing and he's unwilling to consider alternative ideas. This leads to surprises when he reviews your papers since his verbal feedback is often quite different than his written reviews of students' work.

Jan 2014

Great guy, sweet, but 1. Very harsh grader - he basically doesn't like anyone's writing, which is very annoying; makes an already challenging class freaking hopeless 2. Office Hours/Help - literally none; you go to talk to him, and the minutes keep ticking, yet at the end you realize you haven't actually reached any conclusion and you have nothing to improve with. But, his comments on essays are helpful, more so that meeting with him, so pay attention to those. Overall, I would only recommend him for strong writers who will go to the writing center for additional help!

Jan 2014

Yurina is probably the best professor I have ever had as an undergraduate student. She made me realize that students get out of the class what the professors put in. Yurina is so incredibly hardworking and goes to great such great lengths to see her students succeed (e.g. spending one hour writing margin notes for EACH of our formal drafts), that she really challenged me to develop as a writer. At first, I treated University Writing as just a CORE requirement that I wanted to get over with, however, I cannot even recognize the writer that Yurina has helped me become. She opened so many new ways for thinking and writing for me, that I am forever grateful to her. I feel bad for other students who have professors that do not care as much about the course and their students. If you want/need to improve your writing, take Yurina's class. She will push and challenge you, but it will be worth it in the end. The consensus in our class is that she is also a very fair grader, but she can literally point out BS in any single paragraph, so as long as you put hard work in, she will notice, appreciate it and reward you. She is also a genuinely nice person and very approachable. University Writing was such a joy with her. Our entire class became very close and it was definitely one of my favorite classes that semester. Also, I think Columbia should hire Yurina as a full-time professor. She is brilliant, kind, hardworking and has a HUGE impact on her students.

Jan 2014

Tara is a really great UW professor! She assigned a lot of ungraded assignments, but these assignments helped me a lot when I worked on my essays. She is very approachable and takes teaching seriously. I find her straightforward and sharp comments on my essay drafts the most useful in editing my essays. For the most part, I edited my essays according to her comments and got good grades. In the past, I crafted my essays so that they complied with my teachers' opinions on a specific topic. However, I did not have to do that in Tara's class. She was very open to any sort of arguments as long as I had evidence to back them up. Also, I notice her instructions for each progression appeared to be a lot more clear than those of other UW professors so that I wasn't left confused. UW became my favorite class of the semester and I definitely recommend taking her class!

Jan 2014

Truly an amazing teacher who cares deeply about each student. A bit of an awkward guy, Tim is enormously helpful every time you meet with him (which ends up being 5-7 times at least), always offering new ideas to help your writing improve drastically. His feedback is a bit overboard with the page letter at the end and all the comments, but I never remember a moment when the feedback wasn't helpful. This guy literally spends 4 hours per kid per progression. I got an A but happen to be a pretty skilled writer (from talking to others, his grading is fair and he'll always explain his grading).

Jan 2014

Tara does come across as a little uptight. Her syllabus, which she forces you to sign, seems a little over the top given that this is a college course. However, she actually wants you to read it (shocker) because it details her policies for the entire year. She wants people to turn in their homework and attend class. This seems to be a particularly demanding request for some, since attending class must be a foreign concept to them. It got to a point when people weren't showing up or turning in their work, which wasn't graded, that she was forced to be a little stricter. Completely reasonable if you ask me. Tara is not an easy grader. If you want an A, you'll have to work for it. She's an intelligent woman and knows when students b.s. their essays. She expects you to do some honest work. She wants an honest effort. If you're really working, she will help you out (read extensions). Her revisions across the drafts on each paper will help you become a better writer. They weren't petty or "trying to change my writing style"—a common complaint across UWriting. Tara can make you a better writer, if you do the work and accept that she knows more about writing than you—she does. I liked Tara, personally and academically. While UW was the most work I had second semester, I definitely learned from it. Many of the assignments weren't just busy work. They were pretty helpful towards the overall progression. She planned her course well. I've never considered myself to be a great writer. I knew that writing wasn't my strong suit, so I went into the class willing to work. I did learn that I wasn't half as bad as I thought I was. I got an A- in the course. Long story short, if you want to learn something about writing, stick around. If you're looking for an easy grade, move along.

Jan 2014

I took University Writing: Human Rights with Nicole Gervasio, and will DEFINITELY try to take another class with her, if she teaches one in the future, (fingers crossed). Note: Taking a themed based University Writing is seriously the way to go, because you get the opportunity to write about a topic that matters to you! If you can, PLEASE take a class with Nicole Gervasio. First of All Nicole is a brilliant teacher who relates the class material to students so well. She provides an often needed serious approach to human rights issues, but also knows how to incorporate activities that provide levity to the classroom environment. My writing improved immensely through Nicole's meticulous comments on each of my drafts coupled with visiting her during office hours. She's truly approachable & so experienced. I could not believe this was her first time teaching the course. Nicole is a PhD student at Columbia (for English I believe) and does a brilliant job managing her time, really dedicating her all to teaching, it is obvious she truly cares. A really cool thing about having a PhD student for a teacher is that she often brings in material from her PhD courses, which really helps her undergraduate students! A huge plus is that Nicole truly cares about Human Rights issues, and that sentiment is delivered during each class as she fosters a respectable environment where students feel empowered to discuss and share. U Writing in general as a class will be a lot of work no matter who your teacher is, but having Nicole makes it 1000 times more manageable. She is flexible & understanding & doesn't take requirements too far, often adjusting where she sees fit for her students. I wish I could take this class 100 more times. I learned more than I ever have, I have a newfound appreciation for studying human rights issues, and am confident about my writing ability. Nicole answers emails so fast, and is such an accessible faculty member, quite relatable and even allows students to call her by her first name. She is a 5-star teacher, and any student is more than lucky to have her. Get this, she even purchased a portable projector to aid with class presentations, and truly made our tiny, awkwardly located classroom work well. Nicole will get a Golden Nugget in no time, I know it's true!!!!!

Jan 2014

Nicole is a really amazing teacher for UW. I took her Human Rights themed section and it was clear from the start that she was very passionate about the topic. But that wasn't the only thing she was passionate about - she cared so much about each and every one of her students. On top of her weekly office hours, she is always willing to schedule an additional meeting outside of class whenever it works for you. She is very into being fair, and will almost always offer you an extension when needed but is also diligent about returning papers on time. She also goes out of her way to read first and even second drafts if you send them to her and give you feedback before you have to turn in a final graded copy. But honestly, I'd say the biggest reason to take her class is that it's just super interesting. Between her knowledge of the subject and the cookies she would bake for our class, everyone loved her, even the students that usually slack off. One thing to consider is she's really cool about letting people do their own thing, and believes that some people work best while multitasking, so she lets people open their computers during class and says she "trusts you." So not 100% of the class was engaged the whole time, but for me, it wasn't a bother. The people that had something to say spoke.

Dec 2013

Lindsay is a GOD of a teacher. Possibly the best teacher I have ever had. She really knows how to work with each student differently and will spend as much time as you need helping outline an essay or just talking about a topic. The class is very involved in discussion and she loves when you participate. If you can get in this class, you should and you won't regret it a single bit. The essays are manageable and she usually pushes back deadlines or will give you an extension if you ask kindly. The course pack she requires each student to get is very do-able and the readings are really interesting. Lindsay rocks. Take her class.

Dec 2013

I am not a morning person. So imagine my delight when my section of University Writing--not a class I was particularly excited for and a tricky one to switch in and out of--was slotted at 8:40AM, to my knowledge the earliest one available. Yikes. Spoiler alert, though, Chris Edling made it bearable. The dude is just a good teacher. His classes are rigorously structured, which might sound like a bummer but more than anything lends a rare feel of productivity to a class that could so easily swing the other way. UWriting done his way felt substantive, helped along by his persistence in hammering certain tenets home (ICE your quotations! Problem! Claim! Evidence! Motive!). The notes he provides on drafts are immensely helpful, not only for grade-grubbers (do what he says and you'll probably get the A) but also for those idealists who actually want to make their writing more precise and compelling. And if you snag the "Gender" variation of this course like I did, you'll get a handful of interesting reading--along with some sorta wearying stuff, but hey--and some good conversations about a topic the guy happens to like a lot. And, you know what? He's a nice guy, too. Struggling through classes just like the rest of us, Chris never once gave off an air of "I have more important things to do." He brought a ton of unsolicited (but deeply appreciated!) food to class once, took a group picture of our class at the end of our final class, and always seemed 100% there. Years later, I might even look back fondly upon University Writing--something I'm sure a metric ton of my classmates can't also say. Two thumbs up.

Dec 2013

As an earlier review said, Lindsay taught this semester's class solely focused on DFW's writing. Lindsay has a really great sarcastic sense of humor - I was always guaranteed to laugh every single class. I heard many other people complaining about how much they hate UW and the work - Lindsay definitely does her best to make UW the least painful experience possible. She knows that we have other things to do and don't necessarily have time to do all the readings - the way she ran the class was very laid-back.

Dec 2013

Christina is the best! She is energetic, intelligent, down to earth, and happy to help her students grow and succeed. She is a very fair grader and will help anyone improve upon the grade they received on the first draft during office hours or via e-mail. Christina creates lesson plans designed to help her students improve upon whatever she feels is weak in all of the papers or what her students ask for. She basically gets a lot done without being unfair/annoying. If you do your work and show effort, you will do well.

Dec 2013

Erica was a great instructor for UWriting. She's a grad student in English, so she knows how difficult it can be to write, and really helps you out. Considering it's probably going to be next year's freshmen reading this review, just a quick overview: in UWriting you have 4 papers, and each paper you have to have 1) an exploratory draft, like a freewrite where you put your ideas on paper, 2) a formal draft, meant to be like what a final paper was in high school, and 3) the final draft, which is supposed to be your last and best work. Admittedly, at the beginning you have to remind her to give you really harsh comments on the first couple drafts of your paper, so you can fix those errors and get a good grade on the final paper (the only one that's actually graded). If you run over the time limit and need an extension, you can always email her and explain your situation - and you get two "extension coupons" at the beginning of the semester. All in all, if you write drafts on time, send it in, and go to her office hours in the Writing Center, you will have a great time in this class. I would highly recommend going to her office hours, just because having her look at your drafts (between formal and final is the best time to do it) considering she's the one grading them is a good idea. She's a fair grader, and as long as you put actual effort into your exploratory and formal draft you'll be alright for the final draft. I didn't do well on the first paper (cuz I tried to bullshit), but the ones I actually worked on I got A's on. Just remember to work freshmen! This isn't high school anymore. PS - remember to show up for class, because if you don't you get a penalty on your grades.

Dec 2013

While I loved the readings and the focus in sustainable development. Nick at times could be extremely frustrating. He has trouble sticking to a syllabus and time management. He is a rough grader (no one in our class has gotten above a B+) and his criticisms/comments are often fuzzy or contradictory. One time this semester he canceled office hours for that week and made them for 2 hours after he sent out the email. He's a sweet guy but is late with deadlines and returning assignments which often hurt us.

Dec 2013

This is just a regular University Writing class in its form, but the professor is terrible. His grading is really tough. To him "getting a B is actually a good grade" So don't expect to get an A if you don't work like crazy. You already have to work hard for a B. It's really unfair, especially when you compare it to other University Writing professors who grade much more nicely. DO NOT take this class, this guy thinks that University Writing should be the focus of your life.. I don't know what is up with his expectations, but seriously, he should tone it down a little. We're not all professional writers that plan on taking creative writing classes...

Dec 2013

If you got Crystal as a U Writing teacher, you are really lucky. University Writing is not a class that many people like, but it is an experience that everyone should appreciate. I did not like UW, not because of Crystal, but because I have a hard time writing. In the end though, I got a ton out of this class and definitely improved as a writer. I went from feeling lost within every paper I wrote, to knowing exactly what it was that I needed to concentrate on, and a format that I could fall back on. Crystal really pushes you both in class and in your writing, but at the same time she is very reasonable in her expectations. She is easy to talk to and wants to help her students. Just like any UW class, there is a lot of work, but it is spread out reasonably, and the structure forces you not to procrastinate quite as much as you could. The readings for this class were engaging, but not overly long as they often are in other UW classes. There are 4 main papers each with drafts and other work before hand. Crystal is strict about attendance and tardiness, don't be late.

Nov 2013

Professor Gordon is an *excellent* teacher. Not only has he transformed my writing dramatically, but I have also come to regard my time in his class as the most valuable learning experience at Columbia. What I learned in UW has traveled with me and impacted my every writing assignment, personal essay, even down to simple reading experiences such as the daily newspaper. I came to Columbia having already completed 2 rigorous "honors" writing classes at my previous school. I have also been studying gender and sexuality for the past ten years. I saw I was placed in the UW Gender class, and I thought "no sweat." Wrong. Start sweating. This is no easy ride, but it was hands-down worth the blood, sweat, and tears. The readings are brilliantly curated, each speaking to the last and unfolding a conversation that spans multiple decades and discourses. The writing assignments expect you to converse with distinguished writers who are articulating deeply complex social ideas. If you participate and follow his direction, you will be able to do just that. This is one of the most valuable skills you can get from this class. At the end of the course, it seemed like the material we covered in Prof. Gordon's class connected with everything around me... I could not only SEE the larger conversation taking place in every newspaper, every casual conversation, and inside all of my other class readings and discussions, but I could also SPEAK and WRITE about it. This is one of those classes that doesn't just change your opinion, but actually *changes the way that you think* This class will teach you much more than just writing. I promise that when you walk away from it, you will know that you are an infinitely better reader, writer, listener, and scholar, than before. A word of caution: this is not an easy A. If you do not cry at least twice while writing a paper, you are probably not producing A material. Professor Gordon absolutely cares, as everyone notes, but he does not play favorites with people or ideas. You can be a sexist a**hole and still do great in this class if your writing is at top performance. Equally, you can be an experienced writer and feminist, but if you do not follow the rubric you will suffer. Professor Gordon is on top of his emails, the assignments, and the material, so there is no hiding. If you think you can blend into the back of the class, you should know now that we arrange our tables in a tight circle. For better or for worse, you will always know exactly what is expected from you. The key to success in this class is: 1) go to office hours, 2) take his suggestions and guidance about the assignments, and 3) follow the assignments closely and do exactly what is being asked of you. If you never learn how to "close read" Judith Butler, you will at least learn how to "close read" an assignment prompt! If you do these three things faithfully, then you don't need to come to the table with sophisticated ideas about gender or writing to do well. He will develop them in you.

Nov 2013

Had Roberts for University Writing American Studies section my first semester at Columbia and he was fantastic, by far my favorite teacher of the term. Spent a ton of time with all the students individually talking about papers, was very relaxed about policy, but partly because he was so respected by students he didn't need to be strict about it. He's incredibly interested and passionate both about writing and American culture (he's an English major working as an advisor in American Studies, so he was the perfect fit for the course). Classes usually consist of a table discussion he leads talking about cultural criticism essays we've been reading, a class style I'm usually not a huge fan of but enjoyed in this context, partly because in addition to the class discussion, Roberts is so willing to meet on an individual level and talk one-on-one about your writing.

Nov 2013

I was very nervous to take University Writing. I love writing fiction and poetry, not academic essays. Within the first few lessons with Matt, my attitude changed completely. He teaches with such clarity and really strives to make sure that each of his students understand what he's looking for from an essay. The topics of the four essays are also incredibly interesting, and the reading assignments he gives the students are 95% of the time really compelling and exciting to read. I also found that when I received less than ideal grades in the class, I wasn't angry. Matt grades fairly and you tend to end up agreeing with him on the grade you get. On top of all this, he is so organized, always responds to e-mails right away and is funny. He also handles the class very well, treating his students like colleagues rather than inferiors. Also, we had one kind of annoying kid in our class who always questioned Matt's ideas and points of view, and instead of either yelling at the kid or being flustered by his questions, Matt would start dialogues with the student and try to understand his position in the debate. I couldn't recommend this guy more. There is a good amount of reading and the papers are a little demanding but it's worth it. You'll become such a better writer.

Aug 2013

I would advise switching out of Tara's UW class, if possible. She's not terrible and does start to grow on you, as a person, by the end of the semester, but Tara's a tough grader and a huge stickler for the rules; it makes UW a little extra unpleasant. A lot of people scrambled to switch sections after the first day of class (we had to sign off on some 40 page syllabus/ contract... 'thing") but the class got better as it went along. To start with the pros: Tara is a genuinely nice person, and takes teaching very very seriously; the class was small relative to other sections (some people did switch out) and we bonded a lot. Everything else: The grading policy, as she describes it is C is 'ok,' B is 'good/ well done,' and 'A' is exceptional, and she takes that very literally. Her approach to essay writing and grading is very formulaic. I found myself having to simplify some ideas and pick topic based on what would best fit her format. I scraped by with an A-, which is worse than I've done in any other writing intensive Columbia class. Expect a grade somewhere in the B+/ A- range if you're fairly confident in your writing. Switching instructors could make your life easier. P.S. Attendance policy is quite strict as well, all absences, including illness, are considered unexcused (unless its something drastic) and arriving more than 5 min late/ leaving early count as half an unexcused absence. You get 3 unexcused absences

Aug 2013

Although and outwardly nice person, John's classes were very boring and plagued by poorly led discussions. It felt like he never quite knew the right question to get a discussion going and he ended up answering most of the questions himself. His paper critique was fairly good but the essay topics were often poorly explained. Overall I found myself just answering a single question a day to get participation points and trying to keep my eyes open throughout the rest of class.

Jul 2013

Becca Worby was a pretty good teacher. Her class was fun (even though a lot of us were tired by 5 pm when the class was) and she occasionally brought us cookies or other snacks (nuts & raisins). There was a lot of peer-review and discussion. She was very willing to help us out with our writing and scheduled individual meetings with us before our papers were due, and her grading wasn't harsh at all. There were also a lot of free-writes, which I felt was pretty helpful for getting my ideas out. I felt like most of the readings were pretty interesting. She divides the course into four progressions: Responding Critically To One Text, Conversation Essay, Research Essay, and Retrospection. There were themes for each section... I think she does different ones for each semester. Papers are broken into multiple steps (eg, "write an outline", "write an intro", "write a first draft", etc) so that by the time it comes for the final draft, you've already done most the work and you're not as rushed.

May 2013

Sue was super cool. Not going to say this is an easy class but from my knowledge UW in general is not a walk in the park to say the least. Sue set the class air as one that was casual to improve circulation of ideas. I appreciated the more comfortable atmosphere. Grading: A little stricter on the whole spectrum of things She implements Google Docs which was nice and efficient in my opinion. May be a little harder if you aren't used to using it. She also provided audio commentary to give you a better understanding of what she meant. She also has a pie policy and guys, 10:10 AM UWriting class is so much better with pie.

May 2013

Selby is a sweet, helpful teacher who knows the strengths and weaknesses of each of her students personally. She assigns a lot of work but gives extensive feedback on all assignments that are handed in. During the drafting process for each essay, Selby splits the class up into groups (different groups for each of four progressions/essays) that give each other feedback, and the result is that you have plenty of material to work with while putting together your final draft. The content of the gender studies course itself is mainly centred on discussion of how and why gender is not an inherently binary construct, and about how the way we perceive gender is based on our social environment. Selby grades strictly but not ridiculously so, and gives typed comments on each of the essays when she returns them. The main drawback of this course is that the large volume of work assigned makes it difficult to put as much effort into every writing exercise as you might otherwise want to, but if you want to see your writing skills improve, I would definitely recommend taking the class.

May 2013

Kathryn is overall a good teacher. Everyone has the potential to do well if you just give her what she's looking for. She's very straight forward with what she wants to see from you, and you can actually be good at writing if you take her advice. Be very careful about turning things in on time, there's no wiggle room and she won't look at your work if you turn it in late. Also make sure that you put your complete effort into ALL of your drafts, it is really important to get feedback from her. In a lot of other Uwriting classes you can bullshit drafts, but in this class you can't. Overall, a great experience, even for an 8:40 class.

May 2013

I almost switched out on the first day of uWriting because I can't stand Lindsay's voice. I can't believe nobody's mentioned it yet--she has this weird way of speaking that takes a really long time to get used to. She tries to add something clever to the end of every sentence and on the first day I found it really irritating. It doesn't help that my class was horrific. I was in a Gender Studies section and was surprised to find that not everyone knew what a comma was. That said, if you get Lindsay for uWriting, stay in the class. She's actually kind of funny once you get used to her awkward sense of humor, and she's very understanding about the fact that uWriting is the silliest course in the Core. Perhaps the best part about Lindsay is that she doesn't give a flying shit about the structures of uWriting past what she has to to keep her job. Her essays all have a lower word count than the standard essays, she is very lenient about due dates (email her for an extension on anything and she will grant it) and she really has no interest in the reading. She will never give a quiz, she will rarely make you discuss it, and she doesn't really care how many classes you miss as long as you seem like you have a passable excuse. I would recommend Lindsay because although you will never learn anything, she's not going to make you pretend that you did. If you already know how to write, she just expects that you do your essays, and as far as I could tell nobody in my class got anything lower than a B (she says it's very hard for her to give Cs when she knows the people she's grading, whatever that means). Also she is talking about teaching a class exclusively on David Foster Wallace essays, and I think that would be really interesting. Lindsay is also very conscious of the fact that she's really only 6 or 7 years older than her students, so she doesn't pretend that she knows everything. Really she's just a student trying to help other students and compared to the kind of teachers you could have for uWriting, Lindsay is a safe bet.

May 2013

She does grade somewhat harshly...but the fact that she gives you a radical review (if I remember the name correctly) basically makes up for it. The radical reviews allow you to resubmit your first two papers for a new (and almost definitely) better grade. With this, you can experiment and pick up on what she wants. By the time you hit your 3rd paper, you should have improved. The last paper is quite easy since it's an op-ed. As long as you don't write nonsense, it's quite subjective and easy. This is coming from someone who got a B on the first paper and ended up with an A in the class. Another tip is to visit her at office hours or email her about your paper. She responds very fast and is approachable. I think asking her for help as I wrote my essays definitely improved my grades and helped me develop into a much more mature writer. (I literally emailed her my theses again and again, changing it each time till she gave me the ok. I also sent her whole paragraphs - with SPECIFIC questions, she really values this - to read.) Plus, you pick up on what she wants. The one thing I do agree though is that it is a lot of work; I'm not sure how it compares to other sections. You do have to put in the work/ not blow this class off. But you also improve as a writer.

Apr 2013

I thought Liz was an incredible teacher. A lot of kids get annoyed at having to take University Writing because they say they "already know how to write." I thought this about myself until I took her class; my writing improved SO much and she takes so much time to read and comment thoughtfully on what you've written (she gives back a full, single-spaced letter with each essay, in addition to the comments in the margins). If you are taking University Writing, I would DEFINITELY recommend trying to get into her class. The class is a lot of work (as is any University Writing section), but don't try to skimp on it. You will get so much out of the class if you do all the assignments thoughtfully and carefully and really consider her feedback. On top of being a great teacher, she's also just a generally warm, friendly, nice, thoughtful, and interesting person. When I was a freshman I didn't realize how important it was to build relationships with teachers, and she's a teacher I wish I had gotten to know and learn from more.

Apr 2013

If you have Selby, get ready for the hammer. She comes off as a chill lady, but she grades really, really, really hard. Most of my friends said their teachers graded their first papers hard to make a point and then soften up, but not Selby. Not only did she make an unbearable class harder than it needed to be, she piled the readings and exercises. On a positive note, she's really nice and she knows what she's talking about. If you want to just get through UWriting with a good grade and don't really care, do not take her class. If you really care about gender studies and truly care about how much you learn and do not mind taking a GPA hit, then take her class.

Apr 2013

Sara is truly an amazing teacher, though it took me the entire semester to realize it. At first, I thought she was completely psychotic because of her obsessive lateness/attendance policies and her extremely limited grasp of the intricacies of English grammar. However, no matter how much you may think she hates you, her strictness is just her way of showing that she really cares about you and wants you to be a better writer. I came out of this class understanding what an essay is on a basic level, and why English papers and research papers are essentially the same thing. You will come out of this class with a much higher probability of someday being published in the New Yorker.

Apr 2013

Best (and coolest) teacher ever! Really does her best to help her students improve. Almost always available via Skype to conference about an essay or meet with students at the writing center. Honestly, I think I learned more from the writing conferences I had with her than I did from the seminar itself - although the seminar, too, was extremely helpful. She is big into peer reviewing/work-shopping essays so be prepared to have your writing read by other students in the class.

Feb 2013

This man is the best professor you could ever hope for. It's well over a year since I took UW and we have since then developed a relationship that I really value. I think some kids from his classes even went to his wedding, which shows you how much he really values his students. I did work I read now that I am really proud of in this class, put the time in and you'll be rewarded by the writing you produce.

Feb 2013

Mary Grace was a fantastic instructor. Her class is definitely not going to be for everyone though. It's obvious that she studies 19th century literature and France, which shows on her syllabus (Emerson, Poe, Baudelaire, Benjamin). She was very knowledgeable about the readings and had brilliant things to say. So if you're into literature and philosophy, it's definitely for you. Actually even if not you'll still get something out of it because even though it's such a literary class, she was able to balance difficult abstract concepts with very practical rules about writing. She also seemed committed to making the class as painless as possible. She took us to see photography at the Met, gave hardly any homework, was willing to extend deadlines, and filled up class time with crazy anecdotes. Still I feel like I learned a lot more from her than I did from classes that gave busy work. It also helped that she's a pretty cool person. She has a kind of awkward, dark sense of humor and is really cute and stylish (she regularly wore heels and dresses.......at 8:40 in the morning). Great way to get through university writing.

Jan 2013

Rashmi Sahni is an amazing UWriting professor. Don't worry after reading her syllabus which sounds very strict- she is one of the most understanding professors at Columbia! She really understands that people are busy and as long as you communicate with her she is very understanding. She also is a really fair grader- she is not an extremely easy A but certainly respects the work you put in and will reward you for doing so. She really encourages you to meet with her and will always be available if you want feedback or for her to look over a draft. You definitely should feel lucky if you have her!

Jan 2013

As a clueless straight guy who had zero interest in feminist studies, I would've probably picked another section if I had known about the "Women and Gender" theme of Glenn's UW class beforehand. It would've been the biggest mistake ever. Contrary to the completely misnamed section title, at least half the readings we've done in class are about men, and all of them are about how gender expectations shape our identity in ways that many of us aren't even conscious of before taking a class like this. Take this course and prepare to have your mind blown. For instance, we spent one class discussing an article where super hardcore, ultra bad ass US Marines confessed that their biggest fear in combat wasn't being killed, or losing a limb - it was having their manhood blown off by an IED. Does it sound ridiculous? Hell yeah it does, but only because this is true stuff that people are often too embarrassed to talk about, which is why it's important. In Glenn's class, you will talk about stuff like this all the time, and it'll relate to your own life in ways that you never could've imagined. My fellow bros, have you ever noticed that women seem to constantly read more into your actions than you ever intended? Take this class and find out why. Ladies, do you ever wonder why your boyfriend is the most sensitive guy ever when you're together, but then turns into a complete douchebag when he's with his friends? Take this class, and make him take it too, because nobody likes a douchebag. Even if the theme doesn't interest you, you should still take UW with Glenn. Glenn is an awesome professor who is not only super knowledgeable about gender stuff, but even more so about the craft of writing, which is what the class is ultimately about despite the theme. Glenn knows exactly what makes good writing good, and he always manages to see the untapped potential in your draft that you never saw yourself. It's hilarious because when he describes a student's essay, it usually sounds better than when the writer describes it him/herself. Even if you're already a very good writer, actually, ESPECIALLY if you're already a very good writer, take UW with Glenn. You'll learn something useful no matter what your ability was before you came in. At this point you may be thinking that this totally sweet deal has to have a catch, and here it is: be prepared for your GPA to take a hit. Your final grade will be entirely dependent on the grades of the four essays you write, which are all evaluated by very rigorous standards. That's right freshmen, you ain't in high school anymore and class participation isn't worth crap (except if you're absent too many times, then you fail). Glenn pulls no punches, and you can easily work your ass off on an essay and get a C on it if writing is your Achilles heel. However, I can't exactly recommend gunners who want to game their GPA to take the class with someone else, because most of the UW professors are equally harsh with their grading, and some of them apparently have ridiculous policies against giving As, even for really good essays. Even though Glenn is tough, he is a fair grader who outlines exactly what he expects for an A level essay, B level essay, C level essay, and so forth, and actually sticks to his guidelines. Even if it's really hard to get an A in his class, it's still possible, and if you do pull it off, you'll feel like the bomb because you'll know you earned it. In sum: take UW with Glenn, keep an open mind, and learn totally new ways of seeing the world. Don't sweat your grade too much. The sheer amount of useful stuff you'll learn will more than make up for any bad grades, and in the end your GPA will probably experience a net benefit because this class will train you to do better in your other classes, even ones that don't have anything to do with writing. Don't be late, Glenn really hates that. Also, laugh at his jokes, even the ones that aren't funny, because if he makes a joke and no one laughs, he'll ask you why you're not laughing. Thankfully, most of his jokes actually are funny.

Jan 2013

The other reviews regarding Vrinda are spot-on. She's a great professor: accessible, intelligent and interested. The work she gives out is never just busywork--it clearly all serves a purpose. If you're interested in doing well in the class, there's no reason you can't. She will help you, almost step-by-step, to improve your writing and mold your work into a good, solid paper. If you want to get a good grade on a paper and don't, it's your own fault. She is fully available and very helpful in expressing to you exactly what she is looking for. There are no surprises with her grading.

Jan 2013

He is intelligent and a good teacher, but the class is so boring! And since I am not the greatest writer and admitted it to begin with through one of the early assignments, he didn't really like me. He is kind of a quirky guy. That being said, he is really smart, which I would appreciate more if he wasn't so cocky. His comments on papers can be helpful, but once you follow his advice from the comments, he finds new ways to correct you. Try not to take UW with him, but, if you have no choice, go to the writing center frequently.

Dec 2012

Professor Bohannon was far and away my best teacher this semester, and perhaps the best teacher I have ever had in my years at school. University Writing seems to be a class that most everyone hates, and as I'm sure every review will mention, most teachers assign a lot of work. However, I felt like the work we did for this class was extremely productive and useful. We did a lot of group work, and a lot of workshops of other students' papers. While I've been in classes where this process was exceedingly painful, Prof. Bohannon always facilitated discussion in such a way that everyone knew what to look for in each others' writing. These classes ended up being some of the most useful. She is also one of the most insightful teachers I've ever had. I felt like every time I signed up for her office hours (usually via Skype), I went away knowing exactly what to work on in my paper to make it that much better. Prof. Bohannon inspired me to work very hard for this class, but she also rewarded me for the time I put in. While she is one of the harder graders I've faced, I felt that she was fair, and that ultimately she factored my effort into the final grade. In addition, she is rather funny and knowledgeable in just about every field. I feel truly fortunate to have had her, and I cannot recommend her class enough.

Dec 2012

Dr. Crandall is the type of professor that every student should want in their first semester at Columbia. She is in no way an easy grader, but she works with her students and attempts to get every student through the class. She makes the classroom discussion interesting and will work with students knowing that assignments can be quite constricting in their requirements. In general I think anyone who takes her will not be disappointed with what they take away from the class.

Dec 2012

I had Professor Ritzenberg in one of the new "themed" University Writing sections, and he is absolutely amazing. Our theme was "Readings in American Studies" and although we did stick to readings concerning American Studies, assignments were so broad-based that you could write about anything. Professor Ritzenberg was phenomenal, though. His lectures were always really interesting and the class, at times, felt like a philosophy lecture more than a writing seminar (but in the best way possible). He has a great way of making you think about the way your writing changes the world and really holds power. He meticulously read all drafts and papers and his notes/criticisms always seemed helpful. In his syllabus he explicitly states that "the grade of A is reserved for papers he would nominate for departmental honors and writing prizes," so if an A was what you were hoping for you may be disappointed. He is a very tough grader, but your writing will only benefit from it. When possible takes this class seriously and do as much reading as you can. You can get by with doing barely any reading, but try to get through as much as possible. The max grade you can realistically get in his class is an A-, but it's definitely worth it.

Dec 2012

I thought this class was ok. I felt like I actually learned from the class and my writing definitely improved. For each progression, he usually assigns a short 500word assignment to go with each article or text that serve as the basis for the paper. His grading seemed fair, for the most part. I can't say much on that because I gave up after progression 2--got a B overall. If I had the choice, I probably would not have chosen this section.

Dec 2012

Mathew is a fantastic teacher. Everybody complains about UWriting but thanks to him I didn't mind waking up at 8:40 -- well, I minded much less. He is very clear, if you don't have a draft or small part of the progression it isn't the end of the world though don't make a habit of it and be sure to get your final essays in on time. He is cheerful, makes jokes, and it just generally a really nice guy. It is also clear that he is very intelligent and loves writing. Wish I could take another semester with this guy.

Dec 2012

Crystal is amazing. I thought I was going to hate UW because of everything I'd heard about it, but she managed to make this course so much more enjoyable than I'd thought possible. Yeah, there's still a lot of reading/writing exercises which can sometimes get annoying, but they're not arbitrary and they actually have a purpose. Every single exercise Crystal made us do ended up being really helpful when we had to write our final essays. Meaning, she never made us waste our time on pointless work. Crystal is really approchable and funny and genuinely cared about everyone in the class. Despite the fact that we had class at 8:40, she made it easy to be engaged and stay focused. She explained the concepts we were learning clearly, and managed to make in class discussion entertaining while still staying on topic. She's always ready to meet with you outside of class, and her grading and feedback on assignments is very fair and helpful. On days when we had papers due, she brought us cookies and bagels to make us stop stressing out. Basically, if you get in this section, you're really lucky. Crystal made this class awesome.

Sep 2012

Overall, I truly believe Mr. Ma meant well. A nice guy, Ruen-Chuan Ma would bring in tea and speak to our class at length about his graduate studies in Medieval Literature. Ruen-Chuan tried his best, but his best, ultimately, proved not even remotely good. As a lecturer, he is a little difficult to hear and comprehend. His circuitous explanations make it very difficult to understand what he wants while his drawn-out, ambiguous answers to questions cause far more confusion than clarity and further obfuscate his initial explanations of the material. His awful handwriting does not help either. Mr. Ma does look over students' rough drafts; however, it appeared he used a rake more often than a fine-toothed comb. Each rough draft contained few suggestions for improvement. Following those vague suggestions will lead to virtually no gain in final grade. Such a system would surely lead an intelligent student to submit an intermediate draft. Don't worry. Doing so makes no difference. Mr. Ma will pull out his rake and after five minutes may give you one more suggestion. Interestingly, the final draft will have many corrections along with a paragraph describing every flaw in the paper in detail. However, it does take Mr. Ma about half of the semester to grade the first progression essay as he is very busy. If you want to score in the "A" range, Mr. Ma, a University of Chicago alumnus, teaches directly (as directly as he is capable) out of Turabian's Guide to Writing College Papers, yet he never bothers to give students any context as to the origin of his material. Mr. Ma is incompetent and arbitrary, but he is a nice guy.

Aug 2012

AMAZING teacher. He changed my writing completely. Probably the best UWriting Columbia has hired. Every seminar was worth going to, the readings were interesting, and he was very personal. You would come out of class with a deep train of thought -- his teaching can be philosophical and applicable to every day life. If you put the work and energy in, you will see a pay off with your writing and with your grade. Participation is also valued.

Jun 2012

A terrible teacher. Didn't learn anything in his class. He's boring and has no passion for anything in the class. Uwriting isn't supposed to be the most exciting class ever, but there are some interesting conversations that can be had, about the essays, or writing in general, or whatever... But we didn't have any with him. If we did, nobody in the class realized because they were first put to sleep by his dull voice and slow-paced monologuing. Sometimes, it almost felt like he was writing out what he spoke, and was so worried about misspeaking or about not saying the perfect word, that he would take FOREVER to finish one sentence. Not to mention, he says "umm" every three seconds. I usually don't mind this. I say umm, everybody says umm. But once I noticed how often he said it it was impossible not to be annoyed by it. I once tried to count how many times he said it in a class. I got tired of counting after 5 minutes, but I had counted 27 umms. You do the math for a 75 minute class. However, this would all be fine if he were a nice guy. If he were someone who, ok, weren't the best teacher, or were just a little nervous, fine. What could he do? But that's not it. He's also an ass. He assigns a TON of homework that he doesn't ever comment on or get back to you. And he's a harsh and inconsistent grader. To put it plainly, he's one of those typical insecure grad students who, to make up for their ineptitude as teachers, blame their students when the class isn't going well. He sucks. His class sucks. Change your uwriting section.

Jun 2012

Ask most anyone at Columbia, they'll tell you that the best professors are the ones who care about what they do and are happily willing to match the effort that the students put in to the class. By these standards, Glenn is the best professor you could ever ask for. For every hour of work a student puts into his class, Glenn will probably put in three. He is always accessible, whether that entails e-mails or meeting in his office. What's more, Glenn is very adept at developing strong writers. He always seems to know the best and most tangible ways to turn a B essay into something brilliant. He understands his students well, and is easily-relatable. The class is an absolute pleasure, especially if you decide to make it one. Write about things you care about, put in work outside the class, and be sure to turn in something your proud of. I can promise that Glenn will make it well worth your effort.

Jun 2012

Glenn Gordon is a combination of everything you would want in a teacher. He is hardworking, dedicated, focused, and personable. In all our meetings in and out of class he astounded me with the care and effort he gave to each of his students. It was clearly important to him that each of us learned and improved our writing skills. Glenn managed to be an extremely helpful and focused instructor while still remaining fun and approachable. Glenn facilitates an environment that allows students to learn not only from him but themselves and their peers. After many meetings and classes with Glenn it was clear how much everyone had grown. I remember hearing all of the theses from everyone at the table at the second to last UWriting class and marveling at the progress we had made. One of my peers who started off the year a little shaky because of the language barrier articulated a point extremely well and made me proud of him. I can honestly say, I haven't experienced such growth in a while. Glenn is one of the best instructors that I've ever had.

Jun 2012

If you have the opportunity to take Professor Rodney for UW you are in the hands of the kindest and most capable instructor one could ask for. Ms. Rodney is thoughtful, caring, interesting, intelligent, and dedicated. As with any UW class there are 4 required essays which are all carefully explained and for which the students are completely prepared to write. The comments Ms. Rodney's students received on the drafts are thoughtful and extensive...it is impossible not to improve as a writer in this class. The environment was engaging and at times wrought with humor and excitement. Ms. Rodney fosters the creative and inquisitive spirits of students who really want to be active in their studies, and if every class could be this positive CU would be a veritable utopia! In short, Ms. Rodney is a stellar professor.

May 2012

For a University Writing Instructor, Meaghan is certainly an oddball. She is bizarrely inarticulate and cryptic in both her written and verbal comments. Many times, students would ask Meaghan questions, to which she more than often reply using some variant of "uhh... yes, um, well... yeah!" Meaghan dislikes anyone with an ounce of panache, presumably because she lacks self confidence. The previous reviews which say that Meaghan loves broken souls hit the nail on the head: Meaghan loves the timid and strongly dislikes those that have more promise, greater potential and have already proven more successful than she has. Meaghan also seems to dislike all things masculine. Maybe this is an unintentional consequence of her awkward personality, or some crisis she has had, but this made for a very uncomfortable University Writing class. Females and effeminate males seemed to get special treatment. Unequivocally the worst part of this class was the grading, Meaghan refused - somewhat like a stubborn child - to discuss grades or her rationale behind grading. Her syllabus lacked a cogent explanation of what sort of essay constitutes a certain grade. When my class confronted Meaghan on the matter, she said that she didn't remember a single grade she got in college and that college grades do not matter. This is precisely why she is a University Writing teacher - an instructor of a class whose students would never voluntarily sign up for said class.

May 2012

She was probably one of the worst writing teachers I've ever met.Granted, I didn't come out of her class with a terrible grade but she couldn't even motivate the students in our class to participate. She would constantly call out people who were just fidgeting to ask them if they were on their cell phone, and then say with a not-so-sincere smile, "oh you know me, I'm just asking because it's my pet peeve." She was so enthusiastic about teaching but her teaching methods were difficult for the class to accept or be interested in because it wasn't reflecting the type of essays we had to learn how to write, but rather how she thought we should right, through her experience as writer and a journalist(which she mentions several several several times through out the course). Even if you made the corrections, you could not ensure your grade would improve from your draft. Homework is barely reviewed with any enthusiasm in class but the minute she realizes someone hasn't completed it, she throws the biggest fuss. class not recommended at all.

May 2012

Catherine is a wonderful University Writing teacher, and I'm so glad I had her. Her class was more difficult than I feel like a lot of other sections were, and sometimes I felt that the homework got tedious or became unnecessary, but overall, I learned SO much from her about how to write, improve, and revise. She is absolutely fantastic. Catherine is incredibly caring, and she really wants you to get a lot out of the class and improve. All of the readings were really helpful, and a majority (I'd say 85%) of the assignments were helpful in guiding us toward good arguments and claims and framing our essays (especially the research essay). On top of that, she always leaves very extensive comments on everything you hand in (especially the drafts) so that you know where you need to improve and how. I think she also develops some of the assignments and classwork based on what she thinks the class needs to do more of. During conferences, she was always open if I needed to meet more than once or she would give me some extra time if there was a lot I wanted to talk about/go over with her, and she made really good points and explained all of her comments. The only thing is that we also did a lot of peer conferencing which I didn't feel was as helpful of feedback and could sometimes be counterproductive. However, if someone makes a comment in class about your essay that she doesn't agree with (i.e. she would/wouldn't want you to change) she'll usually say so so that your grade doesn't suffer. As I said, the class is harder. She gives more assignments and work (we always had a lot of reading at the beginning of a unit (lens/conversation/research) and there's an assignment due basically each class). And she's a harder grader. She really pushes you to be a better writer. But it's completely worth it. I wouldn't trade the experience for any other section, and anyone lucky enough to be in her section should definitely stay in it.

May 2012

Meaghan is such a great UWriting teacher. I don't think she's going to be back next year, unfortunately, but if she does return to Columbia I would definitely recommend signing up for her section. She's very sweet, helpful, and passionate about writing. She also picks interesting articles and is decent at facilitating discussion. One-on-one meetings with her can be awkward at first (for reasons unexplainable, they just are), but once you get her talking about writing, she's totally in her comfort zone. Also, she can be a pretty tough grader. She really wants her students to learn, and she's not going to let them get away with just anything!

May 2012

Couldn't have asked for a better UWriting teacher. I loved the readings she chose for us, and she is really sincere about helping you improve as a writer. Her grading is very fair, and you will find yourself focusing more on what she has to say about your progress as a writer than the little letter mark on the bottom of the page. She's very personable and relates to your struggles as a student. I have talked to other students in UWriting as well, and I think it is safe to say she gives a little less work than other professors. Overall fantastic professor, and I am grateful to have had her for UWriting. She occasionally brings snacks into class during Exam periods or when an upcoming essay is close to due. The class has a very laid back attitude and you will feel comfortable bringing up anything you had to say about the readings or assignments.

May 2012

*NOTE* Tim will not be teaching University Writing anymore (or at least that is what he told us at the end of our last class). But in case one wanted to know who Tim Youker was though... Tim was a genial yet incredibly awkward guy. In the beginning, I was incredibly unsure of his constant shaking and seemingly nervous state. However, as time went on, his awkwardness grew on me (as well as most of my classmates). I will miss him like you miss your awkward older cousin when you realize you probably won't see them again. He was dedicated to his teaching to a good degree and typically gave good feedback on essays and other submitted material. As for his grading policy, he said himself that he was "easy to satisfy, and hard to please." Basically, a B+/A- was achievable with moderate effort, and an A with significant effort (or natural writing talent). I wish Tim the best for wherever he ends up next year.

May 2012

I am glad that I am the first person to review Dax, since this no-culpa-review "UW"course turned out to be a pleasurable one. Dax speaks in a very lucid manner. He tends to use a lot of (possibly self-invented) "key terms" to help you remember important "writerly moves". This method proved to be fairly effective. At the end of the semester, everyone at least remembered "super-charge your essays" and "the unfamiliar reader". Dax keeps things very organized online and offline, and is the only professor I have encountered so far who is good at using New Courseworks. He is also approachable and accessible after class. If you cannot make it to his office hours, you can schedule individual appointments or "phone conferences" with him. Likewise, when you send Dax an email, you know you will get a timely reply. Besides taking his work seriously, Dax is a very relaxed person. Although he is not the joke-teller type who makes you ROFL, he puts a smile at your face at a 6:10-7:25 time slot. He actually doesn't mind if you can't finish the exercises on time, but do not take advantage of this because the assignments are actually helpful. Helpful for class discussion at least, for he will call on you. Because I wasn't a very good writer, I didn't expect myself to like UWriting too much. However, this class really taught me a lot and if there was a second term for it I would take it with Dax again. Dax's grading doesn't fall on the easy-side (or maybe it's only because I stuck), but I think it's relatively fair. To be fair to him, I'm writing this review before I get my final grade just in case things get uncontrollable. I highly recommend Dax to whomever wants to improve his/her writing skills.

May 2012

People do not like UWriting. Maybe not as much as they abhor Frontiers, but the system could be better. Grading has a serious bearing on student's commitment to the class, yet the standards of the instructor are often unclear and feel unattainable; it feels like no matter how much you work on the papers you will never do well. Meaghan's grading policy was a bit vague (she seemed not to want to discuss it), relying a lot on her personal standards of good writing; this frustrated many in the class. Her high standards seem intended to inspire dedication, but it comes off as evasive and unexamined — it is difficult to commit to self-criticism if the one impelling you to that task seems uncritical themselves. Seems is the key word here; Meaghan is actually very thoughtful and incisive, you just have to get behind the student-teacher power structure she clings to. Meaghan lacks a certain eloquence in her instruction, but she is extremely reasonable and approachable. She was available often to discuss papers and responded promptly to e-mail, providing useful and precise feedback in both scenarios. The key to this class is the revision process. If you really take what you're writing about seriously and are willing to engage critically with the material then writing the papers will be challenging, but also very rewarding. Meaghan's very particular grading philosophy can be both motivating and disenchanting, depending on how you approach it. Learning to write is an art, and as with any art there is a learning curve; if the writing of my otherwise well-articulated classmates is any indication, that learning curve is quite steep, but the only way to become a better writer is to practice. This class, and Meaghan's instruction in particular, encourage you to do just that.

Apr 2012

Liza Monroy is a true gem; there is no other way to put it. If you are one of the lucky few with the privilege of being a student in her class, hold on tight to your spot because if I were your peers, I would kill for it. Liza is very laid back. She assigns readings for some classes, not all. She facilitates a discussion in which you never feel pressure to speak. She mixes up class styles to include workshops, discussion, and work-time. The papers are standard UW papers. The last one is creative writings instead of retrospective. Liza is very lenient on due dates and word count. 'Quality of Quantity' is her motto. As another reviewer mentioned, she always gives you the tools to receive an A. She is also very accessible. She e-mails back quickly, and if you can't make office hours she'll even set up a Skype date to discuss a paper. This is the best class I have taken at Columbia so far. She is one of the best professors at Columbia. I am looking forward to taking a creative writing class from her in the future. (I am a sociology major) This is the type of class that you love so much you want to give that extra amount of work even though often it is not always needed. I looked forward to every class, and I enjoyed writing every paper. Thanks Liza, for the best UW class ever! Boy am I blessed that I picked into her section!

Apr 2012

Having Tsering as a teacher was one of the most unfortunate things to ever happen to me at Columbia. For all the potential she has to be a cool and hip and edgy professor, she ruins it with her insufferable personality. She is really arrogant (but not the cool kind of arrogant that people see with some legendary professors at this school). She's rude. She's self centered. Honestly, it's almost embarrass that they let her teach. I'll preface this by saying that I did very well in her class last semester, got an A for just going through the strokes and getting my papers done. Her grading is arbitrary and entirely based on whether you suck up to her and write the way SHE wants it to be written. There is no room for creativity or even just artful use of prose. Instead, she prescribes a clunky and arcane method of diction which has just made me a more confused and irritated writer. She clearly favors girls over boys (which didn't affect me, but I really did feel badly for the boys in our class), and is so condescending that I've actually left the classroom in absolute fury. She is honestly the worst type of teacher. She treats Uwriting like some bush-league class that is beneath her and is just a bump in the road while she pursues her M.F.A. She crams politics down our throat, and is incredibly judgmental. I've been so underwhelmed by both her disappointing method of teaching and her really crappy, pseudo-intellectual pretentious attitude.

Apr 2012

Liza is incredible. UWriting has become my favorite class this semester and actually my favorite class I've taken in a while. Extremely understanding with deadlines, genuinely caring when it comes to editing drafts and commenting on essays. Even offered to look at other creative pieces I've been working on completely separate from UW. I feel so lucky to be in her class. Hope I can have her in the future for a creative writing class.

Mar 2012

Jay was a wonderful teacher who was able to bring lots of energy and enthusiasm to our 9:00am class. Although he usually expected just enough participation and engagement for it to be annoying, his teaching method was generally good. He focuses not on the detailed level of writing, but more on the overall structure, clarity of argument, and use of external sources. Moreover, his comments can sometimes seem frustrating or arbitrary, but after time I came to realize how truly spot on his comments always were. I'll admit that I had come from a high school with an extremely rigorous English program which graded at or above Jay's expectations consistently for years, so I had been prepared (in fact, Jay went to the same high school with the same writing program, and his mother still teaches there!). However, I'll concede that his standards might be tough (though not unreasonable) for any student who does not already have solid writing skills. For me, it was not difficult to get a solid A in the class, and I'm sure that any student that feels as if their English preparation in high school was adequate can do the same. I would definitely recommend Jay to anyone who can get him, not only because he is an excellent teacher but also because he just a awesome person.

Mar 2012

BOTTOM LINE: TAKE THIS CLASS The only reason this review is so damn long is because I have nothing else to do and because there are no other reviewers for this teacher. So don't whine: chances are, you're reading this because you looked up "Bohannon" (Lucky kiddies). So I was starting my second semester, making as much fun of people in UW as I could. I was enjoying myself very much until my friend told me that he had UW with Cat Bohannon. You can't make fun of someone for that. That's like snickering outside your friend's door while he's getting laid only to witness a gorgeous supermodel emerge about an hour later. You see, not only is going to class actually fun and worth it, you also don't have to live in fear of the very common 'B'/'B+' you often receive in U-Writing. Cat seems to understand that this class is a chore/annoyance/tickinyourass for many people. I got the feeling that a lot of activities were meant to make the class more engaging and fun. For example, instead of taking 1-3 essays home to review (and lie and say that they're great, exceptionally insightful, super exciting, etc.) we would divide ourselves into groups in class and talk with the writers (I must also remark that my class was quite smart and creative, so this activity was never a pain). Cat also made the essays more interesting. You always had a lot of leeway on what and how to write, which doesn't make the workload any easier, but helps make the work more bearable. Most importantly, instead of a self-reflection, you will write an Op-ed based on one of your previous essays (15% of your grade)! Sounds like extra work, but if you buckle down and take it seriously, you can get it over with before the brunt of your finals and even get published (one person was published in the Florida Sentinel [I think]). In addition, Cat is quite nice about deadlines and never bothered people who turned stuff in a little late (a REAL PAIN thanks to newcourseworks). Extensions? I know of one student who turned in a revised rough draft on the day the essay was due - she gave him an extension and he ended up getting a decent grade. Will you become a better writer? Cat is a neuroscience grad student, but knows a lot more about writing than you do. So pay attention in class. And although you will probably never understand why you got the grades you got (unless you ask her), Skype appointments with her are super useful to figure out where you should go and what you're doing wrong. Cat herself is chill. Don't use your cell phone in class (Don't get caught, idiot that doesn't listen to me). There's this very funny story about someone doing too much physics and sleeping in class too... Anyways, this class was easily my favorite. Perhaps my classes were just more uninspiring than normal? Naw, this class actually was pretty good! If you're looking up U-Writing teachers, make sure you're taking a class that conflicts with your current UW and switch into Cat's class!

Mar 2012

Jay is an overall good guy. He is very passionate about writing poetry and loves the structures of various essays. He is a fair grader for the most part. He has a tendency to be very opinionated and unfortunately sometimes it comes through in his grading. Best find out what his point of view is on the writing subject, and agree with him. Once he makes up his mind, you can't change it, don't try. In his UW class his word (opinions) are law. Expect a B.

Jan 2012

Professor Rodney made University Writing fun and interesting. I heard from other students how their teachers threw the first essay at them with no warning or gave a lot of extra work. Professor Rodney however, made sure we understood from the first few classes what we were expected to write about. She's always available for questions and is very helpful if you need a little help in deciding what to write about or how to approach an idea. We got the standard four essays for UW with an extra 3 short exercises for the first progression, 2 for the second, and barely anything else. These short exercises are little write-ups that ask you to answer some short questions. Nothing to worry about and since we never got a grade for them, I doubt they play a significant part in the final grade. Classes were very interesting because the essays Prof. Rodney chooses for use to read were overall, very engaging. There wasn't a lot of reading either; just enough for us to pick from a few for the essays. Comments on rough drafts were very useful. Meeting her in person or emailing is also very helpful since her responses match exactly what she expects out of you for the final draft. Overall, I would definitely recommend Prof. Rodney. She made University Writing worthwhile instead of being a class to be dreaded like I heard UW was.

Jan 2012

Sarah was a great instructor! This class was a lot of work, but I never felt like I had wasted my time. All of our written homework and all of our in-class discussions were meant to help us get the most possible out of the readings, and when it came time to write essays I felt like I was well prepared. Sarah was genuinely interested in her students' experience with the readings and seemed to really enjoy teaching us. She gives plenty of personal feedback on every draft and is always willing to meet with you, in or out of office hours. I was really impressed by the amount of work she put into the class. She gives your draft a projected grade and then explains how you can improve it for the final draft. If you pay attention to her comments, you can pretty reliably raise the preliminary grade by at one third of a letter grade.

Jan 2012

Kate was a really great prof. The homework assignments seemed a lot like busy work, but turned out to actually be helpful if you were struggling to choose a paper topic or remember what the reading was even about. She put a lot of time into editing essays and grading them and gave a lot of valuable feedback. When you meet with her, she won't directly tell you what she wants you to do. Instead, she will ask questions to lead you where she wants you to go. It's a little confusing at first, but you will come out of the meeting with a good understanding of what you need to do. She also does this thing where the whole class edits a few people's papers. Definitely volunteer for that, it's really helpful. Also, make sure you implement all the suggestions she gives you. It will help your paper a lot. You will pretty much get a B unless your paper is exceptionally good or exceptionally bad. She bumps grades by 1/3 of a letter (B+ to A-, A- to A, etc) in the case of exceptional participation (or lack of it, I think). Also, she should have some chili peppers.

Jan 2012

In a nutshell, Jessica Pishko is a graduate student who is in it for the tuition benefit, does not have your learning in mind, and it shows. She is very unclear about what she wants on your paper and assumes that you know everything beforehand so thorough explanations do not exist in this course.You can throw your syllabus out the window, because at the end of the semester she will come up with new ( and highly unethical ) reasons to bring down your grade and will conveniently announce this by the end of class. The course is an easy "B", but "A" material demands a paper of "publishable" quality that you will never achieve ( my classmate who received a B+ had a parent who was a journalist ) because her idea of a good paper deviates far from the norm. For a person who does not even write well herself ( google her name ), I find it entertaining that she is such a strict grader. Despite all of this this, the reading material was thought provoking and opened me to reading more essays from prominent writers.

Jan 2012

The other reviews seem to have Kate summed up pretty well. Despite the inherent misery that comes along with taking UWriting, Kate really does her best to make it a course that improves the writing skills of her students. First off, Kate has a very outgoing personality which really comes through during some of the more boring classes. But where Kate really shines is in the one on one conferences, during which she gives a lot of great advicel. And if the one mandatory conference per essay is not enough, Kate is very open to repeating the process during office hours. In fact, Kate gives so much helpful feedback that by the time you have to submit a final draft you know exactly what she is looking for and how your writing can improve in general. The end result is that the grading is very fair and you become a better writer too.

Dec 2011

John Kuhn led a very good UWriting section. To be honest, this class will probably never be the most interesting class anybody is taking. Writing exercises just flat-out aren't that exciting. But he made it pretty fun. He comes to class enthusiastic every day, often carrying snacks since he knew many wouldn't have time for breakfast before a 9:10AM class. He chose interesting readings for our exercises and essays, which made them as fun as they could possibly be. He had well-coordinated exercises and listened well to student complaints, and did his best to make sure our writing skills were improving all through the semester. His grading is definitely tough, but it always feels fair. He always explains exactly why your essay wasn't up to an A standard, and how it can improve. Honestly, this course won't be a bucket of fun with anybody, but John Kuhn brings it as close as it will come.

Dec 2011

I'm writing this review because Mr. Williams definitely deserves a nugget for making this class my favorite last semester. Before his class, I honestly had no idea on how to write a coherent, logical essay. With very useful assignments and ample amount of time to work on these essays, this semester has finally taught me the ability to create arguments that I can be proud of. What I also liked about Mr. Williams is his honesty. Make no mistake, he will tell you when your draft could use some (or a lot of) improvement, and he will give you a C if you've written a truly terrible essay. On the other hand, your assignments include outlines and drafts that you can take to office hours; plus, he gives a lot of feedback on the work you submit, so it is very possible to get a high grade in this class. (He repeatedly told us that all of us could get an A in the class, so he's not out to ruin your GPA.) Finally, his jovial and congenial attitude helps. He's a grad student, so he completely understands what it's like to be an undergraduate student. (Expect to fall behind towards the end of the semester, because he also has his own work to do and thus it'll take him a while to return grades.) Also, he insists on making the class a discussion like Lit Hum; this means speak up! Our class often talked about our individual projects and gave each other even more feedback on how to improve them. If you've always wanted to learn how to write persuasively, take UWriting with Mr. Williams. I know that if I go to the Writing Center, he will be the first person I go look for for feedback.

Dec 2011

Kate did a great job of making a course that can be abysmal genuinely helpful. Class would sometimes get a little dull, but that was mostly because most of us probably weren't as engaged as we should have been. Filler homework assignments aside, I found each of the essays to be interesting and effective in improving my writing, and Kate clearly put an enormous amount of effort into giving each student individual attention and feedback. The grading wasn't particularly harsh, and I felt that the expectations throughout the course were clear. Take UWriting with Kate if you can--she's definitely in the top half of instructors (and also a great person)!

Dec 2011

I'm not sure if Amaya was a great prof or if I just had a great group of people for my UW section. Either way, I had a positive experience in her class. I really didn't enjoy UW as a course, but Amaya was an engaging professor who had a knack for facilitating class discussion. She was very accessible for people who needed extra assistance with their papers, and was very willing to talk outside of class on specific issues. She's a fair grader and she really rewards papers that show progress between drafts. I did get a paper back with comments that amounted to "this paper was great, no major flaws, A-", which was very frustrating, but I understand that As aren't a common occurrence. I had a lot of problems with UW, but none of them were directly Amaya's fault. I do wish we had gotten more feedback on our papers, though. She was better than my LitHum professor (usually wrote about a paragraph for each draft, though she did write us several paragraphs on our Lens essay first draft), but I've seen other UW professors who go to town on papers and give several paragraphs of detailed, specific feedback. If you're looking to seriously improve your writing skills, you might want to look for one of those; if you just want to survive UW without too much agony, Amaya is a great choice.

Dec 2011

I, as well as the rest of my University Writing class, completely disagree with the previous reviews. Maybe she has changed as she is no longer a grad student, but she was by far the most efficacious, kind, and inspirational professor that I had all semester. Though previous reviews call her sexist, I COMPLETELY disagree. She was fair to all of us. If you worked hard, made the changes she pointed out, and learned from your mistakes, she gave you a good grade. If not, you got the grade you deserved. While she is kind, she is not afraid to speak up and tell you when you've done wrong. As a student who hated writing before UW, I am surprised by the ways this class, and most importantly, Meaghan, have changed me. I have not only gained a newfound interest in writing and philosophy, but I have even changed my career path. This may sound extreme, but Meaghan truly was that great of a professor. If you end up with her, you are more than fortunate.

Dec 2011

Yeah, he's a hard grader. But he really teaches you how to write. Alex's mindset of breaking every paragraph down into a mini essay has been my main writing technique ever since I left his class. He actively engages the class in discussions about the readings and really makes you think. You have to do a lot of work, a lot of writing, and get mediocre grades, but I loved this class for what it taught me. Plus, shouldn't you want your writing class to be a little difficult? This is, after all, the class that is setting you up for the academic writing in the rest of your college career.

Dec 2011

Matthew DiPentima is a well-organized teacher that I learnt a lot from in the University Writing class. The assignments are clear and engaging. I happened to find many of the readings required fascinating. We wrote on compassion, terror, animal rights, psychology and philosophy. (Fitting, because the class was in the Philosophy building.) Matt offered very good feedback on both exploratory drafts and final drafts. He would often write full, single-spaced responses in letter format in addition to the mark-ups on the actual paper. We also used a workshop style critique to improve upon our exploratory drafts. He would pair us up with others in the class, have us read our compadres' essays, then write responses to them. Sometimes this was helpful and sometimes it wasn't. The class isn't easy for those who don't like reading or writing. There are many readings each class near the beginning of the semester and many writing assignments every class towards the end of the semester. Most of the daily homework is not graded, with only a check recorded for completion. Work hard on the final drafts. I know lots of people would complain about the workload, but it was in no way unfair. Just do your work and it will be fine. This class also utilizes the new Courseworks which is a nice way to upload writings on the web. He also requests that you print your work out. Beware if this class occurs at 9:10 AM. You'll probably be late once or twice and you might see some sleepy people in the class. I would highly recommend this class. Matt is a great teacher.

Oct 2011

I thought Mr.Williams was a fantastic UWriting teacher. His class is a lot of work (most UWriting classes are), but I felt I learned a lot throughout the course and actually improved my writing ability. Going to office hours helped me tons; he is incredibly helpful and is willing to go over every sentence of your draft with you and talk about your argument to beat your essay into shape. He is also a very eloquent speaker, which helps some of the initial course material, which is somewhat dry, go by quickly. Unlike some UWriting teachers who seem to have GPA crushing on their minds, Mr.Williams does give As, even though they don't come without hard work. In fact, Mr.Williams always claimed that every one of us could get an A if we put in the right kind of effort (edited a lot, went to Writing Center, went to office hours etc.). I don't know if this actually happened, but it says something about his attitude towards grading. His grading is also fair. If you put in substantial effort and generally feel that you have created an essay that you are proud to have written, you will get the grade you expect. His feedback is also incredibly thorough on both drafts and essays, so you can definitely improve using that feedback.

Sep 2011

Let me start this entry off by saying that I am a CULPA free rider….I am the last person you would ever expect to spend the time and effort to submit an entry to CULPA. That being said, the entry submitted by the previous member of the Westboro baptist church last October was disgusting and pushed me to write something. As you can see from the majority of the entries (minus the one from our oh so progressive friend Adolf), caring is a word everyone used to describe Glenn. I certainly am not the best writer and I was looking forward to UW about as much as I look forward to dental surgery, but I was very lucky to have Glenn as my teacher. Glenn goes above and beyond to make sure his students get something out of the course. He conferences with students throughout the draft process, challenges students to think critically about their writing, and genuinely inspires his students to submit their best work. Glenn cares so much about your success in this course that it motivates you to care about the class and improving your writing. Glenn is also a very fair grader. Now lets talk about the curriculum…Yeah, there were a few readings about gender. But what Adolf Eichmann failed to mention is that all of the readings are social commentary dealing with the taboo topics: race, gender, religion, class, etc. Maybe our progressive friend would have rather written about high school topics that are less controversial or intellectually stimulating. Glenn discusses all the topics respectfully and with an open mind. He doesn’t force his views on the students and moderates some pretty lively class discussions. Authors discussed included Judith Lorber, award-winning Judith Butler, Jeffrey Jerome Cohen and Bell Hooks. Bottom line: UW is a rough class, but Glenn makes it bearable and beneficial.

Aug 2011

Excellent professor! He uses creative methods to engage all students in the classroom discussions, which might seem pointless at the time, but believe me works out for the best in the end. He is always available to answer any question either by email or face to face interaction and willing to sit with you until you grasp what is required of you. His feedback is usually useful and clear. He also allows you to rewrite your worst essay for a better grade.

Aug 2011

She did the best she could with a class of people who, for whatever reasons, could barely compose a coherent sentence without whining. Nell was more than fair, she was NICE--far more than I would have been under the circumstances--and not only extended deadlines, but basically spoon fed the material to the class. I'm sure it's no one's dream to teach UW, but she managed to make an otherwise tedious and asinine waste of time and tuition money into something that was, at the very least, a bearable burden.

Aug 2011

Kate is great. She's clearly very passionate about writing and the writing process, and I really felt like she cared about my progress within the class. Kate will go to great lengths to engage a class and really enjoys giving little writing activities to illustrate concepts. My particular section was particularly quiet and sleepy, so this made things a little awkward at times. Kate requires private meetings that take place before turning in a final version. At first, I dreaded going to these; but Kate uses the time to give you very helpful constructive criticism and to ask about your personal feelings on what you've written. These meetings also make the grading very fair -- Kate is always very direct with what parts of your essay lost her/what sections may need further work. I felt like I left the class a better writer because of her conferences.

Aug 2011

I’m going to give an objective opinion on Sara Lewis. She is very sweet and nice, however, whoever hired her to teach a writing course should be fired. I’m sure Sara is talented in certain areas, but I’m just about positive those areas are somewhere outside of the scope of academic writing. This woman was unable to tell the difference between active and passive voices, could not distinguish an adverb from a preposition, and repeatedly gave me contradictory advice on my papers. On one occasion I went to her office hours in which she told me that she couldn’t review my paper until my works cited page was finished, however, she had no problem reviewing my class mate’s paper just minutes later who had no works cited page whatsoever. Sara strongly favors papers written on subjects related to her fields of research, no matter how badly they are written. How do I know this? I had a class mate show me his paper and laugh about getting an A despite having over 20 misspelled words. This event was only further substantiated by Sara’s opinion of the course, in which she declared, “This course is not so much about writing as it is about content.” Really Sara? I thought the course was called “University Writing.” One disturbing event put a final bad taste in my mouth regarding Sara Lewis. Near the last week of class, one student made a joke and said, “Hey, since this is your last time teaching UW, why don’t you send us all out with As? Her response was, “Yea, that will do wonders for my credibility.” I understand that Sara is just a graduate student instructor, but why is she connecting her credibility with the types of grades her students earn? Since this event, I’ve asked other graduate student instructors as well as highly accomplished professors if they’ve ever been under any kind of pressure to give a limited number of As, every one of them non-hesitantly told me “no." The Final Word I don’t mind getting a B in a class if I actually learn something, but the truth is I learned absolutely nothing in Sara’s class. I can honestly say this is the first and only time I have literally thrown $4000 (the cost of the class) to the wind. My experience with Sara was so bad in fact that I came dangerously close to filing a formal complaint. I came to Columbia to learn, and that just did not happen here.

Aug 2011

Best UW teacher out there, without a doubt. Super lenient in terms of assignments. Many people in my class would forget to do a reading response and it would barely bother her. Although, if you do them, it's a sure way for her to like you. Participation is completely optional. I think I may have spoken twice all semester. She provides really helpful comments on our essay drafts and is also very willing to give extensions. She's also a really easy grader which is certainly a plus. Basically I loved Hiie and if you can manage to roll yourself out of bed for a 9 am class, you should most definitely fight for a spot in her section! It's worth it!

Jul 2011

We're talking about UW here so the pedagogical pros and cons of its graduate student instructors are mostly for anecdotal purposes, you know? Most of us simply end up with whom we end up. That said . . . Nell, as she is known, was wonderful. If you have a chance to take a course with her, do it. I want you not only to take any criticisms of her written on this page with large grains of salt, but to be highly suspect of any authors of such criticisms. And if you ARE one of said authors? I hate to break it to you but you're probably just a terrible writer; this is not Nell's fault. Her honest feedback is what your tuition is paying for. I found Nell to be not only useful to my writing in a general feedback and critique kind of way, but also incredibly insightful into the finer details of what it was that I was trying to accomplish in my papers. As a result, I was able get out of said papers what I ultimately wanted. Not bad for silly old UW. Oh, and she's totally nice, completely casual; not bad when you're a grad student having to deal with the kind of sloppy, embarrassing dreck that was being passed off (poorly, I might add) as writing by some of my classmates. Her job is one that I don't envy, but her abilities are such that I do. Thanks again Nell!

Jul 2011

An amazing UW teacher. As said, really caring about her students. She puts emphasis on the thought process and how hard you are trying, and encourages students to get out of their comfort zone. It was really a joy to experiment with my writing and not fear penalization. My class was a little too quiet so she ended up rambling on sometimes, but listening to her rambling was pretty entertaining and sometimes enlightening. A great UW experience! I loved the class with her.

Jul 2011

Kassie is an amazing teacher! I was worried headed into the UW course from the stories I had heard about other professors. She really will go above and beyond to help you- but only if you put in the effort- she will not just pass out easy A's. That said, I also feel she was a very fair grader. She gives the rubrics with exactly what she wants in your paper- I heard fellow classmates complain that she didn't understand their "scientific" style or appreciate their creative writing - this is a basic writing class and that is what they are looking for. I am a terrible writer and and Kassie was extremely helpful with every step of the process for me. She says it on the first day "there is no reason for any of you not to get an A in this course." Meet with her outside classroom hours- she is very flexible and happy to chat. I think she may base a bit of your grade off of improvement (you have to turn in 3 drafts of each paper including the final)- listen to her criticism and fix what she says to.

Jul 2011

Irvin Hunt is not for everyone. If you want your UW class to be all sunshine and roses, stay away from him. He knows what he wants, and he has no compunction about blasting your ideas out of the sky. The previous reviewer hated him for that. I find it refreshing. Irvin can be egotistical, unfocused, and occasionally downright obnoxious. His ravings may be a load of horse dung, or they may be genius; I guess that's a perspective thing. It is true that he cares more about his favorite TV show (Curb Your Enthusiasm--hard to argue...) than about his students. I don't understand why that shocks some people (then again, this is Columbia, so a lot of these people have been coddled since they were a glint on their daddy's meatus). You can laugh at his stupid quirks, or you can sulk. Irvin doesn't really care. That being said, he generally recognizes effort and rewards enthusiasm. It is true that he gives you fewer options than other UW instructors. Many will see this as a negative, I again disagree. It forces you to actually read and write in a new way, which is the purpose of the class. While this leaves less time for the "exploration" (mental masturbation) that others crave, it gets the job done. Again, just make a good faith effort, do things Irvin's way, and you'll get something out of the class. At the least, you'll get a decent grade. At best, you'll laugh your ass off. The verdict: If you have thick skin, take this class. Irvin is very smart, and occasionally has interesting ideas. If you want someone to reinforce your self-esteem, look elsewhere.

Jun 2011

I was extremely happy with John's abilities as a writing instructor. His comments were always helpful and he clearly wanted us to do well. He also made sure class was always dynamic and fun, something I've heard is uncommon in UWriting sections. We would often delve into extremely interesting discussions of the seed texts, which would often raise interesting philosophical questions, instead of merely discussing essay structure and mechanics. While I don't necessarily agree with the way the course is structured, I think John managed to do the best he could with the syllabus, and definitely helped me improve as a writer. He's also an extremely fair grader.

May 2011

Jessica is sweet, encouraging, fair, knowledgeable, and a good teacher. She has a great attitude, is definitely friendly and understanding. She knows that this class is not everyone's favorite, especially not for SEAS students. (That sentence is so grammatically incorrect but it's 1am and I don't care to fix it). Anyway, she spaces out the assignments much better than other professors, from what I could tell. While my friends were stressing about finishing their research papers I was already smooth sailing with the ridiculously easy reflective essay. I never felt like I wasn't given enough time to do a paper. Sure, it's annoying to read the articles, especially during the research paper when you have to look for the articles you are barely interested in. But that's how it is with any UW class. Jessica is great with feedback for essay drafts, and you can ask her for help at any stage in your progressions. She also brought coffee and bagels from Starbucks into class one day towards the end of the semester! It was delicious during that 10:35am class.I would definitely recommend her if you settled with the fact that since UW is not gonna be your favorite class, it might as well be more than bearable.

May 2011

University Writing is one of those dreaded courses required of all Columbia students. Escaping it is unfortunately impossible. At first, I really enjoyed Samantha's class. The writing workshop style class is a nice change of pace from Lit Hum and the class goes by really quickly; however, as the class progresses, it slowly becomes really, really annoying. Samantha tends to be very vague about what exactly is expected for the essays, so the first essay for most students is a massive letdown. She is available for conference; however, she is extremely limited in how much time students can meet with her. She might be better now since she works in the writing center. Her feedback is good; however, her grading is not consistent with her comments. She tends to grade lower than what her comments project. Unlike many teachers of UW, she is a stickler for following the rules of the "lens essay." To be honest, I have yet to ever use it, and I believe it is a stupid method of writing.

May 2011

I had Mariel Rodney for University Writing, and she was the absolute ideal when it comes to University Writing teachers. Her grading was fair, she was never too pushy in class or discussion, and maintained a very cool and collected composure throughout the entire process. She was very realistic about University Writing, never over-stressing its importance but still valuing its credibility. Her assignments were light and fair, and she made the essays and drafts seem far less arduous than most other University Writing professors. While everyone else seemed to hate the class, I certainly didn't mind it at all, and I owe that largely in part to Ms. Rodney making it so enjoyable and painless. I would very highly recommend taking University Writing with Mariel Rodney.

May 2011

I had Autumn Womack as my UW teacher this semester and thought that her class was calm, collected, and focused heavily on class discussion, which was great. I wish some of my other classes were more like that! Due to the fact that writing academic papers requires a fair amount of academic reading practice, there were two or three assigned essays each week that we needed to familiarize ourselves with. We would be expected to come to class and discuss what we read and how to incorporate that within the context of academic writing. She was very skilled at interpreting academic papers and student essays in a way that made sense and would actually benefit a student rather than confuse them further. Overall, I feel my writing skills improved and I gained a perspective of critical thinking that I didn't have before.

May 2011

Hunt was disparaging, confrontational, and egoistic in the way he handled class. Classes were filled with long lectures instead of stimulating discussion, and when he did solicit student opinion, he often shot it down saying things like "you're incredibly off-mark," or "you're so wrong that I don't know how to respond." He often went on long digressions about his favorite TV show, or his own dissertation research. Furthermore, unlike every other UWriting section, he did not allow us to choose our own research essay topic, but instead mandated that we all discuss humor, his own dissertation topic. We did not read several articles and vote on a seed text, instead, we were handed an article on stand-up comedy and were given a very restricted range of questions we could pose in our essay. He also rarely, if ever, allowed us to disagree with the authors of the texts that we read, saying that since these authors spent years working on their themes, while we read it over the course of a week, we were unqualified to comment negatively on them. His written feedback was the only useful part of this course, as it did indeed force us to dig deeper into the texts. However, in conferences, he often didn't remember which essay was ours, and spent ten minutes re-reading our essays before giving us any feedback, and then left shortly thereafter, since conferences often didn't last more than fifteen minutes. Honestly, the worst teacher I've had at Columbia. He's clearly more interested in his own research than teaching, which was showcased by his constant referral to his dissertation topic without thinking about its relevance to us.

May 2011

Rabhi Asmuna Gurung, who goes by Muna Gurung, is a fun instructor for University Writing. She is a tough grader, though, and her comments on papers are sometimes confusing or contradictory. Some of her flaws can be blamed on the class itself, which is often overcomplicated simple writing assignments. I really recommend going to see her as often as possible during the writing process, as her comments often need clarification and she's much more helpful one-on-one. I had a great time in the class, however, and look back on it fondly. You will occasionally be frustrated by her, but it should all work out in the end. Just don't expect to get an A.

May 2011

Sam is a really great, inspired, and inspiring teacher. She is very intent on having us get something out of the class. She is tough with her workload but you certainly come away with a lot from the class. She is very personable, young, and funny. I rate her a 4/5. She also is an editor at the Writing Center so you can get your work checked by her before you turn in your papers, and she is happy to do so.

May 2011

I really enjoyed taking her class! I agree with the other person who reviewed, the class discussions really don't teach much- it really is just her asking some questions that very few people answer on what we read the night before. However, the papers she chooses for us to read are very insightful and I learned a lot from them. In addition, I thought the workload was very fair- about 1-2 pages of writing a night that are graded mostly on completion (if they're really well-written, they can raise the next essay by a third of a letter grade) along with four essays and rough drafts for the first three. In terms of grading, I thought it was fair. In the interest of disclosure I did end up with an A-, but to be honest, I really didn't spend hours upon hours writing the essays. I probably could have gotten an A if I actually spent the right amount of time on everything instead of procrastinating until a day or so beforehand. Also, for the rough drafts, she gives a HUGE amount of feedback that is really helpful towards rewriting the final paper if you listen to her. I'd definitely take her class again.

May 2011

Awesome teacher...class environment was always really upbeat...never thought she was giving me teacher bullshit, always felt she was shooting me straight...seems to understand that not everyone is James Joyce, and works (and grades) each student according to his or her abilities (I might be wrong about this)....she was very easy to talk to when we met one on one to go over papers and her instructions on what was wrong or what I needed to fix were very clear...I don't know if my class was super cool or what but she even scheduled a little get together after classes had ended for us.

May 2011

"nor silver-shedding tears could penetrate her uncompassionate sire" sums this MFA grad student up nicely "writing can be painful and endless" writes "professor" Nell in a class email on March 14th, 2011; taking this required course with this "write by the numbers professor" will surely make you feel that way. She is not clear in any of her assignments, gives everyone quizzical looks and says "so what?" and is the most disinterested writing instructor I've ever had. Be sure to check out her blog though- the fable about her pitbull is awe-inspiring publication... gag

May 2011

If you find yourself in Marina Blitshteyn's class, please for your own sanity do EVERYTHING in your power to get out of it. She seems nice enough at first, but don't fall for it. She's pure evil. We were loaded with hours of pointless homework each night that she never bothered to read or grade. We got the first real taste of Marina's insanity, however, when she asked us to write our full first drafts for the first progression in two days, from Monday to Wednesday, with absolutely no warning to allow us to plan ahead. From there it only went downhill. A few weeks into the semester she acquired this habit of emailing us our homework for Wednesday, like clockwork, between 2 and 3 a.m. on Tuesdays. Homework for Monday would be sent at 5 a.m. on Sunday. I have never had an instructor with such little respect for his/ her students. We would ask for our homework in class, and she would refuse even that small request, saying "oh don't worry, I'll email it to you" and thereby denying us the ability to manage our time effectively. Gallingly, she expected far less of herself than she expected of us. She took as long as three to four weeks to send us comments on our formal drafts, sending people responses one by one so that some people had two weeks to incorporate her feedback for the final draft while others had only 48 hours. She never even bothered to comment on our drafts for the third progression, despite saying she would. She said no to almost all requested extensions. She steadfastly refused to clarify details of assignments in advance, so we could not work on them in advance. I expect my professors to read my homework assignments, to give me enough time to complete them and advance warnings about due dates, and to be willing to explain what the assignments will be. I expect them to be understanding when their students ask for extensions because they have been given a single night to complete a substantial assignment with no prior warning. I also expect them to give me feedback in a timely manner, at least when I am expected to incorporate that feedback into a second draft. Marina did none of these things. She acted unprofessionally and callously, and it was all too clear to everyone in the class that whoever allowed her to teach made a grievous error.

May 2011

Okay, so first off-his name is Alastair, which made me a fan of him from the beginning. If you're not looking forward to UWriting, you will appreciate having Morrison. A no bullshit kind of guy, Morrison is really interesting and approachable. I would say I got the most I could out of UWriting, especially since I saw some of my friends spend tons of hours for their Uwriting classes doing busy work. The class, itself, was kind of boring, but I think Morrison does the best with what he's working to make the articles we read spark interesting discussion. A lot of work-shopping papers in class. Plus, Morrison makes himself available to meet during office hours or any other time to discuss/plan papers.

May 2011

Ms. Rodney is AMAZING. I have heard so many complaints about U Writing, and I had a great experience 100% due to Ms. Rodney. She picks great texts to read and is really easy going about the final paper--most classes have to do something bizarre related to a "seed text"... Ms. Rodney let us write about whatever interested us, making the project much more enjoyable. That being said, she does expect a lot from her students, but it's worth it.

May 2011

Emily was amazing! I had heard so many horror stories about uwriting, plus I had it from 6:10-7:25 so I was really dreading it. She made me excited to go to class however. She made what really could have been mind-numbingly boring activities hilarious and I learned something valuable from everything that we did. I really grew as a writer with her help, I learned more in one semester as her student than I did from my English teachers in high school. Whoever has the opportunity to get her as a teacher is very lucky and truly blessed!

May 2011

Emily is awesome. The thoroughness, thoughtfulness, and quality of her feedback on our written work by far surpasses anything else I've received back from other instructors (whether professors or TAs) at Columbia. Her constructive criticism is just that-- it accentuates the positive parts of your writing, while helping you construct a more cohesive argument out of your weak points. Your writing will definitely improve under her guidance, regardless of where you stand as a writer coming in to the class. Also, Emily is really good at facilitating a great classroom dynamic-- very laid-back, relaxed, friendly, and open. She is good at guiding discussion and keeping the whole class atmosphere positive. Assignments are generally useful to the class-- no random homework or extraneous drafts. Readings/prompts are also legitimately interesting and intellectually stimulating. Finally, Emily has an awesome sense of style. Basically, if you get Emily as your UWriting instructor, be happy, because you'll have a great time in class and improve exponentially as a writer while you're at it.

May 2011

DO NOT TAKE HER CLASS. I learned absolutely nothing from her teaching. To make matters worse, she's a hard grader, and does not give out A's. A- was the highest grade I heard of. She mumbles all of class and says "ummm" more than anything else. Class consisted of us "discussing" an article we had to read the night before. She would ask questions, almost no one would answer and then she would mumble and move on. Terrible professor, sweet as a person but don't waste your tuition money. And you'll have to actually work hard to do well.

May 2011

She is so nice. Awesome teacher with really nice life lessons. Understanding and caring about her students and she understands that students' lives can be stressful and hard to manage and gives a lot of leeway for essays. She is one of those educators who care about students getting better at writing by being fair and nice rather than difficult and uncaring. If you see her on the course lists please take her! you will not regret it.

May 2011

You won't know your U.Writing professor until you get to class. That being said, if you go into class and Victoria is teaching it, get out. Victoria is clearly an intelligent person who is probably a great academic. I'm sure that her thesis papers are fascinating. But her teaching skills are lacking. If we (the class as one body) do not understand something and ask for clarification, Victoria repeats what she said the first time...but slower. That's not clarification. Additionally, assignments were not clear. How can I be criticized on not fulfilling assignment requirements if I don't know what the assignment is? No one wanted to participate in class, either. Questions were met with frustrating answers. One example: we are doing peer edits/workshops. A student is absent and consequently, there is an odd number of students in class. Obviously, three students will have to work together instead of working in pairs. Victoria is frustrated and starts getting upset that people didn't print more versions of their paper. One student tries to explain the concept of three way passing ie student A passes her paper to student B who passes his paper to student C who passes his paper to student A. Everyone reads a paper and can critique someone else's work while still getting feedback for themselves. Victoria could not understand this concept at all, despite the fact that several students tried to chime in. Frustrated, she left the room to go print more versions of the students' essays (which were, of course, not needed or used). I'm trying to make the point that Victoria is a nice, caring person but who just doesn't understand some real-life concepts. She has a hard time connecting with students. She definitely raises interesting intellectual questions, but she never answers emails, doesn't send out assignment sheets consistently, and changes due dates frequently. This is an incredibly frustrating experience. Additionally, there have been several class periods in which Victoria will hand out sixty page packets to everyone and ask that we read them in fifteen minutes. There are several problems here: 1) we physically can't read that many pages in fifteen minutes so she can't get frustrated with us for not reading that many, 2) why didn't she send it out for homework if she wanted us to read the packet? and 3) we are wasting the short hour and fifteen minutes of class by watching other people read. I honestly did not enjoy University Writing with my professor at all. The best part was that we read a few articles by Andre Aciman which were absolutely fascinating, and I was exposed to a LOT of African diaspora literature. When I say "a lot," I mean that most of the pieces we read were African diaspora and were almost always by Jamaica Kincaid. It was great to read different literature than what I usually read, but within the course readings, there was little diversity. As for the course itself, I don't think I gained anything as a writer. The only thing that I learned that resonated with me was the "moment of epiphany" idea when analyzing reading. Other than that, there was nothing. I wish I could've passed out of this class. I asked one student if he knew if we had homework or not. He replied (summarizing the class's feelings pretty accurately), "No, but we'll be fine and just spend an hour wishing that a plane will overshoot LaGuardia and crash into the building to save us from our misery."

Apr 2011

Full disclosure: I hated UW. I felt it was an utterly useless class, except for the sessions that focused on MLA. Most of the time we dealt with pseudo-philosophical questions that arose from the texts - unfortunately the point of UW is not to allow for an appropriate, rigorous discussion, but just to give some random context for the ridiculously artificial writing structures advanced by the Writing Center. HOWEVER, Kassi is an amazing instructor. She is extremely nice, her written feedback on essay is actually helpful and you can tell she really enjoys teaching and writing. She gave us a lot of writing-focused material, which other sections may not deal with. If it weren't for her, I would have just killed myself midway through the semester, but having Kassi as an instructor made UW only reasonably painful. I definitely recommend her an instructor and you should consider yourself lucky if you are assigned to her session! (And even luckier if you somehow place out of this awful waste of time.)

Apr 2011

This man deserves a Gold Star. I was in his class last year and am only now getting around to writing a review on him, but he remains the best professor I have had at Columbia. Lupic is exceptionally intelligent, charming, helpful, and intellectually stimulating. As other comments have noted, he is able and willing to talk on a range of different and fascinating topics. His comments on papers are detailed and extremely helpful; just follow them and he will reward you handsomely. Finally, if you do the work, you will have no problem getting a very high grade. He is not at all hesitant to give out As.

Apr 2011

Hiie is a great teacher. Very energetic and relatively easy grader. Her UW class was awesome. She is very lenient on deadlines, responds quickly to emails, and is very open if you need extra help on your paper. She is not too demanding and also does not get worked up if you show up a few minutes late. The syllabus said you can only have 3 absences, but there were like 5 people in my class with at least 7-8 already, so I'm not sure how strict that policy is. However, I'd show up no matter what. It's a relatively short class and you don't really have to participate if you don't want to... I asked for a few extensions on my papers and she gave them to me without asking questions. I'm sure there isn't a nicer or easier UW teacher out there.Just do the work she assigns, show up to the 9am class and write decent papers = A-/A

Apr 2011

Adam is a good UW professor. He's funny, clear, and definitely amusing. I enjoy having him, however, he is a bit of harder grader and seems to have high expectations of his students. He does let you rewrite your papers if you are not satisfied with the grade if you submit a one page paper with why you think it went wrong. Big plus. He's not always the most responsive to e-mails though. I haven't had any problems with him at all. Genuinely, he's a nice guy and I would suggest him to anyone.

Apr 2011

Once you walk out of UW and actually have to write professional research papers for real classes, forget everything you learned in her class, it will only hurt you. I took college writing courses for four years before attending Sara's class and have never witnessed a worse "writing" professor. Only those students completely new to college level writing will claim to have "gotten something" out of her course. You will not learn MLA, APA, or Chicago style format in Sara's class, or any other style pertinent to university research papers. What you will learn is how to give a whiney graduate student what she wants - papers written around subjects related to anthropology. Being an effective writer or even the best writer in class will not earn you an A. Giving Sara Lewis her way will get you an A. Treat this little girl like your six year old niece and just "play nice" until it's all over. The saddest part about all of this is that students completely new to college level writing are going to get a big wakeup call when trying to apply Sara's techniques to upper division courses. The Sara Lewis way only works for one person - Sara Lewis. Getting an A in Sara's class is easy, just follow these simple steps... Type up a complete rough draft and make sure it is in on time. Take this rough draft to her office hours at least two times before you turn it in. Don't make fun of Sigmund Freud or any other prominent figure in anthropology. Don't ever disagree with her or challenge her ideas.

Mar 2011

One of the worst teachers in terms of grading... he claims he wants you to edit your essay certain ways and then he takes off points for following his exact instructions. His class discussions are not too bad but he basically copies other teachers class notes and uses them to lead his class discussions. One of the most stressful people to deal with if you're looking to do well and you end up in a very intelligent class because he really really believes in a very rough grade distribution. Although some UW teachers care more about the ideas they discuss in lecture and then grade fairly leniently on the papers, Alexander Landfair is certainly not one of them.

Mar 2011

Brink is a brilliant writer whose comments are kind of insightful and beyond critical. Ignore what he tells you in terms of your argument's content, but listen to his opinions of writing style and technique. Cocky or not, he's got mad literary skills. And he sticks to the mantra he'll tell you on the first day of classes- "A perfect paper earns a B, while a revolutionary paper earns an A." He's always extending deadlines, so honestly- work to your own schedule. Don't fall too behind, but if you follow his instructions he'll be satisfied. He likes risk in your claims. He also likes telling you you're being too risky and it makes no sense. He has this terrible habit of making up his own literary devices and continuously applies them to all of his responses to your work. It's good that for when in a writing class he creates literary terms, but he never defines them. He'll kind of just introduce them and get confused later on when he finds it "surprising nobody in the class really did such and such in their essays." Follow his instructions, employ the techniques he gives and use the arguments he so obviously emphasizes and you'll get a B. Over-dramatize it neatly, and you might get an A. His grading will seem unfair, because when he comments on your work he nitpicks at small problems and then tells you they're repeated throughout your essay and are problematic (duh). Single mistakes like missing a signpost in a transitional sentence or making too general of a claim will let him justify your argument as not credible and A-unworthy. He'll correct you on MLA format that doesn't exist; he makes up his own format of in-paper citations and will criticize your title pages. Titles pages don't even belong in MLA, but bear with him because he will make you a better writer. Even if it drives you to the Brink of insanity.

Mar 2011

Okay, I'm going with crazy as a nice way to say passive aggressive. She tells you she loves your idea and it makes sense until she suggests something to you. If you don't go with her suggestion word for word, she will kill you. She loves the people who do everything she says (so do this for a good grade. write every paper with the topic she personally suggests for you or else you'll basically get an F) and they clearly become the favorites. If you even try to suggest your own idea, egad! She will tell you that it clearly makes no sense (even if it previously did to her) and by the time that final draft comes round... [a final draft which I had several friends, the writing center twice, as well as my English professor father look over] you will not get what you should. So in short: KISS HER ASS! You have about 2 weeks to become loved. If you don't accomplish this all by then, slim chances for you at getting the grade you deserved. so final note: WRITE HER PAPER. anything she wants, just write it. even if it has nothing to do with what you're talking about or what you want to say. It will make her happy and make you pass. If you have ever seen Harry Potter, she is like the Columbia version of Dolores Umbridge. You take one look at the pink soft spoken hipster and you think she's so sweet and nice. Give it about a day. You'll see.

Jan 2011

Jamie is a great teacher - very clear, concise, fun, young, energetic, and smart. He is a PhD candidate at Columbia and writes about art/books/fashion for some magazines. He made U. Writing a fun class to come to. Our class discussed Twilight and the role of vampires in society once and there were many other similar discussions/days that were just fun. It is a really good idea to meet with Jamie because it is the only way to really know what write, how to edit, etc. He does a great job of teaching in class and of getting everyone to share, but if you want feedback on your specific essay, set up a meeting. Overall, I'd say a really good choice for any freshman.

Jan 2011

Kassi is this bubbly professor who is as sweet as she is smart. I'm surprised no one has written about her yet! As far as grad student professors go, take UW with Kassi. She will prep you expertly, and she has some other aspects, tips, and handouts that other UW professors do not do. She was strict on attendance and being on time, but she was also incredibly accommodating, and would meet with you after class or before class, or even on the weekends! She has dedication to her students, passion for the subject, and allowed time for some fun creative writing as well. Kassi is young and relates well to students. You respect her, but can also see yourself hanging out at a bar with her. I'm sorry, but who does not want a professor who goes to Woodstock and encourages class potlucks? I learned so much about my own reading and writing skills - her grading was tough (as most grad students are) but she also allows re-writes on more than one essay. You may turn in late submissions with good reason, and she only docks 1/3 a letter. If you do poorly on any essay, rewrite it and you will end up with, at the very least, a B+. A terrific professor. I would definitely take another class with her.

Jan 2011

A brilliant graduate film student. He's a master with words, and is skilled in maneuvering and handling the class in any situation. The fourth essay (retrospective), he allowed us to complete in class, and basically assigned everyone an A. He scared me a tad on the first day when he explained, "A perfect paper, one that is absolutely flawless, that earns a B in my class. In order to earn an A, it must have the power to start a revolution, bring me to tears, and/or change the world." I found out that was a bit of an exaggeration as a number of students ended up earning A's on various assignments. He is a bit late on deadlines and often pushed them back. He treats us like adults and expects us to act accordingly. Fair grader, and a generally caring teacher with a good sense of humor.

Jan 2011

Timothy Donahue is an excellent, engaging and accommodating professor. Although many in my class were not the the most vociferous of contributors in terms of the in-class discussions, Mr. Donahue was always willing to rephrase questions in a more accessible way. His grading is fair, and he gives you ample opportunity to do your best work. He is often flexible with deadlines, and is sensitive to the other numerous demands on your time as a student. Additionally, he provides COPIOUS feedback on your drafts (Usually a full page, typed in letter format) which is extremely helpful in addressing your weak spots as a writer and helping you to do your best work. The readings he selects are mostly interesting and engaging, although some require an exorbitant amount of analysis to prove useful in the greater context of the progression. Ultimately though, what makes Mr. Donahue a great teacher is his enthusiasm and passion for language. Although our class was an early one, Mr. Donahue was always totally committed to engaging us with the topics at hand and the assignments we were asked to complete.

Jan 2011

Extremely difficult. Rude and passive-agressive. Seems annoyed to be in the class and appears to be someone who teaches simply to satisfy some degree. She just has a cold personality to her reminiscent of a hybrid of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and Famke Janssen in Goldeneye that will often leave you afraid to approach her, email her, or participate. A harsh grader, riddling your drafts with unnecessary comments. She often will find a dozen different ways to criticize the content of your drafts (i.e. vague, truism, makes no sense, not really, consult Hacker),saying that your points are illogical and too much of a stretch for the sources you choose as evidence. But with this being a class where your often extrapolate and make inferences about authors of the works she gives you, you will often be left frustrated and in a lack of accord with her comments, which seem totally (again) unnecessary and stupid. However, her assignments are pretty clear and if you meld your papers and act like you actually agreed with her criticisms and made an effort to correct them, you can do fairly well in the class.

Jan 2011

Professor Strome, a grad student (in the PhD program for history of education, I believe) at Teachers College, taught a pretty great semester of UW. One can tell from the get go that he is intelligent, "chill" guy who still remembers what is like to be a freshman in college. If you need help from him, he is extremely accommodating with office hours and gives detailed feedback that guides you in a general direction but still gives you plenty of freedom. This is not to say that you can slack off or anything, as you certainly have to work hard for your grade. It's just that if you, say, show up late, you'll suffer the consequences of that but not some sort of anal-retentive chewing out or passive-aggression. The only negative comment I can make is that papers were not returned with promptness one might expect. However, the reasons he gave for delays were very satisfactory, I'm sure that any future classes that he teaches will have no such issue.

Jan 2011

She was a really great teacher. I absolutely hated writing because it was my worst subject. However Ashley made enduring through a class ALL about writing extremely bearable. On top of all that, she's extremely nice and funny. Each time I went to class it was never boring. She taught the class from a student perspective, realizing that we had other courses to focus on as well as this one. She was also a very fair grader. In junior high, I could never get a grade above 90 on any of my essays, however in Ashley's class I saw how my writing started to improve with her helpful comments. I ended the course with an A- (90-92) and I can honestly say that I deserved it. Whether you enjoy writing or loathe it as much as I did, I highly recommend her for this course.

Jan 2011

Jessica Pishko's University Writing class seemed to be pretty standard compared to others. The readings and homework assignments decreased as the semester moved on, allowing more time to work on your papers. She also gives more and more freedom as the semester progresses. We could write the research paper on almost anything as long as it related to the seed text by theme. (I wrote a paper on Fallout 3 relating to morality). She met everyone in the class for every one of their papers at least once, giving you multiple other opportunities to see her if you needed more help. Her comments on your first drafts were fairly straightforward and if you follow her comments you will do very well on your final drafts. She gives more time to finish your final drafts than most other University Writing instructors; normally I had at least one more week to complete my final drafts then other people taking the course. Sometimes she can be a little hard to interpret or understand in her criticism or teaching method, but she will always take the time to explain something that you didn't understand. If you have some writing experience and enjoy discussing your reading in class, Jessica is a great fit.

Jan 2011

Alex is a great teacher for university writing. He focuse more on the structure of your essay and the presentation of your argument than on grammar. Thanks to him, UW was much more than a writing course, we actually had some "fun" classes too. The topics we talked about in class were really interesting, and the class size was just right for intimate discussions. In general, the class experience with Alex was one of my favorite last semester. The only possible downside for him is his somewhat harsh grading. But he gives you plenty of feedback (including a meeting with him after the first draft) and a lot of guidance when you talk to him or email him more often about your ideas and arrangement of arguments. Following his feedback can certainly get you a decent grade. He might seem moer challenging than other UW teachers but i really felt my writing really improved over the course of the semester.

Jan 2011

Sue Mendelsohn is honestly an amazing instructor! TAKE THIS CLASS! It's honestly harder than the other University Writing sections, but this is Columbia University, so get used to it. Anyways, you should be all right with proper time management. She sincerely cares about her students and offers pie! She'll respect your opinion and offer you a chance to share your thoughts. TAKE THIS CLASS! You will not regret it. You'll get more out of this class than most people (isn't that what the core is for?)

Jan 2011

This was no doubt the worst class that I have taken in my life. Initially, Claire seemed to be very nice and receptive towards various opinions and comments, but don't let this first impression deceive. The lady doesn't care what you really think and believes that only her views/ideas are correct and valid points to consider. For instance, she always says "i wonder how this interesting topic will turn out for the essay" to our proposals, but then has no trouble tearing you apart afterward when grading the papers (which is absolutely arbitrary and evil). You will not even get a respectable grade unless you write exactly what she wants to hear (thus, flattery) and by the time one figures it out, usually towards the closing stages of the semester, it's too late to be redeemable. Even after attempting to edit the work based on her "useless" comments, you will still get a lousy grade and be shell-shocked. To be honest, I don't think this course taught me anything helpful. I came in somewhat appreciative of writing, but came out hating and fearing it.

Jan 2011

I thought Rachel was a very good teacher in what is a universally reviled class. I liked UW much more than almost all of my friends who had other teachers, so I feel like she must have done something right. I found the subject matter of the progressions to be extremely interesting, even if I didn't want to write 7 page papers on them. She is dedicated, and genuinely worked hard on making you a better writer, and would respond to students' emails extremely quickly. It's impossible for a teacher to make this a truly enjoyable class, but Rachel will not make it worse, which is the most you can ask for.

Jan 2011

Sue deserves a Golden Nugget! Right now. I know she is a new professor this semester, and has only had 14 of us as students, but she deserves one all the same. The first day of class I considered switching out because she seemed so intense and assigned us so much work. If you have this sentiment, DON'T SWITCH OUT! Seriously, Sue cares more about our Uwriting class than any teacher I have ever had. Even though she was writing her dissertation and was completely overwhelmed with writing center business, she was so passionate and engaged every class period. In our last class (right before she invited us to her apartment for delicious lasagna), she started tearing up-- the perfect embodiment of her love for teaching and our class. I think I improved so much, both as a writer and a person.

Dec 2010

I completely disagree with the past reviews of Jen. They in fact were extremely detrimental to me at first, because I went in thinking that her class was going to be hell. It was far from that. She was enthusiastic, insightful, and incredibly passionate about our class, and she worked extremely hard to help each and everyone of us improve. In no way was she unfair or unnecessarily tough, and in fact, I would say she was extremely fair and just in her grading. She was great with meeting outside of class, and she was great with email correspondence and such. Yes she is a tough grader, but she wasn't unfair. She always gave good insight to help you improve on the next paper She was awesome, and she made every single class enjoyable. I had her class 6 to 730 at night twice a week, and even with such an awful time, I always looked forward to the class. She gets everyone involved, and really values what everyone says. She is tough, but really amazing. She helped me a ton, and although only a freshman, she was by far, my favorite teacher so far. TAKE HER CLASS

Dec 2010

This professor was really, really helpful throughout the term. He definitely helped me grow as a writer and as a student at this university; thanks to him, I feel much more prepared for my future classes. This is a professor that will stay after class if you have questions, respond to any e-mails you send asking for advice, be incredibly supportive and personally e-mail you if you miss a day for valid reasons, and give RELEVANT, interesting reading material for class. We do print a lot of pages and you should expect to write in margins, underline, highlight, etc., when reading essays, but that will help you in your class discussion. His feedback is *extremely* helpful on each essay, but it is very nit-picky, as it should be. Use this advice and apply it all in your final paper, and you will do well. Make sure you complete every essay in time to submit it for your draft paper so that you can get tons of advice. He doesn't just write in the margins and write notes on your paper everywhere, he also types up a whole sheet with advice on it for each draft you do. You WILL become a better writer, even if you think you're already an excellent writer. His job is to teach you what Columbia U will expect you to be able to write like, so don't walk in as if you know everything about writing, because you don't know what your new expectations will be. As an addition, you should know that you often read things about film theory, pop culture, and art, but 99% of all of the readings are things that you should probably know more about as a college student receiving a liberal arts education.

Dec 2010

Passive-aggressive. Difficult. Not a great communicator. On the bright side however, her assignments are EXTREMELY straightforward. Her essay topics are not difficult. But her grading is harsh (EX. Overall, good job, B-) and her comments seem to be superfluous (ex. Don't forget, the period goes at the end of the sentence) She is not easy to deal with unfortunately, but I'm not a great writer and I ended up with a decent grade. Then again, I worked really hard. A draft will be due on Thursday, the comments will come back on Saturday, and a final paper will be due on Tuesday.

Dec 2010

He's obviously an incredibly smart guy, but unless you give him exactly what he wants to hear, he will tear your argument to pieces. He obviously knows what he's talking about (having gotten two master's degrees and currently working on his PhD in English) and he presents a unique view into the history of writing style and interpretations, but in class, he spent more time arguing his own position than listening to what his students had to say. If he listened to his students more, he could be a really solid, fun-to-have teacher. Unless you want to simply regurgitate the format and style he presents to you at the beginning in every paper, though, try to switch to a different teacher for now.

Dec 2010

I had Jennie for her first semester of U Writing. The class got off to a good start. She was very confident and treated us with a lot of respect. Unfortunately, class became unclear when the first essay assignment came around. I think this had less to do with Jennie's teaching ability than it did with the structural nature of U Writing as a whole. Unfortunately, though, this resulted in low grades for nearly everyone in the class. With that said, she is not an easy grader. She is tough, but fair most of the time. It is very difficult, though definitely possible, to get a good grade on a paper. She let's you write the essay you want to write. However, if it's not exactly the way she wants it to be, you will be downgraded. Writing is always a challenge, and writing for her makes that challenge harder. Yet, this is a good skill to learn, I suppose, since no matter the course one always is writing for a professor/TA. On a day to day basis, class was very enjoyable. Jennie is a wonderful person and, unlike most U Writing classes I've heard about, she made an effort to keep things interesting. She takes her class very seriously. She will make you work, and work hard. If you put in the effort she demands of you, though, you will learn - potentially a lot.

Dec 2010

this woman is da bombbbbbbbbb She's the head of the writing center, she cares sooooooooooooo much about her classes, and she really cares about her kids. I def. became a much better writer thanks to her. Also, she invited us to dinner at her place, we often brought (or she brought) pie and cider to class for all of us. Insightful readings, presentations, videos, etc. This class is hard, but probably the best Uwriting class you could get for your monayz. Sue is also a rockstar at life. She's like the Dos Equis man, but in woman form. Such a boss.

Dec 2010

Amazing. End of story. He makes the class. Oh and P.S., since you're all dying to know, he gives out A's, considering of course you put in the time and effort. He is very generous. Don't worry. You are in good hands. I'd take university writing part deux if he offered it and I don't even like writing. Done. Don't waste your time contemplating further. P.P.S. This arranged marriage comment has been quoted way too extensively. It neither illustrates the class nor the professor.

Dec 2010

University Writing is potentially a useful class designed to teach you the basics of college-level essay drafting. But unfortunately, theory and reality don't exactly mesh well, do they? Classes are comprised of one of the following: Copying down notes over theoretical writing concepts on the board, "discussion" of seed texts where two or three people reluctantly say something just to avoid awkward silences, useless peer review sessions where you spend 5 minutes actually talking about the paper and the remaining 25 minutes pretending to chat with your partner so she doesn't give you more discussion questions, and reading out-loud handouts and assignment sheets as a class (really, now?). Essentially, class itself is a gross waste of time but it's not particularly stressful or anything so putting up with it for 2 hours a week is doable. Jessamine is quite nice as a person and brings in snacks every few weeks. She generally tries to be helpful but most of the time, her suggestions are not entirely applicable and the exercises she does didn't really help. I'm not sure if that's a product of her teaching style or the curriculum of UW. In general, I felt that UW just rehashed abstract theoretical writing concepts and it was ambiguous how to actually implement them in our own writing. It was almost like being told to learn a language but only being given a dictionary, which by itself, is obviously useless. What's worse is that she told us on the first day UW is a ton of work but "we'll all in it together." Comforting, no? As for grading, I feel like she may be an easier grader compared to other UW teachers out there, especially if you make lots of progress between drafts and use the Writing Center as she suggests. Basically if you put in a lot of effort and it shows [or at least it seems like you did], then she will take that into consideration, if the final product is decent. Bottom line: Jessamine is a nice person who is willing to help, but the class itself is dull and an irritating part of your day. If you want to chance to potentially have a good grade, stay in this section. [Not an easy A, but at least it's possible, considering the other UW horror stories I've heard] If you actually want to learn something from an inspiring teacher, keep looking. Essentially it's a trade-off between getting a better grade and actually learning something. Don't we all wish we went to Brown...

Dec 2010

Jang is a very nice guy who says some very funny things with no intention of bieng funny. I personally really liked him because he does fulfill what university writing is trying to show us, which is the need to edit. That said, he grades fairly harshly, given that I had to edit multiple times to get A's, but he is not harsh to the point where it's discouraging. He says some fairly random things and scrawls random books on the board which no one really understands why sometimes, but he's still a pretty good professor. His instructions are clear, and even though he talks quietly, most of us understand and hear all of his instructions. Jang is a great professor who will respond to emails promptly and is willing to give help on essays. I really enjoyed his class, partly because of the people in my class but also due to him.

Dec 2010

Jessamine Chan is good at regurgitating. She is good at presenting what the U. Writing office has given her and explaining what we are supposed to do in each progression. However, she is not a good teacher. She never really helps your essays besides grammatical errors. She can tell you what is awkward about a paper or where it does not make sense, but she cannot help you fix them. It's not because she does not want to but because she can't. I got more help from the writing center in how to edit than I did from her. As a teacher of introductory college writing course, she should be able to teach us ways of looking at our papers instead of just saying "this wrong, figure out how to fix it". Handing out worksheets on revision is not the same as actually teaching us how revise. Those sheets don't know the nuances of our papers and Jessamine doesn't recognize that.

Dec 2010

Unfortunately I would not recommend Professor Chan to anyone hoping to enjoy their University Writing experience. As a student whose favorite disciplines have long been reading and writing, I entered Professor Chan's class with an open and eager mind. For a month, I strove to participate in class, be an engaged listener, and improve on each of my assignments. As the class progressed, however, my enthusiasm and optimistic outlook rapidly dissolved. Although Professor Chan was always exceedingly prepared for class, eager to assist any student seeking help, and very thorough with her feedback on both homework and papers, most of her admirable effort was sadly wasted on the vast majority of her students who "checked out" early in the semester. This was partly due to Professor Chan's inability to engage her classroom, but also to the growing mood of resentment toward the material she was teaching (this latter reason likely plays a much larger role in the negative class dynamic than any of Professor Chan's minor faults). Several of my friends who have enjoyed University Writing have reported that their professors treat the rather frustrating material with a good deal of levity, whereas Professor Chan’s overly serious approach accentuates the inflated rhetoric and artificiality that seem to be inherent to the course. Professor Chan is a wonderfully reliable person to work with, and is very kind and friendly, but I would not want to be her student again. Future students who are assigned Professor Chan will undoubtedly finish University Writing with a firm grasp of the curriculum, but not with fond memories of the course. NOTE: This review has nothing to do with my grade in the class. Grades are very unimportant to me. That aside, I am very satisfied with her method of grading, and even feel that she grades a bit more liberally than I expected.

Nov 2010

Glenn's class was hands down the best I've taken so far in college. Every assignment was exciting and occupied my thoughts long after class was let out. He is a great discussion leader and manages to keep things light while orchestrating really substantive classroom conversations. If you want to learn how to write and think analytically, take his class - he's awesome. And funny. And his in between essay assignments are genius you begin to pick ideas apart in a really effective way without even realizing it.

Nov 2010

Oh, Alexander. Thanks for one of the most befuddling semesters of my college career. What were you looking for in your grading? Why would you say one thing in a one-on-one review session and then completely contradict yourself the next time you looked at my paper? Why was your advice to completely obtuse and confusing? Why were you a complete asshole? Landfair is a decently nice guy, and even funny in class. However, he was incredibly intense about grading and couldn't seem to make up his mind about what his expectations were. Also, he is a poetry student and it shows-his "advice" is really this nebulous cloud of how things "feel" that doesn't actually help you when it comes time to revise anything.

Nov 2010

Alicia is the best teacher I have had at Columbia to date. If you are looking for a teacher that lets you slide by without being challenged, then she isn't for you (by the way, if you are looking to slide by without being challenged, I would presume to suggest you are probably at the wrong school). If on the other hand, you really want to learn to write -- to generate original and creative ideas, to see and explore something from an entirely new perspective, to argue efficiently and potently, to write like a writer -- then I would highly recommend taking any course with her. Her class demands that you do the footwork and that you participate in the class discussions. But if you are open to a new experience and willing to do the work, then you will leave this class feeling that you have experienced an "Ivy League" quality class with an engaging and stimulating "Ivy League" teacher.

Nov 2010

Alicia is a brilliant person, but like many brilliant people she has minor issues with organization and communicating her ideas. Fortunately they never impede the pace of the class. Those are really the only faults and there are tons of positives to tip the scales in her favor. She is constantly energetic, inspirational and completely willing to work with you to improve your writing. Critiques on papers are typically effective and she has no problem meeting with you to discuss what elements of your writing need particular attention. The class discussions are open and very enjoyable and she has no problem allowing people to explore new ideas during discussions.

Nov 2010

Professor Snider is an excellent teacher! He inspires and guides his students beautifully. He cares deeply about each student, and is as supportive, understanding, sensitive, and kind as can be! Every single one of his classes is deeply enjoyable and exciting!! I recommend him to everyone! I was very lucky to have him as my professor in my first semester at Columbia University. I feel very blessed! He is a true teacher. He teaches with his heart and a deep wisdom. He shares his enthusiasm, curiosity, and love of the subject freely with his students. His youthfulness and sense of fun and irony and his very sharp wit all add to the atmosphere and make it such a pleasure to be in his class. I look so forward to each class! Professor Snider is so easy to approach and very down-to-earth. He's brilliant, but doesn't show it off at all; he's actually quite humble. I like how his classes are conversational, and how he really appreciates the students' input and participation, yet doesn't put pressure on those who don't often speak. It's easy to tell that he really cares about how we feel and what we think and our progress in the class and in life.He really looks out for his students and is always concerned with our comfort and that no one is left behind or confused. And he is philosophical, so it feels like the class is relevant in the "real world." He has a lot of integrity, a strong sense of justice and fairness, and is a righteous person without the judgmental attitude that often accompanies these traits. He really has the spirit and heart of a true teacher. He wants to share and to guide and to support, and he does it so well! The most I can say is that he is absolutely GREAT!!!

Oct 2010

This has been one of the WORST classes I've ever had to take in my life! I have not learned a single thing about writing in this class, and the material he makes us read makes you want to rip your hair out. The readings are all about gender / gay issues, which means all of your papers are also about gender / gay issues. So unless you really want to read and write about people with an identity crisis, DO NOT TAKE HIS CLASS.

Oct 2010

He is the most adorable University Writing teacher alive. Each class he wears a new plaid shirt and is just adorable. He's awkward (in a good way) and very sweet/funny. He picks interesting articles for the essays and is very reasonable. He is willing to meet with you outside of class one-on-one and is REALLY helpful when he does so. He also gives really good feedback and notes on your proposals, first drafts, and final drafts. Section 013 is the best University Writing class ever! :)

Oct 2010

I can honestly say I'm super lucky to have him as my Professor for University Writing! He is a little dorky and awkward but that's what makes him so fun. He tries his best to teach you the best strategies to writing as well as getting class involvement. What's so awesome about him is they he doesn't compensate as a teacher, meaning he doesn't assign heavy workloads to intimidate the class. He commands the attention and respect of the class simply by being a nice guy. He's super flexible when it comes to turning in proposals and drafts, a little more strict on the final drafts but even then. His comments are helpful and as long as you fulfill his suggestions you'll do well on his papers. If you get him, be thankful! I had to walk to Knox Hall on 122nd every Mon and Wed but it was well worth it.

Sep 2010

He can be erratic and moody but he can also be brilliant. Stay on his good side and I promise you will end up a better writer than you expected. Basically some of the readings were boring but his formal edits on my paper were really helpful. It could be much worse. I recommend Jared's class if you can take it in the afternoon, but I took it at 9:10 which was not fun at all.

Sep 2010

Looking back, I really learned a lot. However, during the class I was ready to strangle him and I feel like the rest of my classmates were too. He made us work hard but we still had fun. There was one day he commented on how we were really tired and someone mentioned it's because we're hungry so the next time he brought in really expensive truffles to keep us awake, which was really nice of him. He tends to get off track often and then whatever we didn't cover becomes homework which meant a TON of reading. learn to skim and then highlight/comment the most important things so you'll be able to offer your opinion in class. He is easy to get along with and always offers helpful tips in order to improve. All in all, I enjoyed the class and had many memorably laughts.

Sep 2010

Ivan Lupic is one of the best professors I have had. Obviously, University Writing can be one of the most tedious and frustrating classes you will have to take at Columbia, but Professor Lupic will make sure that you get the most out of the course. He's is very organized, but is willing to invest more time in whatever may interest the class (i.e. the topics of the papers/essays rather than the writing process etc.). He is extremely approachable and will always find time outside of class to meet with you about a paper. His comments are insightful and he grades very fairly. Some people may have been turned off by his straightforwardness. He is not afraid to say something negative about some of your writing or comment on his frustrations with someone being late to class, but his criticisms are always constructive. He genuinely wants everyone in the class to get the most out of it, despite the fact that it's almost everybody's least favorite class. Above all, Professor Lupic is just a brilliant professor. His range of knowledge is extraordinary. He speaks confidently and eloquently about anything it seems like. His knowledge of language, history, intellectualism, and literature is pretty much astounding. I'd highly recommend taking Lupic's class. I would take any class he taught regardless of the subject. I can see how people can rub elbows with him a little bit, but if you're willing to put in the effort he is an amazing professor.

Jul 2010

Anne is a wonderful instructor. She is able to make UWriting, with its many intrinsic flaws, a productive course for writers of all backgrounds and levels. She is fun, understanding, and plainly intelligent. She is also organized and committed to her work. Everyone knows that UWriting has its problems, but the value of the course depends almost entirely on the teacher. Anne makes it worthwhile. If you take advantage of her knowledge and advice, you will, without a doubt, improve as a writer and analytical thinker. Whoever wrote that she is afraid of her students obviously needs to check his or her presumption a bit and realize that not everyone teaches by intimidation or rules the classroom with an iron fist. Anne asks for and receives the respect of her students because she deserves it. She will help students improve their understanding of grammar, style, academia in general, and the content of whatever it is she has selected for study - content being something often absent in UWriting classes due to the heavy focus on the process of writing. The Core is all about instructors. If you get Anne, be glad - you are one of the lucky ones.

Jul 2010

Initially, Sara comes off as sweet, encouraging, and genuinely interested in the course; in this regard, I’ll admit that I shared previous reviewers’ feelings at the beginning of the semester. But I have to admit how surprised I am by the overwhelming positivity of these reviews, since, by the end of the semester, I was deeply disappointed with the experience Sara made of University Writing. Part of my frustration with the class had to do with how Sara structured the curriculum of our section, which she summed up well during an essay workshop: “I think the content of your essays is more important than how they’re written.” I’m sorry, Sara, but University Writing is a writing class, and the point of any other class that requires some kind of writing is to teach us how to write about specific content. Isn’t every essay you write for a history class, for example, a lesson on how to write about history? What Sara seems to miss is that the point of a writing class, or at least that of a required composition course like University Writing, is to teach us the kinds of writing skills that we can apply to other classes. While she taught us quite a bit about how to speak intelligently about and frame an argument around her areas of academic expertise, I was troubled by how often talking about this material took precedence over learning how to improve our writing; our in-class presentations and collaborative PowerPoints on Sara’s favorite subjects (i.e., a whole lot of Freud), fun as these assignments might have been for her, didn’t really help me figure out how to write an essay. The class ended up feeling like a watered-down seminar on anthropology, religion, or epidemiology that also happened to be on writing sometimes, yet writing ended up being the subject about which Sara left me the most confused. This last comment brings me to my greatest disappointment with the class: Sara seemed more perplexed about writing than most of my peers were. During one lesson on style, she taught us the long-outdated rule that one should never end a sentence with a preposition, but her definition of “preposition,” as suggested by her comments on our essays and her responses to student questions, somehow included the words “are” (a verb), “it” (a noun or pronoun), and “so” (a conjunction, pronoun, adjective, or adverb). On another occasion, we were asked by Sara to give her examples of the passive voice; when we offered a list of egregiously passive constructions (the clause before the preceding semicolon, for example), she insisted that several of them were active, apparently unable to tell the two voices apart. When we eventually convinced her otherwise, she told us with some bewilderment, “I’ve turned you into monsters! You guys pick up on everything.” Correct me if I’m wrong, Sara, but isn’t it your job to get us to pick up on these things? Of course I’m not suggesting that a writing instructor should be nothing but a grammar hound, but these seem like the sort of basic principles of English that a Ph.D. student trained to teach writing shouldn’t disregard on a regular basis. Is it too much to ask that a class leave us less baffled about writing than we had been at the beginning? Just as troubling, though, was coming to realize how much resentment seethes below Sara’s warm and cheery surface. I noticed several times that, when Sara asked a question and a student then gave an answer with which she disagreed, Sara would respond by smirking or raising her eyebrows in surprise; these gestures were demeaning, of course, but also unwarranted, especially since several of the student answers she shut down in this way were correct. On a different occasion, we had been assigned to read an article on mythical monsters, and one student mentioned in class that the assignment had given him a nightmare about being in a cave described in the article; he wasn’t trying to be ingratiating, but understandably thought that Sara would appreciate that the course material had some relevance to his life outside of class. She responded that what he had said sounded “nerdy”—not in the playful way that teachers sometimes do, but in a pretty belittling tone. It was comments like this that made many of us feel uncomfortable just speaking in class, let alone mistakenly saying something that Sara might deem, in her words, “nerd central.” Another time, when uploading an article to CourseWorks for a group project, one of my peers accidentally uploaded the wrong kind of file; instead of just telling her to upload the correct kind of file, Sara sent the student’s group this email: “As I stated very clearly in the instructions, please post a PDF of your article. As you will see if you check it yourself, this link you provide does not link to the article.” The accusation was pretty much false: her instructions requested a PDF in passing, but nothing was “stated very clearly,” and the link that the group provided even went directly to the original version of the article online. Silly as the incident might have been, it seemed like totally unprofessional behavior for anyone but a full professor, who would at least have tenure and grey hair as possible excuses to talk down to undergraduates in such a passive-aggressive way. Let me conclude on a positive note: Sara often leads engaging discussions, has way more enthusiasm than anyone should have at nine in the morning (or any time of day, for that matter), is lenient with deadlines, and has a pretty good sense of humor. Unless one or more of these things is what you want to get out of the three- to four-thousand dollars Columbia requires you to pay to learn how to write an essay, switch to a different section.

Jun 2010

She comes off as a really nice helpful instructor but don't be fooled. Beneath, that hipsterish small voiced facade is person who knows who she likes and doesn't like. By the second class, she's already chosen her favorites and will thereafter grade accordingly. She'll meet with you whenever you want, which is nice and will suggest countless changes which you will undoubtedly incorporate into your work as you revise your drafts. However by the time she grades your final draft, you'll find that all the work you did was for naught. During a meeting with her, she literally said to me "This is perfect. All you need is a conclusion and you're set." Of course being unsatisfied with that, I sought out a second opinion from someone at the writing center and she told me much of the same as well. But in the end I saw red marks all over what she had previously described as "perfect." She just didn't like me, which is fine. I just didn't like the false hope she doled out or the sneakiness and subjectivity she used to grade students. Especially since it was clear who her favorites were. The only thing I learned from her was how to write a succinct review of her on CULPA with clarity. Or at least I hope, Ha!

May 2010

The below review has some good points but overall I disagree with it because it heavily implies that the weaknesses of this course were the fault of its instructor. The the contrary, Ivan Lupic is a fantastic teacher and does his absolute best within the guidelines of the University Writing curriculum. The problem is spelled out exactly in his analogy: "This course is like an arranged marriage. You are required to take it, and I am required to teach it.". No one in the class particularly wants to be there, but we're there and we have to make do and Lupic deserves credit for making the class as free from stress and as entertaining as it can be. Ivan Lupic is indeed an incredibly intelligent man. He produces etymologies on demand (a lover of languages, he speaks several and his academic work is based in Shakespeare and renaissance literature), and he may well have some background in philosophy as he also knows and can explain very complex theories at the drop of a hat. Eventually he did become somewhat exasperated by the lack of enthusiasm from the class, but he tried his best with a class that was evidently somewhat sub-standard in their writing prowess. His feedback on drafts was detailed and helpful, and he marked final drafts very fairly (I would go so far as to call it easy!). The class was tedious only occasionally, when you are forced to listen to the drivel of your classmate's writing, but that is hardly Lupic's fault. I found Ivan was prepared to go off-topic whenever the class seemed interested in doing so, and we had some great discussions of Freud and of the insanity of European libraries! Overall, if you are lucky enough to land in Ivan Lupic's class then listen carefully, stay on schedule (his term plan is great too, you'll finish each essay long before your friends in other classes do) and know that with a little effort, a good grade is coming your way!

May 2010

Literally, Jennifer Miller is the WORST university writing teacher you could possibly get. If you end up in her section, SWITCH OUT. I worked my ass off in that class - literally, spent hours writing/editing her papers and to no avail. First of all, Jen told us at the beginning of the year that we were going to "break free from the confines of academic writing." Um, hello, this is supposed to be UNIVERSITY WRITING. We are supposed to be practicing writing FOR A UNIVERSITY - IE ACADEMIC WRITING. So instead of having clear, concise papers with THESIS STATEMENTS, we had these stream of consciousness-esque papers with THESIS QUESTIONS. I went to the writing center for my research paper and my editor asked me why I had posed a thesis question - I told her that my UW teacher had required it. She frowned and said that thesis questions are incredibly weak and that she couldn't believe there was a writing teacher out there who would emphasize thesis questions. Also, Jen told us at the end of the year that "grades didn't matter" and that, while we ALL had IMPROVED, our improvement would NOT be reflected in our grades. Honestly, if she had just told me up front that an A was unattainable, I would not have killed myself all year. I ended up barely making an A- but for the amount of work I put in, it was not worth it at all. This class is frustrating, annoying, and above all, worthless. I felt my writing weaken throughout the semester. None of my other professors would accept a paper written in the style Miller advocated so I have literally forced myself to forget everything I was "taught" in that class. One of the worst things about the class is how misleading Jen's comments were. She would write at the end of every draft, "This is so close to being a terrific paper and your argument is so sophisticated... Great job! Can't wait for the next draft!" And then she would completely slam you on your final paper, even though you adopted her changes AND tried to make the paper the best it could possibly be. Honestly, I couldn't take another second of that class. It's incredibly incredibly frustrating - and just fyi, Miller will call you out on your poor writing in class, so just be prepared. She will literally read one of your sentences aloud and tell you in front of everyone how bad it was. In short, do NOT take this class. It is the worst decision you could possibly make.

May 2010

Sara was a great UW professor. I truly believe that she helped me grow as a writer. I'm sure everyone in highschool had english teachers that just gave them A's on their papers without constructive criticisms. Sara is both honest in her assessment and gives great advice on how to improve your writing. A word of advice: go to office hours and participate in class. Sara has the ability to boost the final grade by half of a letter grade, so you want to give her a reason to help you out. By showing enthusiasm for the class where most people don't (a writing class, and my was a 9 am) you both make the time go faster and earn Sara's appreciation and respect. Another thing: you turn in a draft and a final paper. I'd recommend trying hard on your drafts for two reasons. The first is that everyone reading a crappy draft knows that it is crappy and that you put no effort in, which counts against your grade booster at the end. The second is that you cut out the stupid work for yourself like writing the paper and can just edit it and refine it. YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE WRITING YOUR PAPER RIGHT BEFORE IT IS DUE! I found that I scored higher when I turned in a final paper with a few major changes like adding a paragraph or switching some sentences around than when I didn't take the advice I was given.

May 2010

i can understand the previous review. she's not stupid and she seems like a good teacher at first. but i didn't really get anything out of the class. she just repeats over and over again that you have to have 'stakes' in your essays. that's her advice for every essay. i still don't know what stakes are. she thinks this is really thought-provoking advice, but it's incredibly frustrating. i have no idea what she considers 'stakes'. as she explains it, 'stakes' is what makes the reader want to read an essay. but, honestly, i wrote an essay with CLEAR stakes (i.e. a reader would definitely be interested) and another WITHOUT ANY STAKES (i.e. i wrote it in about two hours on a topic i didn't give a shit about) and i got a better grade on the second one. she never elaborates on what she wants, she just repeats that your essay needs some 'oomph' behind it, yeah? i'm speaking in seema-isms now. they get so fucking frustrating. SIMPLIFIED REVIEW: she's really into herself and a really hard grader. she really only values her own opinions. in two semesters at columbia, i've had only A-range grades. except for uwriting. i worked hard in it, but seema's a bitch who doesn't value anyone's work but her own, so she gave me a B. avoid.

May 2010

"Did you bring your drafts?" There is some awkward laughter; Five people are late Oh, University Writing, You are not a tasty class. Partly because I had you at 9:10, but also partly because I had gotten up too late for breakfast because I was up the night before writing drafts for you. Ivan started the semester with these words: "This course is like an arranged marriage. You are required to take it, and I am required to teach it." And indeed, that's how the next few months played out. Slightly interesting, but mostly unpleasant and mostly unnecessary. I'm not sure whether I should blame Ivan or the UW curriculum for my experience, which fluctuated from sub-par to intriguing. Perhaps a combination of both. I liked Ivan's style from the first class. He was direct, slightly aloof, and obviously brimming with knowledge. He gave us an accelerated syllabus that would let us spent a large chunk of time on our research essays (which turned out to be a very wise move). He casually explained etymologies and theories in class and in meetings with him during office hours, which made me feel as though I had a good resource for the rest of the semester. However, I think as time went on, he was exasperated by the lack of enthusiasm from my class, and ended up resigning himself to it as well. Certain points of the class seemed like a waste of time, such as the presentations we did for the research essays (we took a "seed text," brainstormed things that it made us think of, and then split up into four groups that presented on one of four chosen topics--essentially, we took one week to do what one person does in a single one hour brain-storming session). Later comments on papers that were meant to be unadorned and helpful were misconstrued as biting or even belligerent, and there was a definite tension in the air during class that Ivan sometimes commented on, which was, predictably, awkward. Overall, as a person who is not the best writer, but certainly not the worst writer either, this class was tedious, with a writing exercise or draft due each session, with new drafts due approximately every two and a half weeks. We stuck mainly with assigned readings, and Ivan rarely ventured off-topic, which was disappointing. He did give a comprehensive experience, though, and perhaps a later timed class would treat him better.

May 2010

Take Deborah for UW! So frequent were the complaints I'd hear from other students about UW classes, and, fortunately, I never understood them. While nothing covered in the course was particularly mind-blowing or life-changing, Deborah made an otherwise tedious and forced curriculum enjoyable. Deborah creates an informal yet informative and engaging classroom setting; we often joked around with her, and she with us. Deborah is exceedingly understanding and lenient; as she herself once put it, "life happens". She recognized that most of us weren't that crazy about being forced to take the course, and crafted her expectations accordingly. She was also highly open to suggestions, and frequently asked us where we wanted to go with the course and what activities we wanted her to emphasize. Overall, if you're looking for a relaxed and informal learning atmosphere that is neither mind-numbingly boring nor heart-stoppingly stressful, take Deborah! She'll make the UW experience as painless as possible while still encouraging the learning process.

May 2010

His university writing class is good, and he's a good teacher, but when it comes to grading, he's a real hard-ass in comparison to the others. In terms of how well he teaches you to write, he's pretty good, but to be honest, he overcompensates. It's as if he purposely adds material just for the sake of adding material. For instance, he often has the class do peer revisions. We switch papers, read them, comment--the standard dig. But JC will give us sheets specifically detailing how to do peer revisions, like, circle these type of sentences, underline these particular words, draw a pink pony near the thesis statement. Just kidding about that last one, but the point still stands. Who seriously needs to learn how to do peer edits? Near the end of the term, JC seemed increasingly annoyed with our class. Perhaps it was our lack of interest and participation. Perhaps we were a particularly weak bunch. His annoyance was apparent, though. If you're looking for a funny, nice guy then JC's your man. But as for a UW class, I'd generally recommend to shy away.

May 2010

Adam is a great guy and awesome UW instructor. He's really laid back, while also being extremely passionate about art, music, literature, and of course, writing. In UWriting, you can pretty much write about anything you want - as long as you can relate it in some way to the seed text. Because Adam seems to know a little bit about everything - and a LOT about some things (i.e. Native American art and literature) - he serves as an excellent resource throughout the writing process. When he thinks your topic is too narrow, or too broad, he suggests books, movies, and articles that really help guide your research. Moreover, throughout the revision process, Adam goes out of his way to structure his criticisms in a very positive light. When workshopping in class, it's often hard provide constructive criticism to your peers, especially when you know someone's paper needs a LOT of editing. Yet during conferences with Adam, he focuses on not only what needs to be fixed, but also on what he likes. He gives really specific instructions with how to improve your paper, from nitty gritty citations to broader argumentative techniques. Even those who don't think they need much writing help can still learn a few useful things from the course. Some classes do drag on a bit, but that's less his fault than the it is the fault of the course itself. If you have any control over who's your UW instructor, I would definitely recommend Adam. He's chill, he's smart, and he'll totally make you a better writer.

May 2010

Glenn is a professor who takes teaching seriously and his students seriously, in the best possible way. Though I am reiterating parts of earlier reviews of him, it is important to stress: he cares a lot about his students, in a non-bs way. Take advantage of his class to learn as much about writing as possible- he has had a successful career as a writer himself. His class had an impact on my writing ability in a way I could not have imagined after hearing such negative overall reviews of UW as a class. Be grateful if you have him as a professor.

May 2010

Sara is a great professor. Although I found U.Writing to be an absolute waste of time, Sara really tried to make it worth something. She encouraged group participation and tried to engage us in meaningful dialogue about our readings and writing assignments. Even though I had her at 9am, she made me want to be alert and focused because she asked questions that mattered and tried to connect the course work to real life. Sometimes, though, I felt like she was thought she was teaching a high school course. Her handouts contain a lot of DUH! information that most people learn in middle school. Also, sometimes her feedback is very broad and vague, but that may be a ploy to encourage students to go to office hours.

Apr 2010

Of all the unfathomable things professor Crow cares about, University Writing is not one. We had the absolute bare minimum of work this term, and there was unsettlingly little one could do to rouse the professor's attention. If you are not particularly concerned with your professor regarding you and your work with less care than could fill a thimble, this is the class for you: the only homeworks apart from the lens, conversation, research and retrospective essays were wholly optional. One spanner in the works was that the retrospective essay counted for 10% of our grade, a rule that many other U-Writing professors cast aside like a solar-powered flashlight. The readings were generally interesting, though for the most part chosen undemocratically by professor Crow. Frankly her choices for our conversation essay - three vehemently anti-copyright articles that we were somehow meant to put in argument with each other - were quite daft, although made easier if you played devil's advocate to them. On the whole, probably the least amount of work you will have to do in any section of U-Writing. Just don't expect to fall in love with it.

Apr 2010

The first review makes this one redundant and probably less comprehensive. Rachel's awesome. She chose great readings that stimulated lively discussion in class. The discussions were especially useful in helping me come up with ideas for my essays. At times, her assignments seemed long, but most, if not all, of them were useful in helping me develop orimprove my essays. She's incredibly helpful and if you need to meet with her, she will always be willing to make the time. Overall she grades very fairly and your grade can be raised (or lowered) for each essay unit by a + (or -) based on assignments and class participation. Even though I am skeptical about the usefulness of this course, the essays I wrote in this class were probably some of the best essays I have ever written. Evidently, the environment she created played a major role in helping me write some of my best essays. If you have Rachel for University Writing, you're in good hands. For those concerned about their grades: unlike a lot of UW teachers, you CAN get an A in Rachel's class.

Apr 2010

Jared was a decent enough University Writing teacher and human being. The class was a 9.10 a.m. class, and so it always felt a little dead in the room, despite his best efforts to liven us up. He brought us coffee once in an effort to wake us up. If you know how to write, he generally leaves you alone. Just get the work done on time. He grew fed up with the University Writing curriculum and made some small adjustments, mostly to the last paper (which he promised an "A" for an hour's worth of work). Jared did have an affinity for picking topics I felt were dry, but you suffer in a group setting, so at least other people share your misery.

Apr 2010

Ben is an extremely smart and interesting guy, but he often asks too much of his students and the course he teaches bears absolutely no resemblance to any other section of U. Writing. Ben's version of the class is entirely focused on analytical writing about Philosophy. The papers will be written in response to extremely difficult texts by the likes of Nietzsche and Lukacs. His class is intellectually stimulating and forces you to think very hard about various thorny abstract concepts. It is certainly good preparation for Contemporary Civilization. However, its relevance to non-philosophical writing is questionable and the class may not improve your writing abilities in general. This section is definately not for most people, but if you are a very able writer and really love philosophy, give it a shot.

Apr 2010

Nell is a lovely professor. She is really sweet, and approaches the class with good humour and a fairly relaxed attitude. It is a fairly standard UW class, but she does pick good readings and choose stimulating pieces of journalism to facilitate discussion. She is always open to what the class has to say about texts and manages peer marking well. If you want help from her, she is definitely available and will work her schedule around you. She makes this class as painless as possible, and is a fair marker. In conclusion, this is quite a good class for UW, and if you can take it with Nell, you should.

Mar 2010

University Writing is a requirement for every incoming student, so hardly anyone chooses it freely and everyone is new to Columbia. One would think the professor takes that into consideration. I didn't think Prof. Gage did. Her expectations are very high, which will only become apparent once you start receiving actual grades. The bi-weekly assignments always receive enthusiastic comments from her, so you will think she really likes your work. So you will be surprised when your grade doesn't quite reflect that. She is a stickler when it comes to grading. Although she has a meticulous system breaking down each grade, which makes it seem transparent and fair, it somehow doesn't work out that way. The class itself was often stimulating, but much of the credit for that has to go to my classmates.

Feb 2010

Emily is an absolutely wonderful professor. You can feel that she really cares about her students and wants them to do well/become better writers. She spends individual time with each student after reading their rough drafts (about a 30 minute meeting). She is very helpful and kind -- and though she often may challenge you or make you work harder, it's for your own good. She is never mean or condescending with her criticism either. She just realizes that everyone can improve their writing and really wants her students to push themselves. Emily became a friend to our class during the semester. Class was very fun, generally, and I always felt that I could call her or e-mail her or even meet up with her if my paper needed more work. That said, it's a standard UW class and the workload can be frustrating. It is hard to be motivated to do so many ungraded homework assignments....but they actually help the process of writing your paper. Emily is also understanding about deadlines and will work with the class to find something that works for everyone. I loved her class! Be very, very happy if you get her. Your writing will improve and your hard work will pay off (that is, if you put it in)!

Feb 2010

Every single person I know hated University Writing. Except for me; I loved it. The reason? I had Rachel Riederer. Rachel does an outstanding job of letting the class take its own desired direction; she picked interesting material and then let us talk about whatever we wanted. There's almost no BS in this class; Rachel won't try to push you to sound "academic"; she'll push you to be clear and precise. By the end of this class, I can guarantee your writing will be better. I can honestly say that I looked forward to coming to class. Every day we had a truly engaging discussion - not just on effective writing techniques - but on real-world interesting topics. Rachel is the only UW teacher I've ever heard of who lets students do this. Her grading is also unbelievably fair - she adjusts the grade of every essay up by 1/3 of a letter grade assuming you did the very easy daily work, and then she'll do the same thing with your final grade. You also get numerous drafts per essay, so you have plenty of opportunity to get the essay to be the way both you and she want it to be. Safe yourself an unbelievable amount of suffering - take UW with Rachel.

Jan 2010

I'm surprised no one has written a review yet. In my opinion, Mr. Martin is an excellent teacher. Not only is he very clear about what he expects in all three papers, his comments and criticisms are extremely relevant and helpful. As long as you continually improve on each of your successive drafts (two for every paper) there's no reason you shouldn't do well. He's also unimaginably understanding about deadlines. Forgot to print out your assignment or paper? No problem, put it in his mailbox or give it to him during the next class. Down with flu for two weeks? He'll extend the deadline for your paper. Show that you're putting effort into the class and it shouldn't be a problem. Don't do your chemistry homework in class or he'll call you out (and not in an unreasonable manner, either). Another good point is that he's very responsive to student feedback. At the end of every writing exercise/activity, he would ask how we felt about it. He then reused the good ones for subsequent papers and chucked the bad ones. Good teacher, incisive comments on papers, nice and reasonable about papers and deadlines, continuously improving the class based on feedback. What more could you ask for in a UW teacher? Also, none of that reflection stuff at the end of the semester. One less paper to write, and you get more time to work on your research essay. Disclaimer: I'm an engineer and I did well. Should be a breeze for CC students.

Jan 2010

I don’t doubt that Ms. Chan is a qualified writer, but she leaves much to be desired as a teacher. Her classes were boring and unanimated, and she struggled to keep the class involved. A lot of the students were interested in writing, but her teaching style was so frustrating as to discourage participation. I felt like she was quick to shoot down ideas for papers, but never did she help anyone develop a new idea. Her grading was tough but fair. Most people got B’s on final drafts. Getting an A is very difficult, but possible. I don’t particularly recommend her if you want to get anything out of University Writing. Also what kind of English teacher asks “I was wondering where you are at in your papers”?

Jan 2010

Of my entire writing career as a student, Sara Lieber was the first teacher who made me enjoy writing essays. At first, I did not expect much from University Writing; like many people, I thought it would be a typical writing class. It wasn’t until Sara’s feedback on my first essay that I realized how interesting writing could be. Sara really cares about the process of writing. She always gives a lot of feedback on your drafts. The individual meetings I had with her to talk about each essay were always helpful for revision. Not only did she give me good advice, but she showed true interest in improving our writing and making sure that we understood and cared about our errors. Never did she shoot down my ideas; instead she would help me find a way to make them work. Class time was always fun and never a drag. It was a true seminar in that she would take into account what the students had to say. She is very approachable as a person and also has a good sense of humor. I liked that I could count on her to answer any questions I had about my essays or writing in general. Sara would sometimes have great anecdotes to tell, whether about her career as a writer, an author we were reading or simply something funny. She has an incredible amount of knowledge too that always made class time more enjoyable. University Writing has been without a doubt my favorite class at Columbia so far.

Jan 2010

On the first day of class Jen scared me a little, all gleaming smile and eager eyes, but after a few days I realized she was like that because she actually cared about us. She offered fasinating essays for us to read, and in the course of discussion drew out deeper, more complex ideas about the text from each of us. Through individual conferences, quick email responses, and regular check-ins about the effectiveness and interest level of the homework she made sure we were involved. All the same, Jen's class was hardly easy. With a background in both journalism and fiction, she has a critical eye that can be frustrating, but that forced me to consider larger, more complex issues, and the editorial, conversational approach to essay-writing produced more refined, nuanced pieces. Her class helped me think far more clearly and analytically, but moreover, it was fun. We held debates with students taking on the personas and opinions of various writers we'd been reading, and loud defenses of essays in order to determine which one would be our next focus. I honestly looked forward to this class every week. Jen is sharp, witty, kind, helpful, and very funny. Ask her to play the banjo for you!

Jan 2010

If you have the opportunity to take this class with Alicia grab it! Alicia is extremely attentive and energetic and always creates a comfortable learning environment. My writing improved tremendously and I can say confidently that I am ready to write any and all types of papers for Columbia. I looked forward to every class, the readings were interesting and I always felt I could reach out either by office hours or email if I was stuck or had a problem with a paper. Excellent class...I was shocked to find out that Alicia was a TA, she is as capable and educated as any professor on campus. Two big thumbs up!

Jan 2010

University Writing is a terrible ordeal, but this really isn't Diane Cook's fault. Prepare to spend more time on UW than you will spend on any other class, perhaps as much as several classes combined. Diane doesn't exactly go light on the workload, either. Homework, taking several hours to complete, was due every class. If a draft of one of the major essays was due that week, I easily spent upwards of ten hours on UW. The beginning of each progression, a process of reading and discussing several essays, was really quite fun. The end of each progression however, drafting and revising long essays, was like pulling teeth for me. Again, this isn't really Diane's fault. Other than lightening the workload a little, there's not much she could have done to make the class better. As for her as an instructor, she seemed to really care about improving my writing (what more can you ask from a UW instructor?). She makes a lot of effort to meet with all of her students to discuss their essays in-depth, and her comments and instruction were almost always helpful in improving my essays. Diane has a quirky sense of humor which made class discussions fun. She's not the most lenient grader, but I never found her unfairly harsh. Ultimately, if you put in a lot (and I mean a lot) of effort and you maintain a good attitude about the class, you can get something out of it.

Jan 2010

Ms. Woon is a very nice, intelligent, and understanding person. She is a graduate student herself, so she knows what its like to be a student in Columbia and tries to make the work easier for everyone. She is very helpful and is ready to answer all your questions and to sit down with you during office hours to help with your paper. It does not mean that you can get away with writing whatever in your papers and expect to get an A. You can do well if you spend enough time on your papers constructing a believable argument and defend it. You can always ask help if you need it. The grammar is not that important for her (although you do need to spell check!), what matters is how and what you argue about in your paper. I did take some college writing classes before, but I am not a native speaker, so my English is not perfect, but I ended up with an A+. So, I think you can do well in this class. The lectures (or I should probably say discussions) were interesting and thought provoking. I loved reading and discussing other students' essays, because many would come up with pretty brilliant ideas! You won't regret if you take her class.

Jan 2010

Sherally is a great professor. I felt privileged have her. The readings were engaging and interesting, her grading system holistic and fair. She facilitated great discussions. Although she was relaxed and casual she had an impressive grasp of intellectual texts and theory. She was able to cite a sources on a broad range of topics with authority. Her essay topics were interesting and her process of paper writing was conducive to achieving a favorable product. Plus she is really cool. Everyone in the class liked her and she was very intellectual but in a relatable approachable way. Highly recommended, especially given what I have heard about some of the other instructors.

Jan 2010

Efe, efe, efe. what can i say about him that would do his class justice? 'total love-hate relationship', 'Sin wave', 'I love him, he's so cool', 'He's driving me crazy, I hate him', 'I totally get what he meant', 'WTF was he saying?' These are not diverging opinions, friends, these are things you will find yourself saying, yes ALL of you and yes ALL of these things, throughout the course of the semester. 'It is a contradiction, yes, but one you must inhabit'. You'll get it soon enough. There will be days you'll walk into his class wanting to be his best friend only to walk out frustrated and with oodles of confusing homework. Then there will be days you'll walk in miserable, dreading falling prey to his characteristic sarcastic left-brow-raise only to have the best time. He'll do whatever he feels it takes to make the class lively which is an unfortunately broad spectrum of things: you'll either luck out and he'll buy 80 dollars worth of truffles for the class orrr.... he'll ask you to re-read a text and draw out the characters and events on a field map. He was genuinely surprised at our lack of enthusiasm on that task. He's great for support. He'll always answer your emails and questions and agree to meet you outside of class, is constructive with criticism [even if you don't quite get what it means] and won't make fun of you for saying something stupid unless he feels like you're mocking him. Definitely a memorable class, he's pretty cool, but drove me and pretty much all of my classmates crazy sometimes.

Dec 2009

Emily is a very helpful and talented UW instructor. She is great at teaching, workshopping, and in general critiquing your writing. Her pointers are very effective, right to the point. She is also very understanding; she relaxed our deadlines as the semester progressed, knowing that both we and herself have lots to do. All in all, a very caring instructor who knows what she's teaching (for example, for each new essay she has us meet her in her office to discuss our topics, and her comments on our drafts are always very detailed and helpful). About the course: it's a standard UW course. Emily sticks pretty close to her notes. Assignments pretty much every class, ranging from writing a few sentences, to a distillation (summary), to a rough draft. A very intense class and workload (worth 2 of my easy classes). Class isn't terribly exciting and it can feel very long. 4 essay assignments (called "progressions" by the department), with around 3 drafts (including the final one). First 2 are 1,500-2,000 words, third 2,500-3,000, last only 1,000-1,500 words. The workshops might help a lot, depending on the person, but I found Emily's notes on your writing and the private discussions with her really important. Oh before I forget: a substantial amount of reading too.

Dec 2009

Katja was an amazing UW teacher! Her assignments were always clear, not too lengthy, and her feedback in class was always really helpful. She was very nice to me after class when I had questions about topics and for the mandatory meeting with her on the first essay. She was never rude in class, and even when people would be flaky or late she would just not make too much beans about it. She was also very understanding. When I was sick and couldn't get in my full first draft in on time, she excused me because I gave her notice and wished that I'd feel better. The only downfall on her part is that she won't get too close to her students. Whenever my classmates would interrupt with a joke she would, within seconds bring it back to the task at hand. It made class efficient, but not as easygoing as it could have been. Overall, she was an incredibly effective teacher and a pleasant woman. I gave her a big hug when on the last day of class. She even brought us cookies!

Dec 2009

Sherally is one of the best professors I've ever been privileged enough to have. She's incredibly open-minded, relaxed, and a very down-to-earth person. The paper requirements were flexible based on the amount of experience each student had, and was very understanding about other circumstances. That being said, she expects a certain level of professionalism and preparedness for class, which are rewarded with fabulous discussions when class time comes. She has a young, vibrant personality that shines through during class and on her insightful comments on all work handed in to her. She does take a regrettable amount of time in returning work to the class, but it's well worth the wait.

Dec 2009

I LOVE Eric. He is the most amazing writing professor you could ever encounter as a freshman. I was lucky enough to be in his section, and despite all of the hatred that this class gets, I enjoyed it. Eric sincerely cares about his students and spends much of his time meeting with students, workshopping, and providing extremely detailed and useful feedback. He would post an audio feedback file for each student upon returning papers, which was insightful. We spent a great deal of time brainstorming and working with sources in class, and this was always helpful. He is not an easy grader by any means, but the class is fair. I HIGHLY recommend this class and anything he may teach in the future.

Dec 2009

If you draw Glenn for UW, consider yourself lucky. He's a sweet man who's always smiling and he can help you become a better writer as well. He's really available for conferences and if you arrange it he'll meet with you outside of office hours if you have a problem. He tries to be in-depth with feedback, and I always felt like there was plenty of time to get things done and plenty of support as I went through the process. The readings he chose weren't everyone's cup of tea but I personally felt challenged He always makes you feel welcome and he loves having you around. Even if you're not an English person, you'll enjoy his class.

Dec 2009

Dr. LeMay is a spectacularly good teacher who puts an incredible amount of effort into this class. Unfailingly fair grading, flexibility, and engaging lessons made LeMay's UW section not only enjoyable, but the best class of my first semester at Columbia. Students deride UW, but LeMay is dedicated to improving this class, transforming it into a stepping stone for future academic work. Although many of the assignments may at first seem irrelevant to working in the academy, virtually everything LeMay does is constructed to prepare his students for scholarly writing. Yet, he also helps in other writing disciplines. Make sure you spend time to get to know LeMay, as he's a wealth of knowledge on everything from literary theory to cheese. Gold star for LeMay!

Dec 2009

Amazing professor. She is extremely helpful, truly cares about all of her students, and is very approachable. She doesn't teach you to be a formulaic writer; she teaches you to be a good writer. Her office hours help a lot, and she is able to help with developing a good thesis. There were many in-class group/partner discussions and revising sessions so it helps to have enthusiastic peers (which I did, my classmates were all very involved and had a lot to contribute). Regarding grading, although she is not easy, she is definitely very fair. If you put in enough time and effort, you will do very well.

Dec 2009

A really outstanding teacher -- Olivia is a graduate student, which gives her greater insight into what her students will enjoy or respond to, but in terms of confidence in front of a classroom, she seems extremely comfortable. She leads classroom discussion well, but more than that, she is an excellent editor and cuts right to the essential weaknesses of your writing. While she expects a lot, especially as the semester progresses, she is always extremely helpful in going over papers. Olivia addressed issues in my writing that no other previous English teacher had, AP or otherwise. In terms of the workload, the papers can get a bit overwhelming, but it's more a function of the class than the teacher. Overall, a little tough as a grader, but very fair. If you get Olivia, be thankful.

Dec 2009

Ms. Cersonsky is phenomenal. She has so many positive qualities and valuable teaching methods and is really quite enjoyable to be around. Ms. Cersonsky is very articulate and very intelligent and always made considerate and legitimately interesting comments. Her explanations were clear and straightforward and she introduced the material such that it became intriguing and fun to engage. In the classroom she made sure every student was comfortable and had the opportunity to participate. Regardless of if a student's answer was off-base or incorrect, she always found the "yes" or a correct aspect of what was said, such that everyone felt encouraged and heard. Her presentation of the material was interesting and engaging and our discussions were always both fun and open minded. She certainly did not impose her own read on the class and allowed for all opinions to be heard. Ms. Cersonsky made herself readily available to help us, not only through flexible office hours but also through quick responses to e-mail and meeting at other times. Her comments on my work were extensive and very helpful and she quickly identified what I also knew as the areas of my writing I needed to improve. She balanced every critique of my work with a compliment and she really pushed me to expand my limits and "go for the gold" in terms of complex writing. She is also funny, extremely well read and nice. In filling out the 1-5 check box for the class evaluation, I was sorely disappointed to see no box for #8- "very very very very excellent."

Dec 2009

***In the interest of presenting an un-biased review, this review was written before the final grade was received*** Quick-Statement: You're at Columbia now, so there is no way to avoid University Writing. This Core Curriculum class is taught almost entirely by TA's, some good, some bad. That said, one could do far worse than take this class with Seema Vora. The GOOD: Columbia, unlike many other institutions, does not slavishly hold to the "Intro-Point 1-Point 2-Point 3-Conclusion" or "Three Prong Thesis Paper." University Writing strives to teach you the mechanics of how to write genuine journal-worthy material, although the consensus is that it does not have the proper staff with which to do so. Seema is NOT a teacher by trade; she is a writer. That said, she has a good understanding of what exactly it is that she is teaching - and she is more than accessible to students who are struggling with the concepts. Peer-teaching is a huge component of her class. Almost all course work is done in small groups, often randomly assigned. This is good, though, as you will get unbiased reviews of your work by people who are not necessarily your friends (although you will likely end up their friend by term's end). Seema presents a general idea, and then the class breaks into smaller groups to hammer it out, reconvening periodically to make sure nobody has strayed too far off course. Her grading policy is fair, although numerous students have complained that grading was not commensurate with effort. This is probably true; but effort alone will not/should not get you an "A." Implementation of skills and mastery of concepts, on the other hand, are much more likely to do so. My advice would be to leave your High School methods of B.S.-ing papers at the door, and actually delve into what is that she is teaching. Remember, she's an MFA fiction writer...her B.S. radar is more refined than the Nautilus. Attendance and participation is a component of the grade, although not as high as one might expect. That being said, it was rare to find multiple absences amongst my class. She is engaging and funny (and, though it doesn't matter, extremely attractive), and class was always made engaging and interesting. The BAD: Seema's flaws were not necessarily her own, and she managed to rectify them. Early in the class, we were given nightly writing assignments which we were told would affect our grade per-unit. We were also told that she would read them. She did neither. That's fine - to do so would be to commit at least two hours of reading/assessment per night, and no grad student has that kind of time. As such, she simply stopped giving assignments altogether after Unit 1, and the only real assignments were draft-related. She also struggled a bit providing clear, concise definitions to course terms. For instance, the question "What exactly is a close read?" would result in a lengthy, circular explanation. The beauty, of course, is that she KNEW she was struggling, and often asked class members, "Does this make sense to you?" IF you had the courage to say "No, Seema. It's F'ing Greek," she would explain it again...and the second explanation was usually a winner. Affirmations/Refutations: None...she has yet to be reviewed! Final Words: You've got to take this class, and you probably won't have too much say in which section you will end up taking. Seema is a great instructor, although she will only be here for one more semester (Spring '10). If you have the good fortune of taking this course with her, do your work, read, and participate. Not because you'll get points for it -- but because by doing so you will truly make the most out of your teacher's AND, equally importantly, your peer's contributions.

Dec 2009

I started the class knowing that I would hate university writing. After taking JC's class, I still can't say I really enjoy it. But I know for sure I could not have gotten a better teacher for the class. Firstly, his class was engaging. Interesting discussions were cultivated in class, assignments revolved around thought-provoking topics, and he himself filled the awkward silences with witty but insightful comments and explanations. Class was efficient, yet casual and open at the same time. Furthermore, he was a very cool guy. Quite reasonable with deadlines; not because he doesn't care about them, but because he cares more about your work. He understands perfectly that students have work in other classes, or that students get sick sometimes. Most importantly, his class genuinely benefited us. He tried to cater to our needs as a group and as an individual. His feedback was always extremely relevant and helpful. He was approachable, and set up appointments where you can go and talk to him about your essay or the class in general. It was clear that he cared about our work, and that he knew how to help us. I actually feel like my writing improved thanks to his class, and I have a better understanding of finding sources and I am better able to organize my thoughts on paper. I was under the impression that having grad students for teachers would take away from the class, but JC definitely knows his stuff and shows it. I know everyone else complains about their uwriting classes, and I understand why, but this one is golden.

Nov 2009

Emily is awesome! I’m not even done with the course, and I have already seen my writing skills dramatically evolve. Coming from a science magnet high school, I was used to writing your standard five paragraph “I’m going to tell you X, Y, and Z...I just told you X, Y, and Z” essay. But here our essays are so much more dynamic. I remember this initially caused some problems for me because the first draft of my first essay needed some help in its organization. After working at it for a while with Emily’s help, I was able to pull-off a pretty impressive finished product. And this product only became better by the time I finished my second essay. Even after this essay, though, I still learned a lot about how to most effectively cite different sources. This is because Emily will always have some incisive comments to improve any essay, which makes it sad that I will only have her guidance on one more major essay. Yet in spite of the short duration of the class, I feel that I experienced a lot of growth as a writer and a fresh perspective on why I’m making the points I make when I make them. Because I’ve really enjoyed the class, I’ve found that it doesn’t even feel like work most of the time. Maybe it’s because I’m a science major, but I actually have come to find essays refreshing. And because I get to write about virtually any topic I want in UW, I genuinely love writing essays for this class. Sometimes I even see some parallels between Emily and I because she was a premed in college until she was inspired to pursue writing. Who knows where I’ll ultimately end up? Anyway, although not every worksheet for the class is thrilling, writing the essays is something to look forward to because you get to explore your thoughts and make connections between different sources. If you fully invest yourself in it, it won’t even feel like work. On that note, Emily never assigns pointless assignments. In general, we have the standard 3-essay routine, but we don’t waste our time on things that won’t help us develop our essays. Most of our class exercises are really great because we often work in groups and therefore receive perspectives on our essays from both her and our classmates. Which reminds me: Emily responds amazingly to feedback. After our first essay, she asked us to contribute feedback, and I expressed that I would like to know more about what all my classmates are writing about rather than the few I worked in depth with on the group assignments. Well, the very next week, we were going around and commenting on different aspects of seven other people’s ideas. It definitely gave our writing more of a purpose because so many other people were also invested and interested in what we were discussing. In fact, the whole atmosphere of the class is very lighthearted even though we somehow manage to get A LOT done in only an hour and fifteen minutes. Because Emily is still a graduate student maybe four years older than us, she can relate to us well and make everyone feel very comfortable while talking and participating in class discussions. Maybe I’ve grown a little too comfortable actually because lately the two kids who sit near me and I have become “troublemakers” who Emily has often found the need to separate when it comes to group work. It’s all in good fun though because we make fun of her ridiculous schedules (“Read the essay in 4 minutes, then comment on it in 6.2 minutes, then repeat that 10 times and we should be done 6 minute before class ends for a brief discussion”) just as much as she mocks our tendency to engage in long debates and tangential discussions. Anyway, I think I captured the overall nature of our incredible class. I basically decided to write this at the spur of the moment while talking before class today, so sorry if you find this review unorganized and hard to understand (it’s definitely one of the worst showcases of my writing abilities). My overall point is a simple one: if you have Emily for UWriting, be ecstatic! If not, change sections so that you can join the celebration. For those of you who read this in future years, Emily is excited to eventually teach Lit Hum, and I’m really jealous of whoever ends up with her. She loves all kinds of literature, especially Virginia Woolf, so I’m pretty sure that I’m going to have to sit in on her analysis of To the Lighthouse as an upperclassman.

Nov 2009

Honestly, thinking about Justin makes me want to cry, because he is just THAT amazing. This is not in the least bit an overstatement. I'm being completely honest in that I will die of happiness if I ever can get him for any class again. The day he stops teaching will be the day the world ends. I had him last semester for UW, and man... it was a highlight of my freshman year. you come to columbia thinking, psch how good can these professors be anyway? go to one of Justin's classes and you'll find yourself grinning like a maniac throughout the whole thing, because it just can't possibly get any better than this. true me on this. this is coming from someone who isn't that easy to impress. if I didn't have an exam tomorrow, I can rant about this guy here all night. didnt want to review before this point, because he's just too amazing that i knew I wouldn't be able to stop once i started. i'm not done ranting about justin, so look out for another review soon. he's just awesome

Nov 2009

Justin Snider, is by far the best professor/teacher I have ever had. He genuinely cares about you as a person and a writer. His classes are discussion based, but enjoyable whether you participate or not. He will work with you on your drafts until your paper is an A. If you get him, you are incredibly lucky.

Oct 2009

Rachel is a horrible teacher. An EIGHTH YEAR (how can one take this long?) MFA candidate in creative writing, she thinks she knows everything about writing, using vague terms like "turns of phrase," "writer-based prose," and "gaze" to no end other than to assert her superiority over her students. While the University Writing curriculum requires that students write a "lens essay," a "conversation essay," a "research essay," and a "reflective essay," Rachel never could explain well what "lens" or "conversation" meant, and she maintained that a research ESSAY was inherently different from a research PAPER, in that it had to be creative. Basically, she made her students begin their research papers with flowery paragraphs depicting a scene vaguely related to their topics, diminishing the tone and consistency of their work all the while. Another thing about Rachel: she is exceedingly rude; often, she would pick on a few particular students, suggesting in front of the whole class that they were terrible writers who would never amount to anything. As well, she had no regard for students' independent opinions, and she had the most hypocritical lateness policy on earth: she LOATHED lateness, even though she herself was late at least once every two weeks. The worst part of Rachel's class, though, was that she NEVER gave written feedback on final drafts. NEVER. All she did was place check-marks in her self-made rubric, circling a grade (the class average was usually a B-) from the choices at the top of the page. The only comments she gave were on first drafts, and they were usually unhelpful, relevant only in that one could determine from them what SHE would have written about were she writing the essay herself. Seriously, a five-year-old could grade essays the way Rachel does. How can students learn to write if they never receive real feedback on their written work? The bottom line--everyone in the class despised her, and she ruined University Writing, which for many Columbia students can be a great experience. Rumor is Rachel's end-of-year evaluations were so bad that she doesn't teach classes at Columbia anymore, but if you somehow find yourself enrolled in her class, TRANSFER OUT.

Sep 2009

Meaghan has a soft voice but, man, does she carry a big stick. She is encouraging and nurturing at first, but she can rip a person to pieces with her paper comments. She doesn't like jocks, slackers, or opinionated people (she is secretly very opinionate--learn what side she's on and stick to it!!). She tolerates girls, timid nerds, and people with broken spirits. As far as University Writing goes, she's a good teacher and great with discussions. She knows her stuff when it comes to writing. However, University Writing is not a feel-good class, and she is not a feel-good teacher. It's a system, and it works. University Writing is supposed to rip you to shreds, good writer or illiterate--you must learn that you are flawed and can always be improved and always be stepped on by professors and grad students alike. Meaghan will make it a memorable experience.

Sep 2009

University Writing with Emily was an excellent course. She is an expert in writing (at least compared to me), but is also able to see things from the perspective of the student--the better to explain to us ideas we don't understand. She is not an easy grader, nor an overly difficult one: grades on class essays typically ranged from C to A. She is strict with her in-class rules, but is more relaxed about the content of the course--she essentially allowed the students to write about whatever we wanted, regardless of the technical restrictions established by the department for a given essay. Most important, though, Emily will definitely help you improve your writing. Highly recommended.

Sep 2009

All in all, I was pretty pleased with Ben as a UW instructor. He definitely made it a priority to meet with his students before handing in each paper (which I really advise that you do) and basically tells you what you should do to improve on it. That being said, if you do what he asks it shouldn't be too difficult to get some form of an A in the end. In class he acts serious but does joke around more near the end of the semester. In conclusion, he's a nice guy who cares about his students.

Sep 2009

I'd have to say that I was turned off by his deeply philosophical approach. All of our readings were philosophical and, as a first year student who hasn't taken CC yet, it was hard for me to grasp at first. However, once you understand how to read and write philosophically, your writings will be geared towards what he wants. Also, he gives you a plenty of opportunities to rewrite your essays so getting A is doable (as long as you do the rewrites). His comments are detailed and useful. They get longer if he sees that you put in a lot of effort and sees improvements in your writing. (Could be more than one-page singled-spaced.) As long as you rewrite your essay based on his comments you can boost your essay grade at least by half the letter grade. He is a nice guy and very friendly and approachable.

Aug 2009

One of the best teachers I had my freshman year. She really opened my mind up to exploring writing in a new way. Without her instruction, I don't think I would be as curious with concepts and ideas and how to employ that in writing as I am now. My paper grades improved greatly. Overall, a wonderful class with a wonderful instructor.

Aug 2009

Lauren was great. I had a really good university writing experience with her. It may have even been my favorite class that semester, which I think rarely happens with UW. She was really friendly and helpful, and class discussions were always engaging.

Jun 2009

So I took this class in the Fall but I feel I must let people know how great Tara was. University Writing can be a real pain, but Tara almost made it fun. The work was quite a bit, but she was always nice about it, even willing to move around deadlines if the class was having a hard time or had midterms looming. She was clear and concise in her explanations and helped as much as one can in a writing course. And she was so much fun in class! When it comes to writing, Tara really helped me find my voice as a writer and navigate what is required in this course. She was always approachable, willing to set up office hours for the entire class, work around our schedules and always willing to help us. She gave really good feedback on everything we turned in and helped shape the writing process for each of the essays. You can't really expect much more from someone teaching this course. That said, she was a fair grader and you really needed to truly work hard, do revisions, and work on your essays after she critiqued them to get a good grade from her but that's not harsh as such. All in all, I really enjoyed this class, even though the writing assignments can take a toll, and I have to say Tara had a big part to play in making this course enjoyable and a good learning experience for me.

Jun 2009

If you find yourself nervously looking at your courseworks page the week before classes start only to find Liza's name in your schedule...you have certainly hit the jackpot! University Writing may get mixed reviews, but Liza was undoubtedly one of the best teachers I have ever had. She is patient, smart, creative, successful and always willing to help. I went into U.Writing loving writing, but I left with even more confidence and a greater understanding of my own personal style of writing. There were others in my section who absolutely hated writing and thoroughly enjoyed the class and ended the semester loving, (or at least liking) writing. I can't express how accessible Liza is. She would read as many drafts as you wanted to give her and wrote long letters to you in response about your progress, what she liked about your piece, and tips on how to improve the essay. Liza is a talented writer who deserves a lot of respect. You will always enjoy going to class. If there was a UW Part II with Liza, I would be there in a heartbeat.

Jun 2009

I took the UW with Clarice Wirkala and enjoyed it a lot. It was a small class (10-12 students) so everyone got plenty of personal attention. Her class not only allowed me to improve my writing skills, but also allowed me to conduct the research on the topics I was interested in and share it with the rest of the class. This led to (sometimes heated) discussions during which each student had a chance to express themselves and Clarice would have her own opinion yet still respected her students’. So, you could take her class to any intellectual level you were interested in. She was very flexible and supported the students in their search from the topics they were writing on (advising books and other sources) to the forms and styles they used to express their thoughts. We submitted several drafts of the essays before they were turned in for a grade and received her comments on each of them. This allowed me to work on my writing in depth and for a while, which drove me insane at times but the final product turned out quite decent (which was the purpose of the writing class to me). I think the rest of the class went though similar “writer’s anguish" (this knowledge comes from the last evaluating essay we wrote about her class), but as a result, we all became more aware about our writing style, our tendencies and finally stepped up our writing skills thanks to her guidance and hard work we put in. She is a fair grader; it mattered that you put enough effort into improving your essays from the first draft as well as how you essay compared to the rest of the class’s essays (depth of discussion, clarity, logic, etc wise).

Jun 2009

Nora was a very open and engaging instructor. She let the class have a major part in deciding topics and would be very open ideas that we wanted to try in our writing. I found the material she was teaching unclear at certain times, but I think that was more due to the jargon-heavy UWriting curriculum than her teaching style. One thing to remember: Nora didn't take kindly to slacking/excuses/BS/sob stories in class and for late assignments. She was very blunt when she thought people weren't pulling their weight in class. Overall, good instructor for a so-so course.

May 2009

Couldn't agree more with the Nov.14 reviewer. I was doomed to take UW, but he made it bearable or indeed I enjoyed his class immensely, partly because the interactions between him and class often caused laughter. His full-page+ comments/feedback on each essay were incredibly helpful and insightful. Genuinely cool, funny, laid-back guy who will be created 1st Baron of ... Czech or whatever country and become Baron Kornhaber in the near future lol Btw, he's a CU grad, but did you know he is a Harvard College grad? I noticed that when I first saw him wearing a crimson scarf. Google his name, and you will find out more about him. Bad news is he won't be teaching at CU anymore.

May 2009

Clarice Wirkala is a good professor. Relative to other University Writing teachers, I would say she is likely a bit more difficult in terms of grading but this is because you actually learn. When grading drafts, she points out a lot of errors but does not always offer suggestions on how to fix them, e.g., issues with fluidity or clarity. At first it is frustrating, but, as a writer, it takes careful thought to choose which errors should be addressed and the best manner to do so. Whenever I was completely lost, I found it was easy to talk with her and her feedback was always helpful. She's highly approachable, understanding, and pretty generous with her time--both of which are essential for a good writing teacher. I can honestly say my writing has improved as a result of her class. The class isn't an automatic A. In the end, you really get back exactly what you put in.

May 2009

Nora is a truly fantastic UWriting professor. I came into the course having heard really mixed reviews, but Nora quickly dispelled a lot of the bad things I had heard. She is brilliant, engaging, and always enthusiastic about the subject matter. Readings for UW vary across sections, but if you get Nora, you'll end up reading some really fascinating articles. Most of the articles you're assigned have a public health/theoretical bent, but even if that's not your thing, you'll still end up doing all of the readings because you won't want to disappoint her. Overall, awesome professor - hopefully she'll be teaching on tenure at some point.

May 2009

Meaghan is a quiet grad student in the Creative Writing program at Columbia (with James Franco!) She is very pleasant, but also very stubborn at heart. This means that you will never be right about about a discussion topic in class unless Meaghan agrees with you. However, Meaghan definitely does know her shit when it comes to writing, so resist her in textual analysis but definitely heed her advice when it comes to writing! You will undoubtedly learn a great deal in the class. My only advice to you is that you check your ego at the door. Don't be fooled by her gentle and quiet demeanor; her ego will likely greatly surpass yours in size and she is not afraid to use condescension to enforce it. This class is great if you are: >looking to improve your writing >someone who thinks of themselves as a decent writer but actually sucks >quiet and don't like to speak much in class >a girl This class is not so great if you are: >looking for an easy A >a slacker or an athlete (which are basically synonymous in her book) >really energetic and like to speak up in class >already a good writer; the class was made to level the playing field

May 2009

Emily is a tough grader, but she really cares about her students. She is very passionate about writing and hopes this rubs off on her students. I had a really great time in this class.

May 2009

Glenn is really happy, like all the time. the workload can be a lot, but that is the nature of the class. He is really good about helping out with essays, so meet with him as often as possible. He is a lot better than other UW teachers. H brought snacks in for us every once in a while. He just really cared.

May 2009

You will not get higher than a B+ on any graded assignment/final grade with Claire Dunnington. The fact that she makes your do a retrospective essay is absolute BS.

May 2009

Lauren is definitely one of the best uwriting teachers. She is very engaging and encourages participation all the time. She's always ready to make appointments to conference with you; her input is extremely valuable. She does a really great job teaching you how to organize your essay as effectively as possible. She also picks readings that are actually useful for picking a topic to write about (not Karl Marx!!) so you get to write about things that interest you. Overall, Lauren is awesome!! and she has a great fashion sense yay!

May 2009

Anne is awesome and makes UW survivable. She made my writing stronger by making suggestions that I wouldn't have thought about otherwise. I like how she conducts group discussions and despite her busy schedule she always makes time for E-mails and personal meetings. If you're worried about the fairness of the often subjective grading in UW, you needn't worry here. Anne definately notices when you work hard and when you take your writing seriously. If you have the space, definately take Anne's class.

May 2009

Justin Snider is by far one of the best professors I have had. Like the previous review, he is very understanding of the workload of other classes and really works with you so that you do not feel overwhelmed with the assignments. He really works with you to improve your writing skills. His feedback is great! He is also very willing to meet outside of class to discuss your work. The class atmosphere was AWESOME- I genuinely enjoyed going to class (even if it was a 9:10!). Class discussions were engaging and insightful. He really made you think. You are SO LUCKY if you get this guy....really.

May 2009

Although this is Emily's last semester teaching, I thought it be fair to give her justice. First off, Emily is not an easy teacher and grader. What she is however, is a dedicated instructor who cares thoroughly about her students, At first I had no idea what was going on in the class, but I worked with her and raised my grade from a C to an A-. All in all, a great teacher and person.

May 2009

Simply put: I just don't think that she was at at the intellectual level of most of my professors. I write this review primarily because I understand she may be teaching Lit Hum in Fall 2009. If you have her, I'd recommend switching into a more experienced teacher's section. Then again, switching into a good section for the core is sound advice for any Freshman, if you're willing to go through with it.

May 2009

Eleni was terrific. She really made our UW section quite fun, and we still got a lot done. She also puts a lot of effort into grading, unlike other professors. All of the material that we turned to her in would have, when returned, tons of helpful comments written in the margins and a large summary, as well as a fairly detailed scoring rubric. This REALLY helps in pinpointing the problems with your writing and to help you improve for later semesters. The grading seemed fair to generous. I recommend her section strongly.

May 2009

To summarize from the get-go: She's a great professor. I came into UW dreading the course because of horror stories I had heard about the class' boringness. Not to mention having quite a long commute to my class. But I ended up loving it; it turned out to be one of my favorite classes of the school year, if not my favorite. She's a young professor. Funny and entertaining, but clearly knowledgeable about the subject matter. She actually interacts with the students rather than just preaching writing skills and assigning busy work, and her essay corrections are thorough and helpful. Although there were sometimes dull-but-helpful writing activities, she usually came up with ways to make the class much more entertaining than it should have been. One such example is a class where in preparation for an essay, we had to debate about the color purple. No, not about the book/play/musical, just the actual color. One side was given the task of arguing for purple as a color epitomizing good, while the other had to portray purple as a color of all things evil and sinister, such as prunes. Needless to say, it was goofy, but fun. And it was actually useful, who wudda thunk it? (By the way miss, if you read this, was that not wonderful usage of an exhibit? :P) Amazingly given the subject matter, I actually did learn to write better. A lot better I'd say. I feel like I was able to make a transition from a high school writing level to a university writing level, which in the end is what the class is all about(given the name, "duh" lol). It's just nice that I could actually have fun while at it.

Apr 2009

Liza is wonderful - there's just no question. I've never written a review before, but I had to for this teacher because she is just so great. First off, she's extremely relaxed about the courseload and work. If you need an extension, there's no question - granted. If you couldn't do the work one night - forgiven. Now don't get me wrong, she won't let you take advantage of her, but Liza is unquestionably kind and caring; she wants you not only to become a better writer and do really well in her class, but also to be okay in your life. I think she's reached out to everyone in our class to see how our other classes are - if we're doing alright in this, that, or the other - if we ever need her to write a recommendation for one of us - anything. She's even invited us all to a celebratory end-of-semester party at her house after everything. Super wonderful person. Kind. As for teaching, Liza's feedback on papers is amazing. We've receieved dozens of letters from her throughout the semester that give very specific and valuable advice - a part of each letter is always how to fix the specific paper, and another is always how to improve our writing in a greater, more general sense. She gives us the tools to get an A, always. She's also more than willing to give unlimited feedback - I don't know if it's the same for all UW teachers, but she really is willing to read your paper as many drafts as many times as you want. Invaluable. Seriously take this course with Liza if you have the opportunity. I'm coming out of it a much better writer; I got an A; made a really wonderful friend (who wrote me a recommendation before she really even knew me that well cause she's awesome); and most of all, I had a fun, easygoing, wonderful experience. This was the best class and best teacher I've had at Columbia thus far.

Apr 2009

Avoid this teacher like the plague. Rachel is deceptively cool at first, and you will be lulled in by her dreadlocks, connections as a former tour manager for The Roots and sometimes witty turns of phrase. But, young jedis, you will learn the insanity that is this class. Rachel will not show up to scheduled meetings, text on her BlackBerry while students give presentations, roll her eyes at students and send three emails with conflicting explanations of assignments. This was truly an awful class/experience and it is definitely worth haggling with the UW guy to get into another section if possible.

Mar 2009

I loved Anne right from the start! She chose extremely interesting and uncommon texts and almost every one gave me something interesting to write about. Her comments on papers and in conferences were incredibly helpful, and even though I felt some of her in class exercises were corny and too "9th grade english", overall, she got to me to think at least a little bit more consciously about my writing, and to think about some interesting topics I hadn't explored before. She's also such a sweet person, and as far as UWriting teachers go, not an awful one to have.

Mar 2009

Everyone bashes UWriting, but it was a delight with Emily. She's incredibly thoughtful and intelligent, and also a great person. She was totally willing to meet outside of class when I couldn't quite find the right topic for a paper, and she really encouraged us to write about things that interested us, even if the connection to the seed text was tenuous. Above all, she tried to help improve our writing while retaining our own individual writing styles, instead of forcing us to conform to some personal or departmental standard and grading down if we didn't. Emily is the best--do whatever is in your power to get into her section!!

Feb 2009

I agree entirely with the previous reviewer. I didn't have so much of a problem with Musa at the beginning of the semester as some others did, but she was admittedly very demanding. But, like the previous poster, Musa definitely helped me do some of my best academic writing yet. She helped me to write essays that I was proud of in the end. What more could you ask for in a UW teacher? She creates her own syllabus, containing as little as possible of the stock UW "academic navel-gazing" (her words) that are the essays most other UW classes read. Musa emphasized close reading and, moreover, paying deep attention to what we were writing, how we were saying it, what the implications of our conclusions were. By the end of the semester we were all getting along very well and the class really felt like a cohesive, comfortable group. If you're lucky enough to have Musa as a teacher, rejoice!

Feb 2009

Glenn Gordon One of the best professors I have had at columbia. He really cares about his students, loves his work, and really engages the class during discussions. I had only heard terrible things about U writing, and while the workload still sucks, he is an amazing teacher

Feb 2009

Tim is funny, really funny. He's got a great sense of humor which really helps get you through the classes and assignments. Tim is also quite helpful with his comments on your essays with the goal of helping you obtain a high grade for the semester. The classroom assignments really do seem inane at times but they actually do work. One of the assignments was to take your essay, slice it up in sections, and have a classmate put it into the order they thought it should go. Yeah, I thought it was stupid at the time but when I was having a difficult time with one of my papers, I cut it up as well. By rearranging the order, the damn paper finally made sense and I got a fantastic grade. When former classmates run into each other and we reminisce about our courses, we always say, "Oh, Tim...wasn't he great, and really funny and nice too!" I heard other TAs don't assign as much work but I'm in a much better place right now with writing papers for other classes because of him.

Jan 2009

Prof. MacDonald is a pretty nice guy, but he takes the class very seriously. I found the readings to be fairly interesting, but the "discussions" in class to be mind numbingly boring. "Discussion" consisted of identifying sources (this went a lot faster if there were footnotes and you didn't actually have to try to find names in the article) and identifying what type they were using the BEAM method. He gives a lot of feedback on drafts of papers, but it is often difficult to give him what he wants. Be careful about drafts--just because you got a B+ on one draft does NOT mean you will get an A or A- on the next one!! Make sure you make EVERY change he "recommends" or he WILL give you the exact same grade on the next draft. That said, he's not evil and is willing to help, but the class can be very very frustrating at times.

Jan 2009

Amazing instructor. My class is at 2:40 pm so I do not have to sweat it, though he doesn't like tardies. Nevertheless, the class is very chill. Workload is very very reasonable. Normal homework is graded based on completion (mainly) and the papers are fairly simple, given that he gives you specific guidelines how to do them. As long as someone reads the sample papers, prepare the project plan well and not write down sloppy ideas (as he provides some fairly good feedback in your project proposal + first draft when he's not supposed to.), you'd be set for an A- or A paper. I like how he makes mandatory conferences with his students, as this will ensure that the students know what he wants. And as long as you do that, you are set for a good grade. Most impressed with him is his dedication to help students craft amazing papers, and the amount of trouble he goes through when writing "detailed feedback" (which is usually one page, 12 pt. font times new roman, single spaced) for each student's second draft. This is very useful. All in all, an amazing professor who is very dedicated in making his students learn about writing. He always emphasizes keeping a clear central problem, so be sure to follow that when you write your papers.

Jan 2009

I wanted to write this review because I actually enjoyed taking University Writing with Fred. Admittedly, I was a bit worried going into this course (previous reviews weren't exactly appealing). However, I hope I can disclose the brighter side of Fred's teaching. First of all, I think many students are probably intimidated by Fred. He likes to challenge students, which unfortunately may come across as offensive or demeaning by some. However, after engaging on several one-on-one conversations with Fred throughout the semester, I realized that his criticism actually pushed me to work harder and more constructively. Although his lectures seemed a bit repetitive, I believe they hammered the fundamentals (this is key). What I realized after completing this course was that writing an essay is very simple and complex at the same time (odd, I guess). See, if at first you examine the fundamentals of a well-written essay (thesis, transitions, sources, etc), your writing will become steadily clearer as you add more details. I think these were the points he tried to convey, and many people simply took them for granted without truly spending some time to mull them over. And quite honestly, this probably made many students' papers less powerful. To put my thoughts into perspective, I should say that I didn't do very well in the class at first, but ended up with a solid grade at the end. I definitely struggled through the class, and writing the essays was by no means easy for me. I just think a lot of students could have struggled a bit more. Fred is tough, without a doubt. But that doesn't mean you can't do well. I highly recommend talking to him about your essay several times and fixing your drafts along the way. It's amazing how much you can actually learn from Fred if you approach his methods with an open mind.

Jan 2009

She's too honest if you ask me, but that's what makes her really great. She's kinda of klutzy and young, but it makes the class so very entertaining. It's particularly boring, all the useless writing vocabulary. Granted, it's the UWP office that forces the vocabulary, not her. Overall, Vanessa really helps you harness one's skill of writing, firmly. Peer review, is encouraged. She doesn't like libertarians very much, so don't expect her to be ubberly fond of you endlessly quoting Murry N. Rothbard (who she had never heard of prior to me) She meets frequently, at your request, takes us on field trips to Butler, offers extensions and hosts breakfast parties!

Jan 2009

Sarah was an amazing teacher! She made class discussions very interesting. I used to hate english, but Sarah even made writing about the driest of subjects fun and intriguing. If you can take her class, you definitely should. She's very relaxed and understands if you need to turn in a paper late. She is also very willing to help you if you need it.

Jan 2009

If you get Kate for UW, stick with her. She's a very talented wrier who will help you improve your writing, no matter what level you're at. It's great to have a grad student pursuing an actual degree in writing because in readings and assignments, she focuses on the structure and function of pieces, rather than their content, so you're always learning about writing per se. She's also an extremely nice person with real enthusiasm in the course and love for her students. That said, UW is a pretty childish course with some components that will make you cringe, and some of Kate's exercises make this worse. Her requirements are somewhat demanding, like mandatory conferences, Courseworks postings, and readings/exercises due every class. Some of the readings and exercises are boring, but the big assignments will improve your writing, especially with the comments on several drafts that Kate gives.

Jan 2009

What can I say? This is a required course. There is rarely a way around it. It is boring, it is busy work, it is time consuming. There are 4 major essays and several smaller writing exercises. It is not a particularly exciting class since it is largely focused on analyzing your basic writing skills. Lexton is a tough grader. However, like any writing class, once to find out how she wants you to write, and you do it, you will get A's on your papers. There is a good deal of reading and writing, as you would likely expect. From what I could ascertain, Lexton was a rather harsh instructor, assigning more than other instructors of the same course. She is not very tolerant of late arrivals or late assignments, so if you can't be there on time, your grade will surely suffer.

Jan 2009

She's amazing! She is really smart and friendly, and she knows her stuff. And she is very willing to help. I don't know about other u writing classes, but I'm sure she is one of the best teachers. She is COOL!!!

Jan 2009

A great professor who honestly cares about your progress, your opinions, and your enjoyment of her class. Very apologetic about the sometimes silly UW syllabus and terminology, eager to make things as simple and clear as possible and to give students as much choice as possible in course readings. Takes her grading seriously and is very thorough in doing so but that said, is very reasonable and always willing to give extra help or offer an extension if you talk to her. Almost too nice and approachable - sometimes I had to stop myself from telling her too much because talking to her can be like talking to a friend/therapist. Genuinely concerned about her students and so long as you show up, make an effort to participate, and listen to her comments on your drafts, you'll ace the class.

Jan 2009

Chris was a brilliant teacher, one that I would be glad to work with in the future. He had the ability of connecting personally with his students all the while maintaining his role as the teacher. Our class was always well-structured and I felt I learned more about writing in this one semester than I had in my entire high school career. Even if you already have mastered what the writing center wants you to learn (using a lens, conversation, etc.), Chris pushes you to find ways of making your writing grow. Chris understands when you are swamped with other midterms, finals and such and is willing under certain circumstances to grant extensions. From everything I've heard, I was very lucky to have taken his class. Best teacher I had last semester hands down.

Dec 2008

Melissa was an amazing teacher for University Writing! Although she probably won't be around for long, Melissa is extremely passionate about the power of writing, and it definitely shows in her creativity for creating class structures and her active participation in all of our free-writes. University Writing can have some pretty bad teachers. Melissa is a major exception to the rule.

Dec 2008

Bryan Lowrance is by the far one of the best UW teachers here. He makes writing class in the morning actually fun. Consider yourself blessed by an angel if you get him, because judging from the comments other people make about their UW teachers, Bryan Lowrance is a godsend. And this is no joke. Not only will he help you every step of the writing process, but he'll give you feedback that is specifically catered to your weaknesses as a writer. He also has a BRILLIANT command of language and he's insanely hilarious. But don't take him for granted. He knows his stuff and that's what really makes the class.

Dec 2008

Count yourself very lucky if you get Ben for U. Writing. Although he seems to make every effort to come off as a no-nonsense hard ass in the first few classes (he told us that if we missed more than two class periods he would lower our final grade by 1/3 of a grade, and he let us know that we should expect lots of homework and a serious time commitment), you'll soon realize that its all an and that he's actually an incredibly understanding and nice guy. Ben really wants his students to do well, and he is eager to meet with his students about their papers as much as possible and willing to give students extensions when they feel overwhelmed with work. Ben is also an excellent teacher and he will teach you to appreciate complex essays and will make you a better writer than you ever thought you could be. While many freshmen complain that U. Writing is difficult and tedious class, my experience in Ben's class was great.

Dec 2008

Great professor! Understanding of the workload of students, relatively lenient with deadlines. He made UW a great class. Provides excellent feedback on papers and really coaches students throughout the writing process. If you can, get this professor!

Dec 2008

Great professor! Understanding of the workload of students, relatively lenient with deadlines. He made UW a great class. Provides excellent feedback on papers and really coaches students throughout the writing process. If you can, get this professor!

Dec 2008

It's cliche, but Musa really taught me how to write. At first I really hated her, along with most of the class, because she is really abrupt and extremely demanding. However, this pushed me to work harder and to write more drafts and she actually was responsible for the best work I think I've ever done. She's really into "close-reading" things, and so we had some classes where we would just analyze pop culture like music videos or shows, and give them relevance I'd never even previously considered. The UW curriculum is ridiculous, and Musa does. not. do. it. That's right. She simply requires that you write four essays -- they don't have stupid names like 'lens' or 'conversation' or whatever, and she doesn't limit you to a random set of readings. I got to choose the topic and set of readings for each essay that I wrote, and in addition to knowing the Stacks like the back of my hand, I was really proud of the results. She's a great writer, and she really helped me learn how to write. So. . . if she teaches UW again, take her class.

Dec 2008

If you have Vrinda for university writing, you are luckier than most Columbia freshman. The infamous UW class is made tolerable because she holds interesting classroom discussions and allows for a broad spectrum of interpretation of texts. She is polite, professional, yet still down to earth. She is dedicated to teaching and very willing and flexible outside of class. The personal attention she gives to every student is unique and you should take advantage of it. Meeting with her is the best way to improve your writing and papers. It is often frustrating to have to continually tear up your papers through three drafts but her comments are very helpful and if you make her changes, you will succeed.

Dec 2008

Like most U.W. classes, thoroughly mediocre. I've been told that University Writing teachers fall into two categories: those who despise their students and those who are terrified of them; Anne Diebel falls squarely into the latter. She was extremely timid at the beginning of the semester; while this improved slightly as the course went on, even at the end of the year classes consisted mostly of awkward pauses interspersed with brief writing suggestions offered in a way that made me question whether she genuinely believed them herself. It wasn't all bad---our class worked with much more interesting texts than anybody else I talked to, and the written feedback offered on the first two essays was extremely helpful (the quality of this feedback declined as she, like the rest of us, grew weary of the class). Grading was also quite lenient: as far as I could tell, anyone who could string together a complete sentence and advance any thesis more compelling than "Lessig and Lethem talk about different things in their essays" was guaranteed at least an A-. I don't know how many of these criticisms are really the fault of the UW curriculum rather than Ms. Diebel herself. The course sets its instructors up for failure by teaching at a level that is too low for most of the class and well over the heads of the few that never learned to write. In conclusion, there are certainly worse UW sections to be in, and I'm still unconvinced that it gets any better. Even so, I refrain from recommending Anne Diebel simply because it would be unreasonable to describe my University Writing experience as positive.

Dec 2008

I'll try to make it as objective as I can: Intro: University Writing isn't fun. You have to do the work, and there's a lot of it. I would try to focus my comments on what I relatively consider a reasonable U.W class. 1. Great feedbacks - for every paper you hand in, she gives a page long detailed feedback on what to improve for the next draft. these feedbacks were professional and extremely focused, so you don’t have to figure it out all on your own. 2. Class discussions - I haven't seen a bit of that feminism\righteousness\whatever that the first comment talks about. She clearly encourages you to participate without ever criticizing your opinion. On the contrary, I think she is an intellectual person. She knows the material good enough to guide the class discussion smoothly. It's substantially more interesting if you participate. 3. Perfect execution of syllabus. Now this is important for those of you who have to work to pay the rent. You can hand in before time. You have the exercises posted on courseworks. and you can prepare yourself in advance. Overall - Very satisfied to have taken this course with her.

Dec 2008

Yeah, that first review was bitter. Alyssa is a great teacher, really helpful, and you will actually get a thing or two out of the class. But she's not a pushover and she doesn't hand out 'A's for nothing. I had a friend in University Writing at the same time with a really relaxed teacher who apparently started the class with a half hour of small talk and gave out 'A's like candy. That's not Alyssa. She will find something to teach you.

Dec 2008

Bryan Lowrance is perhaps one of the best university writing teachers here, after hearing about the other teachers from my friends. He grades fairly, he is insightful and gives you a lot of feedback with your work. He knows exactly what you're trying to say in essays, even if you're entirely incoherent and he knows how to fix it. I would highly recommend Bryan to anyone who wants a university writing class that won't make your mind explode. He's also hilarious, just to make a 9:00am class worth coming to. But don't take him for granted**He knows his stuff and that's why you got to love him.

Dec 2008

I think the other people are being a little to harsh here. Frederick does not hold back on his criticism but as long as you can take it you'll do fine with him. I thought my writing improved tremendously over the course of the semester, and although it was a decent amount of work because he does expect basically a complete rewrite of your first draft, there was still plenty of time to do that. He made sure to make regular appointments with everyone and kept up on where everyone was at with their papers. When I had a problem I emailed him and the next day I had an hour long meeting with him on one of his off days and the majority of my problems had been worked out. He takes some adjusting to and he is not going to give out a lot of A's but I think the class definately can improve your writing. I think the people who are complaining here were just the people who were so worried about getting an A that they forgot to learn anything in the class.

Dec 2008

first thing's first: Vanessa was a great UW teacher. She definitely made UW more interesting than at least what the name implies. She's very understanding and helpful, and is eager to guide you along and truly does care about the class and everyone's progress. Her willingness to help one on one during extra time is definitely a plus as a teacher. WARNING: her grading is truly honest. This is of course essentially very good cause you do learn what your writing is actually like, but unless you put in the time and effort, your grade will not survive very well. If you stay with all the exercises and such though, it won't be that bad. Overall: Great teacher for UW!!

Dec 2008

Justin was an incredible professor! He made UW easily my favorite class 1st semester. He's a knowledgeable, excellent writer who provides great feedback. He brings extra readings to class which are always interesting and enhancing to the topic at hand. The workshopping that he has us do generates a lot of discussion and helps us to either develop our ideas or create new ideas. Either way, class is generally quite fun. He is also understanding of our workload and often extends deadlines to ease our stress. He's a great teacher and I highly recommend him to all!

Dec 2008

Vrinda does a great job explaining what possibly can be explained in University Writing. My aversion to University Writing has far more to do with the course than with her. She was always able to sustain interesting discussion and chose interesting articles to read and analyze in class. She is always willing to meet with students, even if it means that she has to sacrifice an hour of her time per meeting for all 12 people in the class. This personal attention and clarity helped make UWriting relatively bearable. Her Indian-British accent definitely helped, too, though.

Dec 2008

pretty laid back most of the time. tried to illuminate why a university student would need to learn such a thing as a lens or conversation essay, but wasn't always able to do so clearly. similarly, when critiquing drafts he often called students out for mistakes they weren't aware they were supposed to avoid-he's not good at elaborating the intended audience or appropriate style (often contradictory on this) for a particular assignment. I also didn't like that most of the "seed texts" he provided the class were written by Columbia professors-it made the class feel very insular and detached from the real, practical world. that said, one could do worse. he clearly cares about his students, and he was good at sparking interesting student discussions that provided fodder for essay topics.

Dec 2008

I had Katie for university writing. She's not that great at actually teaching about writing or leading class discussions (as most of the class wasn't really interested in what she had to say or responding to it), but if you go to her for feedback, she has very good things to say, she just has a little bit of trouble getting them out. I don't think the class is that great in general, so I don't know if there's much she could do to help. The readings were interesting.

Oct 2008

The first article that Yvonne asked us to read was on monsters. This was an exceptional choice, as are her other reading materials. I've talked to people who have other instructors for university writing and by comparison I get the feeling that Yvonne is one instructor who really cares about the improvement of our writing, rather than if we decide to become english majors. She takes time to help with our work and so far, she's been a good teacher.

Jun 2008

Kalpana definitely comes off as a little rough and tough in the beginning - the first couple classes she makes a point to mark off people who come in late or don't turn in assignments. But give it a chance, put a little effort it and the class will be well worth it. She likes to meet about paper drafts and will genuinely help you with your writing, giving detailed reviews of anything you want her to look at. She's a really awesome grad student who expects you to work hard but will grade you accordingly. It seemed to me that people's grades exactly reflected how hard they worked (I worked hard and it wasn't difficult to get an A). And if you set up a good atmosphere, she'll definitely be up for parties/food and sporadic outdoor classes. Take her class! It's really not bad grade-wise, very manageable, and (comparatively, from what I hear) painless.

May 2008

Nice teacher, tries to make you learn how to write better. Assigns lots of BS work that is not graded during the week and makes you try to fix other people's papers in the class instead of fixing your own. Also is deceptive in her comments. Like, she'll give you a few things to fix those on your second draft, and if you fix them, she'll find more questions to dock you points. Deadlines for first drafts are early than most classes, but she ends up extending the deadline for the final draft, or gives an extra re-write so its not big deal.

May 2008

Tim is a nice and understanding guy and I definitely believe my writing improved with this couse. That being said, I also feel as though much of the classtime was a waste of time, just sitting and listening to what he had to say. But Tim has enough eccentricities (like drinking diet lime coca-cola every morning at 10am,...) that it could also make class amusing.

Apr 2008

He may be the worst teacher at Columbia. Not only does he not help anyone become a better writer, but he actually made become less confident and maybe even a worse writer. He often finds nothing good in people's essays and his criticism often feels like a personal attack. He picks a couple of favorites from the very beginning and will like anything they write even if it's not even that good. For the rest of the class expect Bs or Cs. Also, he is terrible at talking in front of the class as he is very fidgety and is always looking down in front of him. I thought this class was supposed to help students become better writers? I absolutely hate this man...

Apr 2008

Lane is incredible. I went into this class determined I was doomed for the semester but she made it one of my favorite classes. She chose interesting articles to work with and kept the class entertaining but useful. As far as the writing goes, she gave excellent comments, both positive and negative, and met with each of us before our final drafts which proved to be critical. Not an extremely hard grader but not easy either. She has expectations but lets you know what you need to fix and how.

Apr 2008

I strongly agree with the review below. I looked forward to going to class and enjoyed it. But if you feel confidant after getting back a draft you still need to put work into it! Minimal critique from her on a draft won't necessarily mean a great grade! She is also willing to listen to her students and tweak her teaching methods based on class needs. She is someone who you will genuinely believe cares how you are doing and how her students like the class. OVERALL: if you can take class with Vanessa- do!

Feb 2008

Maggie is a wonderful teacher. I took UW Spring 2007, and all the freshmen who took it Fall 2006 made it out to be the worst class ever (of course, they hadn't taken Frontiers yet). Maggie taught an enjoyable, engaging, easygoing course. She selected great New York based readings for the Conversation sequence. Maggie is approachable, kind, and gives constructive criticism without making you feel like a terrible writer. I feel like a better writer for having taken her course, and I would be surprised if my classmates didn't feel the same way.

Feb 2008

Alvan Ikoku is the worst teacher I've ever had at Columbia. Not only was the workload extremely unreasonable, his general approach to the subject and material covered in class was (insert synonym of terrible). His rigid structure for papers made writing the paper he wanted to read nearly impossible. No matter what you did for our man Alvan, it wasn't enough. Although at times he tried to be funny, his jokes were never on point and his laugh was borderline obnoxious. He assigned nightly homework that usually took around 2 hours to complete aside from the 3 papers required for the class. As frustrating as this may sound, to add to that, he never even graded anything besides the main papers for the course. Alvan Ikoku not only ruined my Columbia experience, he directly led to worse grades on my future papers (outside of UW) when I tried to follow the structure he had suggested and was summarily marked down. If you have any faith in your ability to write a decent paper, stay away.

Jan 2008

I LOVED HER! Awesome, understanding Lady. Always willing to help if your willing to do some work. GREAT. highly recommended =]

Jan 2008

Excellent professor. She is young, intelligent, and very very personable to the students. Prof. Vy makes a deeply conscious effort to not only help her students with their writing, but to learn it herself so that she can help every individual to the best of her abilities - which are very strong (she's been published before, and continues to be). Does a good job with the various essay progressions by including in-class and homework activities guided towards the final product. I can't say this last part enough: REVISE. The only grade in the class comes from the final portfolio, which includes the best draft of all 4 essays along with some light supplementary material. It really doesn't hurt to rewrite some of the earlier papers all together - especially since you have the entire semester to do so. Prof. Vy seemingly remembers each word of your draft, so if you revamp the thing all over after she said it needed a lot of work - and it is at least a good effort - you're going to see an increase in your grade. She's a tough grader, but that helps to an extent. I would say 90% of everyone's papers landed somewhere in the B range in the end, with a few sprinkled in the A. C's, at least as I am concerned, would be hard to come by, especially if you meet with her (always likes to see kids in office hours) and show some effort to improve your writing. Enjoyable class.

Jan 2008

Vanessa was great in class - very enthusiastic, very excited about the subject and the projects and the articles and the discussion and life, really, but in terms of work outside your class, you HAVE to be independent. Don't count on her to say everything that needs to be said about a paper - ask about everything you can think of, really take advantage of the office hours, be as thorough as you can be. She's not so picky with the drafts but very picky with final papers, so don't yourself get screwed over. Be proactive and you'll be fine.

Jan 2008

At first, she was really shy and soft-spoken but as the semester progressed, she began to speak up and take control of the classroom. She is always available to for the students and seems generally interested in helping them improve in their ability to write. She is very friendly. She is always willing to read a student's work and to comment on it before it is handed in. She is not an easy grader. You have to work for a good grade. I had to revise each paper over and over again before I received decent grades on them.

Jan 2008

Megan is a wonderful professor who can spark interesting conversations in class while at the same time teaching you a whole lot about writing that you think you know but probably don't. She is friendly and caring, and goes the extra mile when it comes to helping students- you can always make an appointment to see her; if you email her with a question, she will be quick and thorough in responding; etc. Her responses to papers are critical (to say the least), but your writing will be all the better for it. Overall, I definitely recommend her!

Jan 2008

Lane is a thoughtful woman who does a very good job with a class that could easily be a waste of time. Her comments on papers were in general quite accurate, and while she is a tough grader, my writing did improve. Lane also has a sense of humor and is willing to respond to views that contradict her own regarding the material, but you should certainly cave to her suggestions when it comes to papers.

Jan 2008

Brian is a very chill guy. He used to be a CC-er as well, so he knows where we're coming from. Our classes were very structured and he was well prepared. Each class fit in the bigger schedule (that encompassed the composition of 4 essays) and he had a nice structure for each class (we tackled different issues of writing, wrote many drafts of our papers and did a lot of group workshops). Be aware that you will get out of his class only as much as you will put in. Be an active participant and take advantage of meetings with Brian to go over your work/progress. I feel like he helped me a lot in terms of changing my writing style, even though I feel like he's a strict grader.

Jan 2008

Sara is harsh, but she's good. I hear this is a useless class, but I definitely think I got something out of it because of her. I agree with whoever said you should stay on her good side and participate in class discussions. She definitely picks favorites, and I felt like she was out to get me. She is quite pretentious, and always has a snide sarcastic remark about whatever she reads - be it the assigned reading or your work. Ignore how she might make you feel - her comments are usually pertinent and helpful.

Jan 2008

Lane is a great teacher. If you get to choose your university writing section, try to get into hers. She's engaging and fun and I learned something in a class I thought was going to be horrible.

Jan 2008

Ruth is responsive to student questions. She'll review your papers and give useful criticisms. Deadlines were not a problem and she offered to extend the deadline of our last paper. The only problem is that she can be a harsh grader. Only 33% of students received an 'A' range grade. So beware.

Jan 2008

I was in the first class Matthew Main taught at Columbia, but I didn't know it was his first until almost all the way through the semester. He's relaxed, and created a very friendly atmosphere in the classroom—and you don't need stress in a 9 a.m. class. My only complaint: he's a very, very nice guy and could sometimes have been a bit harsher in his instruction. But it's nice to have a teacher give you the benefit of the doubt. He's very interested in his students. I met with him several times over the course of the semester, and he was often willing to rearrange his schedule in order to meet with me. He'll give each paper extensive written feedback that's helpful and encouraging. (At first, his prescriptive comments may seem a bit vague, but you'll figure out what he wants by the next draft, without him leading you by the hand.) Overall, a very smart and humble guy. Especially based on what I heard from other students about U. Writing, this is a great section.

Jan 2008

Isaac was an excellent University Writing teacher. He was enthusiastic, approachable, knowledgeable and fair. I have nothing bad to say about him. He made an otherwise boring class interesting. Consider yourself lucky if you wind up in his section.

Dec 2007

Awesome, really. I think this semester was her first time teaching a UW class, and she couldn't have done a better job. Emily is one of the nicest, most enthusiastic UW professors you could possibly meet on campus. At times, you feel slightly overwhelmed by her earnestness, but it becomes something you grow to appreciate once you're in the midst of papers/midterms/etc. She is lenient on deadlines and understanding of whatever situations may arise, which may cause people to slack off on turning in drafts (or quality ones, for that matter) -- but it's honestly to your advantage to give her your best work, regardless if it's a draft or not, because she takes the time to read through (and INCREDIBLY thoroughly) anything you give her. Literally, she spends a good half hour or more reading, commenting, and critiquing all of it... AND she'll even include a letter at the end that fully explains her questions and concerns, and suggestions for improvement. I'm pretty sure a majority of the students enjoyed the class, and the entire class appreciated the fact that she wasn't an uppity, condescending professor whose 75 minute session is one of those classes you dread. She goes on tangents sometimes, and tends to get off-track, but it doesn't really prove detrimental to the class, overall. The readings are a bit tedious sometimes, but interesting; she knows them inside and out. All in all, she's a great prof. You'll be lucky to have her teach UW.

Dec 2007

Whatever you do, do not take Kanika's class. She is a nice person and extremely intelligent, however, this class will make you want to drop out of school. I got a good grade in this course, but it accounted for at least 3/4 of all the work I did for all of my courses this semester. In comparing what she required of our class with what was required of friends in other classes, I was shocked. She even told our class in the first couple of weeks that she did not give A's. I would have found these requirements understandable if they had helped me really become a better writer, but I think the only beneficial result of these absurd expectations was just that papers I had to write for other classes seemed easy in comparison to what Kanika had us write. University Writing is enough of a pain to deal with, do not compound the difficulty by taking the class with Kanika.

Dec 2007

From what I have heard from other people, there are both better and worse Uni Writing teachers out there. She comes off as a bit pretentious, and her mood greatly affects the tone of the class from day to day. That being said, she is fairly lenient about assigning due dates, so if the whole class wants it changed, she probably will change it. Also, she stopped using the Portfolio system, so you get a grade after each essay and no final Reflective essay.

Dec 2007

Kanika is approachable, friendly, and very understanding. She treats her students with respect and works hard to meet the needs of each of her students. She seems to enjoy getting to know you and she makes herself available in a ton of one on one meetings. She throws little parties after essays are due which were always fun for relaxing and talking about things other than writing. She may leave you frusterated with your own writing and the course itself is frusterating but it is part of the learning process. Very fair grader but put the effort in. She is good at spotting bs so dont bs her.

Dec 2007

if you find yourself in Christine's U.W. class this semester, consider yourself lucky. sure, she's a little kooky and on first glance, you may think she's a bit of a valley girl. but trust me, she knows her stuff. she manages to make the assignments more interesting than the other professors do, and although u.w. is unbearable in general, she makes it an entertaining experience at the least. there is a lot of reading and a lot of progressions, but my advice is not to skimp on the drafts. you'll do well in christine's class if you take all her advice, and you won't be able to get all of her advice if you have an incomplete or half-assed draft.

Dec 2007

If you got her as your UW instructor, you are one of the lucky ones! I loved her, and I think everyone in my class did. Although at fist, I was complaining about the workload, it wasn't that bad compared to the other classes. I was stuck with three papers by the last week of the semester, but it wasn't really her fault. I think UW class itself is very tightly scheduled course. She is a very nice person and a fair grader. Even better, she is a pretty good teacher. I think I really learned something about writing and a lot of other kids in my class did also. She tries hard to be available outside of class. For every formal paper you write, you will get a mandatory conference with her, which is very helpful. And if you wish to meet her for another occasion, she will willingly make an appointment with you.

Dec 2007

Catherine is a terrific instructor. She makes what is usually an awful class surprisingly bearable. The only problem is the nature of the class itself. It gets boring and repetitive. Catherine, however, will do her best to make you a better writer. She comments scrupulously and tells you exactly what you need to do to make a paper better.

Dec 2007

Professor Savini was a really good professor. She would give us assignments that actually led us to something that would help with our progressions (crazy, I know). Also, her availability is pretty good, if you need her help, and since she's the head of the writing center, you know that the help she gives is decent. When you conference with her, instead of her directly telling you what to do, she helps by asking questions which lead you to discover for yourself what it is that you really need to be doing. I feel like the grading may be slightly harsher than others, given that she is the head of the writing center, but at the end of the semester, I definitely knew different writing moves and methods that my friends in other classes did not know.

Dec 2007

This was a great class. Mirabelle is a genuine teacher who really cares about her students and does everything in her power to help them. She always extends her office hours and even comes in special to accommodate students. The workload is heavy but that's just the nature of university writing, every class is going to have more or less the same workload. She is also a very fair grader. She will give detailed comments on everything she gives back to you so you will know exactly why you got what you did. I highly recommend taking u-writing with Mirabelle.

Dec 2007

Alice is one of the better University Writing professors, from what I can tell from the comments friends have made about their University Writing classes. The articles she chooses for you to read for each progression (there are four - lens essay, conversation essay, research essay, and retrospective essay) are interesting for the most part. Discussions of the essays in class, however, can become tedious because what's being discussed is how the author writes, rather than what the article is about (which makes sense for a writing class, but is boring regardless). She livens up the class sometimes with weird anecdotes that reveal either endearingly strange personal qualities or her extensive knowledge of weird subjects. Her best quality is the fact that she makes very good comments on your drafts. Definitely schedule meetings with her about them. At first I was skeptical about her comments, but in retrospect I realize that they really made my essays, and my writing skills in general, much better.

Dec 2007

Frederick is definitely extremely bright and well-read (having gone to Harvard and Cambridge), but his ability to be a stimulating teacher was not definitely there yet. His grading was quite harsh and his expectations high. While we sometimes had interesting discussions, I often found myself looking at the clock during much of the class. Freddy can be funny sometimes, but often drones on. While the course may have some small effect on my future writing, at this point it seems like I mostly learned how to write for university writing, not for university. As well, expect to be under pressure with the essays, since you will often have a week or less to rewrite from the draft to the final essay. The oral presentation was also assigned over fall break!

Nov 2007

David is great! He explained to us what we needed to know--nothing more, nothing less. Grading was very fair, and his comments are very helpful. Plus, he makes a normally mundane class actually bearable. If you have him for UW, stay with him by all means.

Nov 2007

Dan is extremely nice and easy-going. He takes the time to meet with students individually and gives helpful, concrete suggestions for your writing. We read a lot of great essays and had interesting discussions in class. Dan also allows you a lot of leeway in picking what you write about, which is fantastic since no one wants to spend hours on a paper they are indifferent to. Dan stresses a personal writing style and recognizes that everyone has their own needs, strengths, and weaknesses when it comes to writing. My class was a mixture of experienced writers planning to study the humanities and engineering students, but Dan made sure that he could find a place for everyone. It is true that Dan sometimes seemed a little nervous in class - but c'mon, he's a writer! Of course he's going to be nervous doing public speaking! He also warmed up and got much better as the class all got to know each other, and I'm sure he'll keep improving as he has more experience in the classroom. Overall, a rewarding and constructive experience. We're all waiting for his book to come out!

Oct 2007

Professor Buthelezi provides an interesting approach to what initially seems to be a mundane required course. He assigns a formidable, but enlightening assortment of academic reading that serve as catalysts for writing assignments. Although the essays he assigns for reading are from a pool of predetermined literature from the University, the concepts are unresting and challenging, allowing powerful and dramatic writing assignments. He is a huge fan of close reading -- careful attention to the authors' words and concepts, and he is a proponent of understanding thoroughly both the meaning of the assigned reading and the response of your authorship. It would be helpful if he spent more time defining the difference between scholarly authorship and personal observation approaches to creating essays, although his direction on this issue is not entirely insufficient.

Oct 2007

David Harrington is an amazing professor. He really wants you to learn how to write. He is really chill and down to earth, and his high standards really end up being effective. Don't worry about the grade -- Professor Harrington really cares about how you progress in your writing. He is impressed by people who work hard, because he works hard too. And his grading is pretty clear -- he lets you know beforehand exactly what he is looking for. If you want help with your writing, talk to him! Or, go to the Writing Center in Philosophy Hall. I guarantee that by the end of the semester, you will be happy that you got to learn from this incredible writer. And if you get the chance, talk to him. He's actually a very cool character.

Sep 2007

DO NOT TAKE UW WITH BENGTSSON. He's likely to shoot down any attempts you may take to oppose his ideas. He contradicts himself, and in my opinion he's elitist, and if he doesn't like you, you won't get a good grade. If you sit still and absorb his thoughts without raising your hand or offering an opinion, you'll be okay. He's very intelligent but unwilling to make any effort to help you learn and seems to be doing this just to get his PHD and ruin people's lives for a living. I am an english major and this is the only class I've ever gotten anything but an A in. STAY AWAY

Sep 2007

Emily is an incredible UW teacher. Unlike some other teachers, she chooses really interesting readings. She's also always ready to help you. She'll write you a whole letter about your paper and ways to improve it. She doesn't just say- the thesis needs to be reworked. She'll tell you- another way you could spin your thesis is... She's honestly amazing. If you are in her section, you are not lucky, you are blessed. She's a generous grader too!

Sep 2007

Sharon is definitely fair. At times she can be frustrating as her directions can be vague; however, I think this is as much the fault of the assignments as it is her's. The concenpt of the "lens essay" confused most everyone. She is very accessible and it's definitely wise to take advantage of her. She definitely likes to see her feedback in your revisions (which she is super generous about). Write the best rough drafts you can, because it makes life easier when the final deadline comes around. The more you write, the more feedback Sharon writes. She's quirky but good. And she gives out extra excused absences. Three for free.

Aug 2007

Alice is really a fantastic person who is more than willing to help you if you're willing to give University Writing some effort. She can be a bit spacey at times and we would occasionally get off topic during discussions, but for the most part she pushes you to write about something you care about. She's really pretty flexible with the topics as long as you're able to justify why you want to write whatever. She also is pretty nice about due dates as long as you're willing to talk to her and explain yourself. Although she's a grad student and the University Writing curriculum is kind of bunk, she really is pretty knowledgeable about the readings and topics that come up in class but doesn't come across as an obnoxious grad student. Read something by Joan Didion and she might just love you forever.

Aug 2007

My life definitely changed because of Alvan not only as a writer/thinker, but as a citizen and member of the university community as a whole. I felt like University Writing with Alvan was a convocation to academia at Columbia in general. Class every day was not what you'd expect; we only occasionally did mundane paper editing, and spent most of our time discussing deep and meaningful topics inspired by assigned readings. You get a great deal of freedom from Alvan to explore your own opinions and feelings about diverse subject areas, but are expected to follow specific formats, formats which are very useful for paperwriting in the future. Alvan takes an interest in you as a person, though not in an overbearing or annoying way, and is very generous with teaching you both in and out of class if you make it clear that you want to learn and improve. Class is usually lively and fun, and Alvan constantly cracks jokes which are usually funny mostly because he said them. He's also a very inspiring guy, having graduated from Harvard med school and then left medicine to pursue his passion for literature at Columbia. I highly recommend Alvan for UniWriting; don't switch out.

Aug 2007

Alvan. Oh alvan, alvan, alvan. I had quite the love-hate relationship with young man. He has an interesting past and is a hell of a lot smarter than everyone in the class. And yes, I grudgingly admit that I learned a great deal about writing in this class. However, I hated the work load. I found it rediculous. It took an absurd amount of time. It made me want to die. But class was (for the most part) interesting. And Alvan makes it his personal goal to make sure his students actually learn. So enjoy.

Aug 2007

Professor Harrington may be a grad student, but he's a great teacher. He's young and kind of looks like he was a stoner back in high school, but aside from occaisional moments of spacey-ness he's pretty alert and on-the-ball. He's a good teacher and gives a TON of clearly typed out materials and due dates explaining his assignments. Everything is also uber organized on courseworks. He's pretty clear about what he wants and doesn't want, while providing you with plenty of creative license. He likes that sort of thing, so if you got it, flaunt it. His feedback is detailed and really perceptive and he's extremely available during office hours. I went to his office hours actually believing he could help me, which is more optimism than I usually have for fixing my writing issues. He will help you become a better writer if you don't resist him and he allows plenty of revisions so that you've got ample opportunity to get that A or A- if you're willing to work at it. Don't expect As the first time around, though. He's a surprisingly harsh grader, given how laid back he seems.

Jul 2007

Contrary to what other people have said, i think Ms. Murphy was a good teacher. She chose some really interesting essay to read, and made the class enjoyable. She's a harsh grader if you write crap, understandably so. If you put thought and effort into your essay, she sees it. My writing improved substatially after taking her class. There is no weekly work, which is great, cause you can just focus on the papers. She has some great suggestions on how to improve your paper.

Jun 2007

If you can DO NOT take Reif for university writing. He is a very nice, interesting guy, but an extremely tough professor with very high expectations. Like most u-writing professors he is a grad student. He took this class very seriously, as if everyone taking this required class wanted to be writers. He assigned very long, difficult readings for every class, along with fairly lengthy writing assignments to be posted to courseworks for every class. Our class agreed that we did way more work than every other u-writing class. On occasion he had some decent advice, but I felt like the conferences were mostly him telling me all the weaknesses in my writing in very abstract terms, with no suggestions on how to fix it. The class was portfolio style.

May 2007

Although Vyshali is a nice person and a published writer, I did not enjoy taking her class. I didn't mind the workload of University Writing, and the class sessions were bearable, though generally uninformative. As the previous reviewer stated, the worst part was in the portfolio system. I received provisional grades throughout the year that I was fine with (generally in the B range) and expected that with significant revision (which i certainly did), I would be able to receive an A or A- on the portfolio. To my dismay, I received a C+. Her letter to me, in which she commented on my portfolio, is equally bizarre. I still cannot reconcile her comments that "...you are a very strong writer... You have an amazing ability to manipulate the English language... Your sense of the creative shines through in all your writing over the course of the semster..." with the grade I was given. When I asked her to have a second professor read my portfolio, the only thing the second professor said was that he/she felt similarly. I suspect that there either was no second professor, or that he/she gave it a quick skim at best. Ms. Mannivanan's only real suggestion to me throughout the year was to "speculate" on things. She told me I had all the research, but that I didn't speculate enough. And I tried. Oh, how I tried. But really, I disagree with her suggestion completely. If I have proven my points through sources (sources certainly much more knowledgeable, than me, a college freshman), which I did, then what good is my measly opinion? If you are a student who is interested in writing formulaic pieces and being completely stifled in your writing, take Ms. Mannivanan. It's sad that a freshman writing class could make one want to never write again, but luckily I am a confident enough writer that I have chosen to simply disregard her grade and keep on writing. If you are interested in receiving a horrible grade for being a "very strong writer," then take the class from her. Personally though, if I could do it over, I would take the class from someone else.

May 2007

Jenny's definately not the best teacher around and is pretty apathetic when it comes to her UW class. Definately plays favorites (I was on the short end of that stick) and enjoys singling kids out. But personally, I would blame the UW departemnt and its stupid portfolio more than Jenny James. But by no means does that mean that she can't try harder. She's a pretty bad teacher who can't explain what a lens essay is. She expects a lot out of you and definatley the more work you put into it, the better your grade.

May 2007

If you get this professor to teach your section of UW, consider yourself incredibly lucky. Alicia was able to break all of the negative preconceptions I had about University Writing. Going to this 9:10 class every day turned out to be much more of a pleasure than a chore. Not only does she try to improve all of the typically dreadful standardized UW assignments, she has a mastery of the reading. Also, if you get her, try to help her with the printing quota, since apparently grad students also have the same 200/week quota as undergrads do. Interesting fact(s): she was an undergrad at Harvard (she tried unsuccessfully to conceal this fact), and she has a facebook (haha!).

May 2007

Keri's sweet and easygoing manner helped to create a relaxed environment, which is saying a lot given how initially neurotic myself and my eleven classmates were, and the fact that our classroom was one of those hot, sweaty, hellish bunkers in the basement of Pupin. At first, I was happy to take part in the game that is University Writing, completing my exercises and banging out my drafts with great gusto. But as the year dragged on, I became more and more embittered towards the way the class glorified such artificial constructs in such euphemistic language. What in God's name is a "lens essay" or a "conversation essay" or a "CCP" or a "seed text"? You see, University Writing with Keri doesn't really teach you to write, it teaches you to write academic essays, but it doesn't really teach you to write academic essays either, it teaches you to write academic essays in the University Writing way, and it doesn't exactly teach you to write academic essays in the University Writing way either, it teaches you to write University Writing essays through the lens of Keri, or maybe there's even a conversation between the two. It's all good and well to know to write in such a style, but kind of restrictive, and after reading my classmates' essays instruction in writing with voice and panache would have been just as helpful as robotically cranking out a few more passionless research papers. David Foster Wallace or Hunter S. Thompson would have gotten C's. But maybe that's just the way academic writing goes, and I did learn a lot without going through any sort of intense pain that often marks other UWriting experiences, so I can't complain. In conclusion, I'd recommend Keri, especially if you need work on tightening your writing, but with the above qualifications. Grading is typical Columbia-tough: reasonably hard to get an A, just as hard to get a C.

May 2007

Keri Bertino is the best thing since sliced bread. Imagine a boring, mean and evil instructor as 90% of UW teachers are guilty of one of those, yet she is the complete opposite of all of those. She really cares about the students that put in a good faith effort, and she considers improvement in her final grade. She had class outside a few times. She let everyone be themselves in class, and still managed to have a learning environment where everyone learned what was going on. This was one of the most helpful classes I have ever taken for my writing, and it is mostly thanks to Keri Berino. Is my review excited? Yes. But she is there for everyone, not just the students that did well. She always was asking people when/if they wanted to meet.

May 2007

Alicia was great. She really knew how to make the UW workload seem less stressful! She made a 9am class bearable and really worked hard toward improving her students' writing. If a student ever needed anything, she was there to respond to you quickly whether it was via email or meeting with her after class. She's a very approachable teacher and an extremely fair grader. If you've got her, be thankful!

May 2007

Lianne is flexible with dates, but that's about the only thing going for her section. We started with 8 students and went down to four. There was lack of direction, too much repetition, and unnecessary requests like coming to class 10 minutes early or staying later than scheduled. She was great when it came to deadlines and the need to miss class here and there, but overall the experience is mind-numbing.

May 2007

He is the best teacher I have ever had in my life! If you get him, you completely lucked out. He's hilarious and he takes a generally boring and burdensome required class and turns it into something actually worth waking up in the morning to go to. The class is an hour and 15 minutes....the first 15 minutes is spent talking about everyone's weekend or w/e, then for the next 30-45 minutes he'll teach...then we leave early. And the best thing is that, even though he was a laid back teacher, I learned a lot from him. He is absolutely the best teacher I think I will ever have!

May 2007

An excellent instructor-- her grading is fair, and her excitement for learning is infectious. Able to see the mechanics of a successful or poor essay, she is incisive about the writing process; nevertheless, she isn't picky. Writing is a process in this class: sometimes she will give back A papers that are covered with suggestions for improvement. Her homeworks are not very structured, and my class found this to be beneficial

May 2007

I have personally been publicly embarrased by Ewa Kara. She has no regard for the barrier between personal and private relations and no concept of student privacy, as she routinely announces to the class her personal opinion on each student's writing skills. while her comments on each individual essay can be quite insightful, her skills as a teacher have much to be desired. She cannot mediate discussion, cannot give clear or straightforward assignments, and is utterly incomprehensible when it comes to deadlines, due dates, and other such inevitable details of University Writing.

Apr 2007

Dan White is an amazing professor. First dreading the class when I arrived, Professor White made each essay all the more bearable and gave the most pure constructive criticism I have ever come across. He never says anything awful about your essays, but only gives you suggestions that allow you to freely express your own voice in your papers. A writer himself, he gave useful talks on how to write freelance and created a class that was very laid back. I highly recommend him.

Apr 2007

University Writing was the best class I have taken at Columbia, not because of the subject matter, but because of the teacher. In other classes, conformity was expected of my thought. Professors wanted a certain thing from me, and to my intellectual dismay, I gave it to them so I could see that A or A+ on my transcript. In University Writing with Jan, however, free thought was encouraged. "Wake-up moments" could become a part of my writing. I was allowed to enjoy readings from my own perspective, not the perspective of an all-poweful professor who tyrannically forces his/her ideas upon his/her subjects. This class is one that helped me greatly and stimulated me intellectually. Jan becomes friends with his students, but still has authority. It was a fun class, take it if you are looking for a laid back style that will really help your writing and thought process.

Apr 2007

Shilarna is the absolute BEST University Writing instructor. That's a fact, not an argument. She really and truly cares about all the students and is extremely approachable and accessible. The thorough comments she provides really identified my strengths and weaknesses, and I found myself improved in both arenas at the end of the semester. I came into UWriting with the greatest dread, but it is has been one of my two favorite classes this semester and year...and it's a 9:10am class, which says a lot for it. Also, while many say UWriting is a rigid class, Shilarna gave us a great deal of freedom this semester. I absolutely loved this class from the very helpful workshop sessions we'd have to the one-on-one sessions with Shilarna to the breakfasts she'd sometimes provide! I used to despise writing, but Shilarna's UWriting class has made me really come to love it. I have discovered the type of writer I am and tailoring my own style and interests to each assignment has made me passionate about all of them. In conclusion, I will repeat...Shilarna is the absolute BEST University Writing instructor.

Apr 2007

Alvan is undoubtedly a good teacher who knows his shit when it comes to writing or anything else in life. Although at times he can be a little cocky or almost snide, he is generally a friendly, interesting, well-meaning guy and it's nice that he has some pluck. The problems with this class don't necessarily come from him as much as from the UW curriculum, which asks students to do what is kind of a ridiculous and seemingly pointless amount of reading/writing/researching in extremely limited time periods. He is very helpful in meetings, but expects you to have your shit together. He can be lenient with deadlines when he suspects burnout; however, he is a tough grader (he's not kidding when he gives you that rubric-he can't stand grade inflation) and has very, very high expectations. I learned by the end that it is necessary to follow his directions and look very closely at the sample essays he gives in class because they demonstrate exactly what he wants. I do believe that I am a much better writer after his class, but not without plenty of tears, sleepless nights, skipped classes, and general unnecessary stress. If you are a writer really looking to fine-tune your style and don't mind being told how to write, you should love Alvan's meticulous approach. If you aren't, well...sorry.

Apr 2007

I took Kathleen's class last semester, and I must say that it was a great introduction to Columbia. My first impression of Kathleen was that she was a bit hands-off, even aloof, and that she was unable to get her message across to the students in my section (which was not necessarily her fault.) It seemed as though that every class period, after Kathleen would transcribe her theories on the board, half of the class was completely lost, whereas the other half was too focused on their own opinions to be concerned with hers. At the beginning, I fell into the latter group, but as we began to write our assigned essays, Kathleen proved her abilities as an advisor by helping us all tremendously. Despite dedicating her entire life to her doctoral work, Kathleen was very helpful with scheduling times to speak with us about our essays. Her deep breadth of knowledge was remarkable, as I would not expect a girl from southern Illinois would be able to speak authoritatively about ancient philosophies, major league baseball, inner city health code violations, and pornography, (and also quote Kanye West verbatim). This allowed for us to be fed very interesting topics for our assigned papers, which came with quite a bit of feedback. Overall, Kathleen instilled in me a confidence in my writing capabilities, and UW made me enthusiastic about writing essays. She proved that writing any paper assigned, when done creatively, can be an enjoyable experience. Take Kathleen's class!

Apr 2007

She's a good teacher. I was jealous of my roomate all semester cause his teacher was never assigning portfolios and we got one to do almost every class. Personally, I am not a fan of this kind of seminar so I would dread going to class but she a good teacher and not an easy grader but not too bad.

Apr 2007

Extremely nice teacher. Is very open to meeting privately to discuss your essay. Sometimes has classes that feel like it justs wastes your time, but if you actually do what she asks they will help your essay. She also puts on clips from films during class. Extremely flexible with deadlines. As long as you email her, she is ok with late papers and such.

Apr 2007

Reif's' class is a full time job. Although he is very passionate and knowledgeable on the subject, the amount of work he assigns makes it a painful semester. He doesn't really care that you are taking four other classes and that teachers generally don't assign work due on days that the class doesn't meet. Missing class, especially for sports, is unacceptable to him (or for illness, thats just not allowed). I heard University Writing was a rough class, but I had no idea it would be this bad.

Apr 2007

Erika really is something else. If you have to take university writing, which you do, you should try and take it with her. Her classes are very lively and although the workload for this course can be a little exhausting, she will guide you through it step by step. I was a good writer when I came to Columbia, I am now a much, much better writer. The major pro with Erika is that she's very much in touch with the student's perspctive because although she's been teaching for a while, she is still a student (PhD). Her general knowledge and research experience in a broad range of topics means she is incredibly helpful in guiding ones research by suggesting avenues of exploration one probably wouldn't have gone down otherwise.

Apr 2007

Reif is probably the worst University Writing teacher ever. The entirety of his class consists of doing pointless examinations of texts to determine even more pointless things. Rather than reading a text to determine what an author is trying to convey, Reif has you read the text and determine things like "key terms" and "signposts." Reif also succumbs to using the same 5-10 "University Writing" terms over and over and over and over again. Get used to hearing him say such vague things as "distill", "close-read", "exhibit", "lens", and several other phrases that anyone who speaks English fluently knows really have no meaning. As for grading, Reif is difficult to the full extent of the word. He will have something negative to say about every sentence in every essay you write for him. He'll even make comments like "You should explain this more" without reading the NEXT sentence in which you DO explain it further. He also seems to have a problem with anyone who has a different writing style than his. If you don't enjoy writing lengthy, often redundant essays, he will mark you down, saying you are too "vague", when really, you were aiming for "concise." If you are assigned him for UWriting, switch immediately.

Apr 2007

Kind of Clueless Uwriting teacher. class was a waste of time. nice lady

Apr 2007

Erika is was great for University Writing. She made class fun and engaging. A year after taking her class when I've seen her on campus she has remembered my name and asked how I'm doing. She's somewhat vague in one-on-one meetings, but still helpful. If you can, take her class.

Mar 2007

Alvan is great! He is a ex-medical student now turned humanities-guy, so he's seen everything. He's really flexible when it comes to workload, but face it, with this class, there's bound to be a lot. He puts in the extra hours to help you out with your writing, and if you ever feel stressed out, he is there to help.

Mar 2007

Lianne comes across as shy, and terribly nice, but she's the real deal. I agree with the previous reviewer that she is pretty flexible with due dates, but do not push her! She can obviously tell when her good nature is being taken advantage of; at least one person in the class felt they could try their luck when it came to handing stuff in, and had the temerity to be shocked when Lianne wouldn't accept the assignment. A very fair grader, and incredibly knowledgeable - Lianne is very young, but shaping up to be a great teacher.

Mar 2007

There are better University Writing instructors out there, from what I have heard. That being said, it was her first time teaching the class (she is a young graduate student). She can be pretentious at times but is not a disagreeable person. She did a good job of selecting interesting readings that led to good essay topics, better than other UW sections. Many of the classes were not very helpful, but I suppose it is the course's fault (lots of workshopping, basic writing tips, lackluster discussions about the readings). Get on her good side early, because she develops impressions that lead to fairly consistent grades. Participate in class. We were on the portfolio grading system which meant that we basically just got an arbitrary grade at the end based on her overall impression of us so keep that in mind if that is the case for your class.

Mar 2007

Very nice. Calm, funny, tries very much to be enthusiastic. Brings food sometimes. Very dedicated to helping you improve your writing. Won't pick on you. Let's everyone just be. But don't be late to class.

Mar 2007

Instructor Ordinaire is usually on time and very prompt about what she wants to do. However, she gives a lot of work for each class. Her grades are a bit on the low side, so if you want a better grade, it is advisable to go to her office hours and find out what's wrong with your essay and tailor it to her taste. There's a lot of reading and writing every class, a regular assignment is usually around 600-1000 words. The assignments are always due next class. She expects close reading on every text, which means you have to spend additional time scouring every passage on the text.

Mar 2007

The previous review should be taken with a grain of salt. University Writing as a class is not great and I think much of the frustration with Kanika came from a general frustration with the class. That being said I think Kanika was an excellent instructor, especially for her first semester of UW. At first I did not enjoy the class or her style of teaching but in the end I realized that I was more upset about the class as a whole and that Kanika really helped me improve my writing, which is the goal of the course. The workload is the same as any UW course, all of my friends in other UW classes had the same complaints about the workloads or disappointing grades. She is a strict grader, which many of the UW teachers are, so that should not be a surprise to anyone. I think another reason why people had so many problems with her was because it was the first time that many students, myself included, had had their writing critique. However, she is a very fair grader (if you write a paper an hour before its due, don't expect to get an A) and will meet with you to talk about any problems you have. She was always available to discuss my paper and any drafts or ideas I had, allowing me extra time to work on extra drafts if needed. This was especially admirable because she was dealing with a few personal health issues, which only speaks more to her dedication to her students. You have to work hard in her course, just as you have to in any UW class. I had a very low grade on my first paper but was able to pull my grade up to an A- because of Kanika's help. Just meet with her! If you are not a jerk to her, she will be nice to you. What matters most is if she knows that you are trying and if you meet with her a few times your papers will not only improve but you will get the extra 1/3 of a letter grade boost at the end. If you are a jerk and constantly talk about how you don't like her, then you can't really expect to get too much from her or the course.

Feb 2007

Professor Robin Kirman is not only a dedicated and brilliant professor, besides mastering her field- she is publishing her second book now in a very short time span- she is genuinely concerned with her students. I am a transfer student myself and I have had the opportunity to attend college for 4 years before and I hardly see in one person such a balance between being competent and really caring about the people you are teaching. Robin starved in class for everybody’s participation, specially with the shy students which she was sensitive enough to detect at an early stage during the semester. No matter how extreme and bizarre our personal experiences were, which they were because we admittedly have peculiar stories to tell as GS students, she would pay close attention to our arguments and politely urged us to elaborate on them on the fly and get at the bottom of things. If you get a chance to enter one of her classes you will find a sensitive sweet human being who inspires you and encourage you to feel confident about expressing your thoughts, you will hear constantly phrases such as “I am willing to be convinced”. In terms of feedback, it does impress me how quickly she finds ways of detecting what needs to be fixed in your essays. She is blunt when she needs to get a point across and will not hesitate to ask you to re-structure your essays if they need to, but she just does not only tell you to do so, she works with you, like a partner and builds up with you your own arguments. Unlike many other professors, she is not afraid to spend long hours outside of the classroom to work with you individually on a single essay, however she manages to use that sensibility she has as a writer to inspire you to be the agent of your own ideas. She is just great. To be honest I was so happy with her class and I began to do the assignments with such passion and high expectations that she made me even hesitate whether or not I should continue with my current choice of major or switch. When you go to her class you do not feel like you are going to a classroom, you feel like you are entering a territory where ideas you did not even know you had are both challenged and refined.

Jan 2007

I thought Kanika was a good teacher. I happened to have her for her first term teaching and her inexperience did show at the beginning of the semester, but she is a great writer and always had very helpful advice. I feel I definitely improved as a writer after taking her course. My only complaints are 1. She massacred my print quota for no good reason, 2. a few of her lectures were inane, such as the first in which spent 20 minutes listing different types of lenses, and 3. many of her day to day written assignments were a waste of time. Survival tips: don't print anything and just say you forgot and bring a computer to class so you can both access your papers online and mess around when bored. Also, none of the day to day assignments are graded - if it's not going to help your essay, don't spend more than 10 minutes on it. That said, try to take her advice, as harsh and pointless as it may seem at times - she knows what she's talking about. If you find some of her advice unnessesary, argue with her and you'll either convince her you're right or realize that she has a point.

Jan 2007

Kanika will challenge you to become a better writer. Keep in mind her class is not easy but it WILL make you a better writer. She is very critical of your writing and not an easy grader, but if you take her comments to heart and work hard you will become a better writer. She was a bit disorganized at times and it took a while to get things back but in the end she was a good teacher....In short her class is not fun, but worth it. Stick it out and you'll gain something...

Jan 2007

Yes she is somewhat of a hard grader, but she is very friendly and an excellent instructor. However, if you talk to her about drafts, take her suggestions, bring your work to the writing center and genuinely work to improve your papers, you can certainly get an A. I don't consider myself to be a good writer by any means, but I spent a lot of time on the assignments and got an A in the course.

Jan 2007

I was dreading this class, since I've taken several college-level writing courses before coming to Columbia, and I felt vaguely insulted by being forced to take another. I was pleasantly surprised. I found Julie to be very engaging and very capable. We had excellent class discussions which she mediated and participated in without dominating. Sometimes her feedback was a little vague, and I never found the one-on-one meetings with her to be particularly helpful, but she was always happy to answer questions in and out of class. Twice I emailed her with last-minute questions (one of which was very vague, along the lines of "I'm stuck, help me") and she responded promptly and comprehensively. Although I wanted more specific feedback, her open-ended comments challenged me more and probably were more helpful in the long run than telling me exactly what to do would have been.

Jan 2007

I have to disagree with the previous review. Kanika was an excellent teacher who always made the time to meet with myself repeatedly, regardless of serious illness she was facing. I must have met with Kanika about one of my essays 10 times before I handed in and then another 2 times about re-writing it. She was very much a fair grader but she was brutally honest as well. She was always quick to respond to e-mails. When I worked with Kanika one on one, she was a fabulous instructor who helped me explore ideas and clarified many problems in my writing that I had not seen before. I will agree that it did take a long time for her to grade our work and I will say that some of the ideas for the essays were a little hazy but I believe that that had more to do with the class itself (Lens essay anyone?) than Kanika's teaching abilities. To be honest, most students who enter University Writing are awful writers, regardless of what their high school teachers have told them. I think a lot of the negativity towards the class and the teacher in particular stem from this - people having to reassess their assumptions about their own writing. I understand the negative feelings and must admit that I did not like the class until the last two weeks when I saw a genuine improvement in my writing. Kanika actually helped me quite a bit and I will be seeking her help at the Writing Center from now on!

Jan 2007

A young, but very knowledgeable teacher. She will give you extensive feedback on your writing, which helps a lot. Very flexible with due dates, depending on how the class is moving.

Jan 2007

Overall, I enjoyed my UWriting class with Kanika this semester. While she did tend to take awhile handing back assignments, she generally was a good teacher. All of the comments she offered on my papers were helpful, and the required meetings with her were particularily useful. Classes were never too boring, as long as you came prepared and paid attention. My only problem with Kanika was her grading, which seemed much harsher than that of other UWriting instructors.

Jan 2007

If you can, get out of her class. She seems pretentious, and assumes we've read and studied every single major philosopher (ie Kant, etc). She is also a harsh grader. Even though she may have good points about your writing, she will say it in a way that completely degrades you. If you are stuck with her, do not get on her bad side. Just participate and try to do really well on the essays. Overall, a really bad experience in her class. She ruined UW for me, even though UW isn't exactly an exhilerating experience itself.

Jan 2007

Kalpana is sweet woman who made UWriting worthwhile, something that not many profs can do. She won't let you get away with a b.s. paper and she doesn't want you to come late, but she is a sensible grader who truly wants to see you improve. Personally, I think it's refreshing to find a professor who will put some effort into a class that most people blow off. She doesn't treat this class as a joke, so don't expect it to be. In the end, if you work hard, you can get something out of the course.

Jan 2007

She's vibrant, nice, and helpful. If you somehow manage, or at the very least attempt, to switch out of her section, you are foolish, doltish, and perhaps a tad demented. Like any good U.W. teacher should, she avoids the mere mention of "Lens Essay" and "Conversation Essay" though she couldn't, despite her best efforts, avoid using the clunky and deservedly feared "CCP." She basically forces you to meet her during office hours, which actually is nice, since she provides good feedback. Etc etc etc, I could go on, but I think you get my message.

Jan 2007

Kalpana is nice ... she brought in food for us a few times and understood that we had other classes to be worrying about. She is also lenient about letting you turn work in later if you forgot to bring it to class, or if the Carman printers are being retarded. But we do have quite a work load, though most UW classes are like that. If you like writing it will be fun, and the essay topics were actually pretty interesting, I'd never written anything like that and I learned a lot. If you hate writing, you'll hate this class. That's not Kalpana's fault. She is very passionate about this subject and is very clever. She gives you the grade that you deserve. But most importantly, YOU CANNOT BE LATE FOR THIS CLASS. Let me reitterate this. YOU CANNOT BE LATE FOR THIS CLASS! Much less not turn up, because if you do it often enough, your grade will suffer (dammit). Kalpana will treat you the way you deserve.

Jan 2007

i did not like Vy's class becuase of how she administered the portfolio system. She would give us preliminary grades on our essays which were usually very good. However, if we did not make radical revisions to our essays (which many times were given provisional grades of As or Bs) Vy would give us lower grades later in the year. An A in the provisional grading stage went down to a B- later in the year. She forced us to come to office hours and many times her advice was vague (her favorite comment was "grapple with this more") or nonexistent. She is a nice person and some of the class exercises were fun but she is tough grader and bad at commenting.

Jan 2007

Maggie made this class a pleasure. I hear UWriting can be a real pain, but having Maggie saved me loads of stress and taught me in the process. Maggie was genuinely interested in both teaching the course and the subject material of her readings. I could tell she gave ample time to think over the readings, and she has enough experience teaching this course to explain each initially-baffling standard UWriting progression. She gave back very detailed comments on my drafts, offered to set up appointments to discuss each draft (once or twice per draft if you want), and was just very helpful. Her flexibility in giving me the choice of essay subjects was a relief, and I actually ended up learning about new disciplines that interested me and other sorts of fascinating things. She almost always facilitated discussion well. With the twelve-person seminar style, this was crucial. She was always prepared. I can say nothing negative about UWriting with Maggie. I do admit that I've liked writing to begin with, but I believe Maggie is one of the best instructors for this course. You can't go wrong with her.

Jan 2007

How poor Andras got stuck teaching the GS students is quite beyond me. The class is not so much about improving your writing as it is laughing at your fellow students, most of whom cannot construct a simple sentence, let alone any sort of a coherent paper. Despite the poor intellectual quality of the majority of his students, Andras really does go out of his way to be helpful. If you cannot attend his office hours, he will be sure to schedule another time (even if it inconveniences him) where you can meet up with him and discuss. If you show him that you're slightly smarter than the average bear, he'll open up somewhat. The only downside is he's an extreme liberal, and most of the class reading material reflects that. The readings were truly awful in an intellectual sense, but generally quite an easy read. The only exception was an idiotic (long, pretentious, pseudo-intellectual, incoherent) essay written by two people in the Columbia English department. Whoda thunkit.

Jan 2007

I liked Julie a lot as a person and she has an enthusiasm for the subject, and we had good discussions in class. But she sometimes was intimidating because she seemed to be so into intellectualism. kind of very subtely, and not on purpose, made you feel stupid. tough grader. my main problem with her was that I felt she didn't give thorough criticisms of your papers until she handed them back with the grades on them, before that you only got very broad criticisms. she spent a lot of time helping you pick topics to write about, but she wasn't interested in fully critiqueing your papers until had to stick a grade on them. at which point it is too late for you.

Dec 2006

Kanika is a pretty disappointing teacher. Her classes are boring. She has a tendency to talk and talk without really seeming to say anything. Her homework load is similar to that of other teachers, though she takes so long to hand back assignments that they often start to pile up. A month or so into the course she stopped grading and handing back our writing exercises when she fell behind in grading. Often we would turn in a draft of an essay, and the next draft would be due before she even had time to give comments on the first. Even when we did get comments back, I thought they were vague and unhelpful. The course was graded very harshly, and the average grade was a fair amount lower than in other sections.

Dec 2006

I regret to say that Julie Sexeny is the worst Professor I have ever had for an English class. The work load in this class was heavy and pointless in most cases. It was a painful experience and I would strongly recomed you to stay away from Prof. Sexeny if you want to learn something in UW.

Dec 2006

The class itself was usually very enjoyable. He always came extremely prepared, and even though we (the students) very often steered off course, he learned to account for even this in his lesson plans. He is also very witty and makes great transitions from off topic rambling back to the discussion. Sometimes he had trouble making the assignments clear, but he always attempted to clarify what he was saying, whether through one on one talks in class or through e-mail, or even through giving a new assignment. I think somebody else mentioned that his goals are often a bit too lofty for the class, and I would probably tend to agree. However, he really is an intelligent and very sweet guy who genuinely cared about helping us to improve our writing and was always willing to meet with us individually about our writing and offer advice. I would have to agree, however, that he is a pretty harsh grader. As a published writer and a (prospective) English major, I definitely did not do as well as I think I should have and would have liked to. I also know that I received one of the highest grades in the class... but that didn't really alleviate the shock of the grade itself. I was also in one of the pilot portfolio classes which probably affected the class a LOT-- I think that a lot of the shock of the grade came from the fact that because it was a portfolio class (meaning we were not graded on each individual essay, but rather a portfolio put together at the end of the course), I had no idea what grade to expect really, and therefore was very caught off guard at the end of the semester.

Dec 2006

She has a very flexible teaching style which is reflected in how she tries to work with the material and ideas that each student brings to class. The exercises were dropped in the beginning of the term so the main focus was on the papers. She is very committed to office hours and will make outside appointments to go over your paper and offer helpful hints for revisions. The topics for the papers were entirely up to the student's decision, which was great because the you can either be consistent in your topic choices (such as religion, music, pop culture, business) or jump to totally different areas for your own personal curiosity. Overall, an enjoyable class for those of us in it, which is something you won't hear from a lot of people who took University Writing.

Dec 2006

I have mixed feelings about Donna. On the exterior she is great. Very approachable, seemingly interested in what you're writing about and she's a good listener. The things I didn't like about her though is that she can be really rude sometimes. Someone can walk into class a minute late and she chews them out like they're five when she rarely starts on time as it is. She also gives slightly misleading advice on her drafts. My first draft I followed her advice as precisely as possible and she still gave a rather bad grade and contradicted her own advice from before. She can be kind of snippy and comes off as being kind of pretentious too sometimes. She also likes to workshop one on one in class which is absoultely useless to those who aren't being workshopped and really a waste of time for 11 of 12 people at a time. She is good about letting you write about whatever you want so long as you follow the structure of each progression, which is great. Her husband also subs now and then for her and he's great, lots of fun. Overall she's good, I'd take her any day to most other UW professors, she just needs to bring the pretention level down a bit.

Dec 2006

What you get back from Tara is exactly what you put in. She knows when you aren't working and it reflects in your writing. She's one of the nicest, most available people on campus, but you really need to take advantage of her kindness and meet with her often and take ALL of her suggestions. She holds conferences before every paper is due and you need to absolutely go to those and take advantage of everything she says. She knows what she is talking about. If you drift through the class, expect to get a C. She's a tough grader, and that makes the conferences all the more important. It's essential you constantly improve yourself throughout the class. Don't make your first draft a throwaway draft. When she says she wants you to revise your paper for two hours, she really wants you to revise it for a whole two hours. In the end, UW is a lot of work, but it really can be useful if you actually try. The material is boring and dry, but the writing you can churn out doesn't have to be.

Dec 2006

Isaac is by far an amazing teacher. The first day of class, I knew he would be amazing just by the way he was dressed. He's an awesome teacher and I realy feel like everything he did helped you towards becoming a better writer. Not only was he an amzing instructor, but he was really funny and nice. Whenever you would go visit him during office hours, he would always ask you how things were going in your own life, he really geniunely cares about his students. As I already said, Isaac really helps you improve your writing by offereing effective insructions that can help you towards a better paper. His comments are comprehensive and VERY LONG, but that really helps you towards improving your owrn writing. If you get Isaac as your teacher, prepare to work hard, but Isaac is worth it.

Dec 2006

Ondrea is bizarre but awesome. Take her class. Although she is often moody, erratic and unpredictable, she is very interesting and always willing to help you out. She has this incredible ability to know exactly what is wrong with your paper and she knows how to articulate how to fix those problems. Her selection of reading assignments was fantastic. She really emphasizes post-modernism, which is totally cool and makes for awesome and invigorating class discussion. But the reading assignments and the papers are essentially all the work there is to the class - it's not a lot of work, it's a lot of abstract, bizarre thinking. I took her class thinking I was an awesome writer and that UW would be a cake walk. Thank god I had Ondrea to shut me down and humble my ass. Some of these papers were ridiculous and because her reading assignments all relate to post-modernism in some way, though they rarely speak to each other, Ondrea's students have a tough time with the lens and the conversation essay. But, her students probably learn how to write more intricately. However, I'd say she grades pretty leniently. Don't be late for her class, and always do the reading (everything we read is fascinating). Go to her office hours, she is always willing to help you out.

Dec 2006

ISAAC IS AMAZING. He is the kind of teacher who is both a friend and an instructor. He is completely cool, young, and fun. The best part is that he is really smart, and actually knows what he is talking about. The classes are extremely well structured and taught even better. His comments are helpful and well thought out. He really puts a lot of time and effort into the class and wants you to improve your writing, and he CAN help you do that. He used to be a student at Columbia as well, so he understands what it is like to be a freshman and how much work you have. It is a pleasure to be in Isaacs class and just to know him in general. Isaac is one of the few TAs I've met who teaches on the same level as a professor. Congrats if you have him, if not, try and switch in...

Dec 2006

Maggie is an instructor who always comes to class with a smile on her face and tries to have fun with a class that I felt was extremely trivial. She is always available for extra help and provides detailed suggestions on all essay drafts.

Dec 2006

Alicia is a great University Writing instructor. She's knowledgable of and enthusiastic about the material, and she always has great suggestions on how to improve your writing. She's a nice person and understands that students have a ton of other committments in addition to the work for this class, but doesn't let the class walk all over her. One of the best things about having her as an instructor is that she puts in a ton of time and energy into reading students' work, revising it, and meeting with students. She assigns a lot of challenging writing assignments, but you won't feel like you are doing pointless busywork. I felt like every assignment helped me become a better writer in some way, even though it was stressful to do them. When meeting with students Alicia sometimes gets overly enthusiastic and throws out too many ideas about how to formulate an argument or revise an essay, which can be confusing, but her suggestions are always great.

Dec 2006

Alvin was a very nice guy, and did his best at explaining the progressions for the class which were sometimes very abstract. He was a stickler with getting things done, and sometimes used extensive readings that seemed unnecessarry. But he always made sure you produced something that got you a good grade and really let you direct the class.

Dec 2006

Apparently no other class liked U.W. but my class had a blast! We LOVED Emily. She's young, fun and smart. Her readings aren't the usual boring U.W. stuff. She also doesn't make you do any of the weird writings that other teachers do, in fact she's very straighforward about her expectations. Straightforward final paper and C.C.P. lets students choose any topic basically. Made U.W. an awesome experience and learned alot from her.

Dec 2006

I don't understand the Ewa bashing that goes on at CULPA. After reading the reviews, I was a bit neverous about the class. After the first few weeks I realized that many of the criticisms listed in other reviews are baseless. First of all, her command of English is perfectly fine. Obviously her linguistic background means she has an accent, but her written comments demonstrate a more than adequate command of English. Ewa is fun and promotes conversation in the class. She is genuinely very nice and wants her students to do well. UWriting is by nature rather painful because of the sheer absurdity of some of the assignments, but that is hardly her fault. As it is, Ewa puts more effort into the class than any of the students. She is willing to meet outside of class to work with students. If you actually work on her suggestions you will become a better writer, but even if your basic intent is to just "get through" the class this should be relatively painless.

Dec 2006

If you do not care about your grade at all, take University Writing with Khary. He never clearly explains what he is looking for in your writing, because I suspect that he does not know. Also, he definitely did not read my papers before class because midway through the semester he told me my posting were inaccessible. Class discussions are disjointed because he asks for everyone's opinion, but eventually he skips from point A to point Z and forces everyone to agree with some statement of his own. He is often late or misses class because of his movie and forces us to reschedule. Conferencing is useless because his advice is always conflicting or contradicts the point you are actually trying to make. You will not learn anything and your writing may actually suffer from this. Good luck to you.

Dec 2006

Isaac is amazing. The class itself is one of the less interesting parts of the Core Curriculum, I think, but he really makes the best of it. He's a pretty funny guy and is always willing to meet with you outside of class to help you with your papers or writing in general. He's almost too eager for my taste since I fear meeting with instructors outside of class, but it's wonderful to see a teacher care so much about his students' work- especially since he's a grad student. It's ironic, almost, since he's one of the best teacher I've had this semester. One of the best things about Isaac is his essay comments. Sometimes his comment will actually equal the length of your essay. He's very good at helping you tweak your work and guiding you in the direction of "fruitful questions." At same time, however, he is a hard grader. Well, not so much a hard grader as someone who really gives you the grade you deserve. Even though you'll have to work for your A, you'll learn a lot about writing in the process (and probably more than this course was designed to teach you. Which reminds me: I have no idea what it was supposed to teach me). Very few people like Uni Writing, so there's not much hope there, but you should consider yourself very lucky if you get Isaac as your teacher.

Dec 2006

First off University Writing is something everyone has to take, so that means it is going to suck not matter what and feel like the biggest waste of tuition imaginable, but having taken Julie's class, I feel like the school needs give me my money back. She is the dumbest teacher I have ever encountered. She is nice, I will grant her that and she does extend the deadlines if you ask her, but her teaching style is so confusing and vague that it makes you want to rip your hair out at the thought of going to class. She separates herself from the class and talks down from her high intellectual perch, speaking in the most indistinguishable terms possible. When you ask her questions about her assignments or to clarify points of confusion, she has a tendency to repeat her self, word-for-word, over and over again, and afterwards you are still confused, but at this point it is useless to ask again, because it is like hitting the repeat button on a CD player. If you are a visual learner, who likes pictures to help clarify her theories on writing, donÂ’t take her, because she draws these abstract pictures on the board, with arrows and lines pointing somewhere and nowhere at the exact same time with out any reason or rhyme to them, that will make sense at the time, and when you look at them after class, they will mean absolutely nothing. If youÂ’re a person who needs specific examples to help you with her lessons, forget about it. When asked to give a helpful example she either doesnÂ’t have the capacity or doesnÂ’t have the desire to come up with an example. Her class has been the biggest disappointment and most of the people that were in my class have agreed. I would not recommend taking her if you have the opportunity to choose. I know they sometimes do not post the instructors names when you register so it will be like shooting blind. So if you get stuck with her for your teacher and canÂ’t get out, then my sympathies go out to you.

Dec 2006

Alicia's enthusiasm was contagious enough to neutralize the fact that this class was at 9:10 twice a week. She earnestly tried to improve your writing and always made time for you to meet with her outside of class if needed. The bottom line is, we cared because she cared. Although she didn't perform miracles in making us all fantastic writers, she helped us see the path to what a fantastic writer was and maybe also cleared some debris, depending on what kind of shape you were in when you started.

Dec 2006

He is a nice person, but really hard to please. If you love writing, take it with him, but if you don't, get another instructor 'cause you might be able to get better grades with less effort.

Dec 2006

Alicia deSantis is a great teacher. She never assigns too much work, but you learn a lot and improve your writing tremendously. Though you do have to do 3 really dumb essays (all of them are just university writing standard ones), she really makes them seem probably much more interesting than they are. all in all, i highly recommend her to anyone who has to take u.w.

Nov 2006

This guy mad a particularly useless class a lot of fun, and if you have a chance to have him you should probably stick with him. On the first day it seems as though the course is going to be packed with work, but once things start rolling you find that time just flied by. Four papers are required for the course, all relatively simple, but the CCP research paper is a pain. The fourth one is easy, just reflecting on one of our previous essays. He gives us ample time to complete the essays, and he leaves individual comments that are useful and beneficial to creating a better essay. He's a relatively fair grader, as long as you correct the mistakes that he points on your drafts. All in all, a great guy, if you get the essays in on time and correct mistakes from the drafts, you should be in for an A/A-.

Nov 2006

This professor is difficult. She definitely knows what she is talking about and will make you a much better writer, but she is a ridiculous when it comes to grading. She gives a ton of work, much more than other UW professors. I thoroughly disliked this class and I'd say that most people do anyway, but for me it was especially unenjoyable knowing that I had Ms. Narayanan waiting for me at class. She is strict but smart, if you feel you want to work your ass off go for it, otherwise find another UW teacher.

Nov 2006

whatever you do, try not to get this professor. She is always confused and never has her own ideas straight. But if you learn to write the way she likes, you will do fine. P.S she usually only likes papers that drastically change, so basically you have to write a new draft every single time.

Nov 2006

i mistook her for a student on the first day of class. she graduated from barnard (negative) but was the editor of the spec (positive). a little strange, but at times quirky in a somewhat enjoyable way. she always answeres your questions with questions and cant explain the difference between a conversatin essay and a lens essay (not really her fault tho, they're both bs constructions). she loves overanalyzing how writers make their arguments in class by listing the "features" of the essay and identifying the "exhibits." that kind of vocabulary gets annoying. it's also annoying how she uses the word "vocabulary" to mean much broader things. she's very serious about a lot of bs stuff. often times the time in class is a complete waste. her comments on essays make you change your ideas and pretty much write a whole new essay. she knows a lot of detailed random facts about movies, books, etc. her best quality: one day in class she very seriously recited some of eminem's lyrics and then continued to talk about flavor flave in flavor of love, also very seriously. just ironic.

Nov 2006

If you just got assigned Julie Sexeny as your UW teacher just know that YOU CAN DO BETTER!!! True: she is a fine person and you will not do horribly but still why put yourself through that? The initial HWs went from 250 to 500 to 750 to 900 to 1300 to 1500 words and then it cooled down. It was hell in the beginning and then it was just pretty bad. Our CCP and retrospective essays were due on the same day right before finals. I never really got what she wanted and did not find the in-class-exercises helpful in developing my writing. Overall, UW is a pointless course, but this class makes it harder than it should be.

Nov 2006

Excellent, engaging, intelligent! Alicia is very passionate about what she teaches and is genuinely interested in bettering your writting. She does not bull shit but gets to business and does a great job. Anyone who has her is extreamely fortunate...

Nov 2006

After reading the reviews on this site I was terrified on the first day, but I have found Ewa to be a decent instructor who is immensely helpful in reading drafts and suggesting changes. Though she does have trouble speaking english, her comments on my papers are complex and multifaceted, indicating a mastery of the minute implications of the nuances of my own essays. While clarity is lacking as a result of the language barrier, she is a relatively easy grader and the classroom experience is relatively painless and discussion based.

Nov 2006

I entered UW in spring 2006 with the expectation of hating it, but in the end I found that I learned a lot. The course sharpened my analytical skills and ability to integrate outside sources into papers. Ondrea is a very capable instructor, chooses interesting essays to read, and gives good feedback on papers. Class discussion was awkward at times, but I genuinely enjoyed it once we all became more comfortable with one another.

Oct 2006

Beaumont was really talented without being pretentious, unlike most writing teachers who tend to take themselves a bit too seriously. His criticism was both insightful and constructive, and we all appreciated the individual attention that he offered during our private conferences as well as when reading our rough drafts (and the endless series thereofÂ…). I definitely think that I developed as a writer over the course of the semester and, judging from our peer-group criticism sessions, can attest to the fact that most other students in the class greatly improved their writing skills as well. His enthusiasm about his doctorate studies actually made me consider abandoning pre-med to go into the humanities, until I realized that his work requires that he spend more hours in Butler than the best of the pre-med neurotics. IÂ’m not sure if he still teachers U Writing, but, if so, I would definitely recommend taking Beaumont.

Sep 2006

This guy rocks. Everyone says they hate UW but I love it. I also have him for an early morning class but I always perk up because of his engaging nature. I was worried about my writing but he gave me a lot of confidence. He has a great sense of humor and gives fantastic feedback. He's also really good at keeping the class on track and making it productive. I would say he's been a big help to me in all aspects of my academic writing. 2 thumbs up. Let's just hope he doesn't turn into a worn out academic with age.

Sep 2006

She's a helpful teacher, and from what I've heard about the teachers in the other University Writing sections, one of the best and most flexible out there. She'll try to help you out as much as possible, and she makes herself available outside of class, too.

Sep 2006

She's a nice person, although a bit of a hard grader. I did enjoy my class, because she did a good job of leading discussions and assigning reasonable projects and whatnot. Given the nature of the class, she did a good job. UW is pretty useless and I'm pretty glad she was my teacher and not someone worse.

Sep 2006

Probably the best teacher I've ever had. Grades tough but you won't care because what you learn will make up for it in your other classes. Great guy, extremely engaging, you're lucky if you have him.

Sep 2006

I had Miranda for my General Studies section of UW. Now, UW is a terrible class, an annoying waste of time and energy. I distinctly remembering on the feedback survey that, in response to the question, "What did you learn in University Writing?", that I answered, "University Writing is a waste of time." That being said, Miranda is a very kind person, though sometimes a bit flaky, but does take time to help her students with the often irritating tasks of UW. Everyone has to take this class, but if you get Miranda as a professor, it will alleviate slightly the bothersome tasks of UW.

Aug 2006

She's a nerd and chances are that you are too. So, there shoudln't be any clashing of ideals. She teaches to material exactly as she was instructed to. Nothing fancing and extra complicated is added. She's not memorable, but she's very nice and she will be respectful of all your questions and comments. Also, she could potentialy make you a better writer. Her comments on papers is fantastic and you'll find that any revision is going to be waaaay better. She's helpful and sweet. That's all there is.

Aug 2006

Megan is really down to Earth, and conducts class in a comfortable yet effective manner. She is a fair grader, and really tries to work one-on-one to improve her students' writing. She gives very little hw aside from the main writing assignments.

Aug 2006

UW with Prof. Greco was the highlight of my entire freshman year. It may have been the readings, which were all absorbing and thought provoking, making writing the Lens, Conversation and related essays not too difficult. The nature and set-up of the class. Ok, some people hate UW but think about it: it's basically 12 students having a chat and discussions can get very lively because sometimes the thoughts of your fellow students be far more interesting than you could have guessed. But SHE probably had the most to do with the class being so fun. She really makes an effort to encourage class discussion and to engage everyone (our class took some prompting to get started but it was fun once everyone got into it). Her office hours can be very helpful if you're stuck on your essay or can't think of what to write about. And once those rough drafts, or pre-rough draft short essays, are turned in, she writes really insightful comments, sometimes deriving ideas from the essay that I wasn't even aware of. Plus, she's a great person.

Aug 2006

Terrible. Hardly comments on drafts, sometimes doesn't even return exercises, and just isn't helpful. It's also interesting how everyone can get the same grade on a paper (B-) especially after seeing different people's writing. They're not that similar. If it is at all possible, do not take this instructor. If you are already in his section, switch it even if you have to take a class that gets out at midnight or starts (G-d forbid) at 8AM. Trust me.

Aug 2006

I was in Andrea's UW section in the spring of my freshman year. I'll be a junior this fall; this review is a little overdue but incorporates some valuable retrospective. There are probably worse sections for UW, but Andrea's was a rather bad experience for me. I got an A (the grading didn't seem as tough as the previous reviewer claimed) but I felt like I didn't get anything out of the class. The feedback I received on papers was vague and my writing barely improved. My political views are conservative compared to most of Columbia's and I felt a little annoyed sometimes - most of the readings were from very liberal writers. We were broken up into pairs for various writing assignments; I was consistently paired with either the athletes or non-native English speakers in the class. It was valuable getting to know a young man who grew up in China, but editing his papers was just impossible. I don't mean to be denigrating to athletes and foreign students. They are entitled to learn and be full participants in the Columbia academic environment. They probably got even less out of the class than I did. If you're looking to learn English, Andrea's section is not the place. I'm an engineering student (don't laugh) who's applying to law school, and I haven't had much opportunity to improve my writing in an academic setting. I went into UW expecting that; instead I found myself being forced to help some very poor writers with little guidance to enhance my own. Maybe I'm just pining for L&R. As for Andrea's teaching style, she seems to get very wishy-washy and unfocused. Maybe the 9:10 class time and preponderance of athletes and foreign students contributed to the atmosphere, but the bottom line is that Andrea is a bad teacher. Switch if you can.

Jul 2006

I disagree completely with the previous review dated 5/30/06. As I have said before my problem with her was not that she didnt teach grammer or basic sentence construction, but that her own language and writing failed to impress and was often awkward and inadequate. Her comments and the corrections she cited were difficult to understand because they were grammatically jarbled. Out of frustration I have taken her corrected papers to other professors and they have expressed dismay over Columbia's improper screening and lowering of standards for writing instructors. How does a student hone his writing skills when those of their proffessor suck? She has no business teaching writing. I will not comment on her abilities as an Anthropology teacher. It is no secret that Columbia students especially those who are considering to major in the humanities must not only be able to write cogent, strong papers but also maintain certain standards of grammar and punctuation. Ruchi fails completely in the second category. One cannot write a strong paper no matter how good his or her argument is if the grammer and punctualtion are sloppy and imprecise. This inadequate teaching is not what each of us are paying for at Columbia. Please stay away from her. I have a strong hunch that she wrote the last review herself, which shows her inability to accept criticism.

Jun 2006

I didn't expect to enjoy this class, but I did. It improved my writing tremendously because Adam really helps you view your paper from other angles. He runs class well and is that kind of academic cool. My class laughed...alot, and he had no problem with starting class a few minutes late so that we could share the latest in sports or our lives or whatever. He also was organized very well. He schedules papers around vacations and gives you plenty of time for the long research paper. I know others that were scrambling during finals to finish research papers and write the 4th paper, but Adam plans ahead for the student's benefit.

Jun 2006

Sara is a great teacher. Taking U Writing with Sara really changed the way I viewed things. My high school basically taught me to stick to one side of an argument and totally ignore the other but Sara taught me to see both sides to help better support my arguments. She usually expects top notch writing and grammar and will give you the basic lowdown on the stuff, but she isn't a a grammar school teacher or anything like that. She also likes to discuss a lot of things and she's very supportive of students' ideas. Speak up in class because it really counts towards your grade!

Jun 2006

I took Pr. Lespinasse in Fall 05. She is very helpful and very nice inside and outside the classroom. She is very approachable and helped me a lot even after the semester was over. Pr Lespinasse is demanding in terms of quality of work that you submit, however, this is a writing class and if you won't put in the work you will not learn how to write academic essays.

May 2006

I feel compelled to leave a review as my experience with Ruchi could not have been more different than that of the 3/27/06 reviewer (who likely was in my class). Ruchi's strengths lie in her ability to help one hone one's analytical writing skills. She does not have the time to teach grammar or basic sentence structure nor should she have to at this level! Her comments on papers address issues that are problematic with your argument. This is where her background in writing for the social sciences is particularly helpful. If this class is designed to give one a foundation in writing academic papers, it's more benefical to have an anthroplogist as a teacher than a creative writing MFA candidate. The readings were slightly different than what some of the other classes read. They were perhaps challenging but by no means inaccessible. I experienced frustration (as I am sure Ruchi did) that several of the students in the class were either incapable of understanding the readings or just didn't care. Ruchi is a great instructor for students who have solid basic writing skills and are willing to care at least a little about the class. She exhibits a great deal of patience (perhaps more than is deserved). I recieved terrific feedback about where to add things to papers, how to write more streamlined, things to think about to make the claims stronger- stuff I would never have come up with by simply re-reading my own work.

May 2006

A good UW teacher, if a bit of a hard grader. Normally, UW teachers are only in it for 2 years, but Heather will be teaching for 3 (which means you might get to take her class, which is why I am writing this review). Good attitude in class and out, very helpful comments on work that you submit (rough or otherwise), and if you have the chance to be in her class I really recommend it.

May 2006

Richard is one of those professors who makes you sweat all year long, and then gives you the grade you thought you were earning all year long. In this way, he truly challenges you (both your thought and your nerves). He cannot be blamed for the lackluster UWriting syllabus, and he will certainly attempt to extract the most interesting ideas from the texts. In fact, Richard's discussions are all about the ideas. He seems to appreciate heated dialogue that really pulls the meat out of any interesting text, and is not beyond appreciated an argument that hardly even seems to be there. In this way, his classes can seem incredibly annoying. The discussions, not concrete in nature, hardly arrive at a point. The essay assignments are immensely abstract--this is again, a part of the course, although other students I have spoken with have showed me other professor's versions of the same assignment, and sometimes they were much clearer. Richard's comments on papers are often unclear as well. Students had mixed experiences--some claimed he gave remarkably good feedback, including a good balance of prescriptive and well as stylistic and theoretical advice. My experience was not as good; I met with him on pretty much every available occasion (I spent much time with him in 301 Philosophy and/or Butler lounge), but typically left these meetings with no idea where to go with my papers. He said this had something to do with my style, and maybe it did. I did well in his class regardless. Although a bit foggy, Richard is certainly a great guy to have a discussion with, he loves students who have probing ideas and are willing to write daring and exciting papers (versus standard, competent discussions). If you do have him, take advantage of his willingness to meet, and CHOOSE TO GET WRITTEN FEEDBACK unless you are amazing at keeping track of ideas and suggestions given to you during a meeting! You can probably get him to sit down with you over his comments anyway if you don't understand. You won't end up gathering much helpful feedback when you trek over to Philosophy hungover on a Friday morning (and I know several people who have had this experience).

May 2006

Simply put, Ruth is great. She write lots of helpful comments on paper drafts and she provides useful feedback when you meet with her in person (she has everyone schedule a meeting with her outside of class). She is a fair grader, she responds promptly to questions sent via email, and she is generous in allowing enough time to get the essays done. She is responsive to the needs of the class (for example, if the whole class was struggling to meet a deadline, she would give everyone an extension). University Writing is not the most exciting class offered at Columbia, but Ruth makes the experience as pleasant as possible. If you can take her section, you're fortunate!

May 2006

ADAM IS AWESOME. I loved the class, and I came into University Writing expecting to hate it. He was always willing to meet outside of class, was a fair grader, and genuinely cared about his students. University Writing isn't exactly the most exciting class, but Adam made me want to come to class everyday.

May 2006

Shilarna is probably one of the best University Writing teachers out there. She starts the semester off as a very intimidating teacher, prefacing the class with something along the lines of "it's not impossible to get an A, just highly improbable" but don't worry. The work is intense for the first two progressions but lessens dramatically after the conversation essay. She really cares about her students and puts a lot of effort into preparing for each classes. Her lectures are clear and concise and she always has outlines about what she will be lecturing. Her handouts are very clear and easy to understand. She also goes out of her way to make the class feel like a unit, which is really good for a peer-review classes such as University Writing. She's obviously very intelligent and very easy to talk to. She's genuine concerned about her students and she'll make University writing a class that you will love to work for. Totally worth the 9 AM wake up time.

May 2006

Ruth Lexton is an aweomse UW professor. She doesn't take the course too seriously, which is important for a class like UW, which is just an annoying requirement for most people. She is extremely nice --she doesn't want to overload you with work, and she's very lax about deadlines. She didn't even make us write the retrospective (the last, and truly BS essay, where you talk about how much your writing has improved...), and just added another 10 percent to our highest grade. Also, if you're the type of person who can't stand fluffy, pointless writing assignements (which UW is full of) then she's great, cause you can tell she can't stand them either --she's a history person, and expects your essays to have some substance. And most awesome of all, she's Brittish! Not only does this mean that her accent is awesome, but you get better readings because of it. While other classes were reading some nonsense about 'citizens of the world' by Nausssbaum, we were reading stuff by Orwell. So yeah, Ruth Lexton is awesome!

May 2006

Adela was a wonderful teacher. Her kind personality translated into a very approachable yet informative teacher. Definetly be happy if you have her.

May 2006

This guy is awfully harsh and not, in my opinion, even very competent (which he should be if he's going to be a tough grader). Writing is SO subjective a discipline, and I frankly don't think it can be taught. I for one learnt sweet NOTHING with this TA. The class itself was honestly the biggest waste of time I've gone through at Columbia. I think Ben grades harshly for the sake of it. It may also just come down to incompetence. I don't which it is. I know friends who had a really good UW class. They do exist. But this is not it. Get out if you can.

May 2006

Absolutely terrible professor. It seems like he has a very clear idea of what he wants your writing to be, and if you have a different idea about it,then you're out of luck. This may sound tolerable, but he has no ability to explain what he is looking for at all. I also agree with the below poster that it seemed like he was too busy making a movie to put time into our class, he would come to conferences disorganized, seeming like he had not read our papers before that moment.

May 2006

Jon's a really cool guy. He's studying to be a medievalist and he realizes that UW is a bullshit class. I would take the class with him again. He's pretty chill because he's still working towards his Ph.D and he remembers what it's liek to be in college. I went to his office hours alot for papers for other classes and he helped me with those too.

May 2006

A very nice teacher with a good understanding of how to teach the course. Very methodical but interesting... kind of a pushover, though. Ridiculously easy to get in touch with and very helpful in and out of class.

May 2006

if you are lucky enough to get rivka as your u writing teacher you are really blesed. she is the greatest teacher at columbia. she is kind and willing to help people out side of class....soooo basically she is amazing and thank god i had her.....she helped me get through the clas

May 2006

I found this young Professor to be dynamic, knowledgable and motivated to help you. I particularly enjoyed the group working sessions, how well she communicated what was required. I absolutely hate most writing courses - I loved this class.

May 2006

Jason is well-spoken, tack sharp, and very nice. The essays we covered were surprisingly interesting for UW and his seed text for the research paper allowed for a lot of fun, creative possibilities. Unlike a lot of other graduate student teachers I have encountered, he is actually very well-studied in pedagogy already and it definitely shows in his ability to lead discussions and keep the class on course. Overall I would say he's a very fair grader and his suggestions on drafts are usually right on the money.

Apr 2006

I love this woman. She was genuinely interested in helping everyone improve their writing abilities, and she did a good job of cutting through the standard U. Writing jargon so the assignments were clear. She was always willing to meet with students outside of class, and her feedback on papers was helpful. She could certainly be critical in grading, but her points were valid and she took long-term improvement into account. She also catered to our interests in selecting readings, so the course was always pretty interesting in terms of content. It didn't really change my writing style that drastically, but I learned some helpful techniques, and Keri did her best to keep things lively. Overall, a sympathetic and fun instructor who was always well-prepared.

Apr 2006

I agree with the previous reviewer. Hannah is one of the nicest people at Columbia. The course isn't exactly the greatest, but she was able to really help me with my writing. Just remember to show up for class and say a few things to get your class participation grade up. I recommend her if you must take the class.

Apr 2006

Keri is a wonderful UW teacher. I made all my friends jealous talking about how great my UW class was. She is a writer in the school of the arts and taught writing in a ways that I'd never thought about before, like how to use language to make an argument. She is so passionate about writing and teaching. Her comments on my drafts helped me see things about my writing that i never even thought about before, and she was really great in conferences-she obviously paid very close attention to my writing, and would remember page numbers for specific SENTENCES and help me talk about my paper in ways that would help me develop new ideas. She has pretty high standards for grading but does a lot to help you live up to those standards in your writing. Also she's really funny and a caring, dedicated teacher. Definitely take this class with Keri if you have the chance!

Apr 2006

Shilarna is great. Though the class itself is not neccesarily riveting, I dont think any UW classes really are--but Shilarna is extremely devoted, and will help you and meet with you many times to perfect your drafts. She is personable and kind as well.

Apr 2006

Amazing. I have never had a more wonderful, lively, fresh, perfect, kind, AND encouraging teacher. She is so dedicated to her work and her students, and it really shows. Take her class if she teaches next year. Fabulous woman and BRILLIANT!

Apr 2006

Bina is a cool teacher and keeps University Writing relatively chill. Unfortunately, she is very disorganized. It took her many weeks to hand back each of our essays. We never even got to see the grade on our big CCP paper which would have been really helpful for understanding why we got the semester grade we received. Overall though, she is a good teacher but I feel the students would get more out of the class if she actually handed back the papers we wrote and was more clear in explaining why we got a certain grade.

Apr 2006

Ewa is the most terrible teacher I have ever had in any subject ever. At first I was slightly frustrated with her inability to communicate and explain assignments, but I attributed that to the language barrier (she has a Polish accent and lacks an understanding of various nuances in the English language). She was obviously nervous during the first few classes, but I still gave her the benefit of the doubt--maybe things would get better once she became more comfortable with us. WRONG! She constantly told our class we were stupid when the real problem was that we could not understand what we were being asked to do. We had to rewrite more extensively than other UW classes simply because she had not explained the assignment well. She would randomly explode and scream for the tiniest things, such as nail-biting. Rather than helping us each develop our individual writing style, she had us awkwardly contort our papers to her rigid style. She obviously did not know how to relate to us and made assumptions about our past in terms of both cultural background and education.

Apr 2006

Zayd's was my very first class at Columbia...if only all my 9am classes were this engaging! While the essays the department requires are less than enthralling, Zayd made the time spent in class worthwhile. Discussing the articles became more than just an exercise for improving our writing--we had genuinely dynamic discussions and really got to know one another in the class. I do regret not getting to know Zayd early on in the course however...he has an amazingly unique background, and he's definately an instructor to keep in touch with.

Apr 2006

I'm sure Ms. Kara is a wonderful person, but she really should not be teaching. She cannot handle a class of even 12 people. She gets frustrated as hell over weird little things (like when students begin their emails to her with 'Ewa,' instead of the more appropriate and respectful 'Dear Ewa') and she takes out her frustration by yelling at students and publically embarrassing them. She has been complained about to the director of the U Writing program by several people. When it comes to the papers she doesn't grade terribly hard, and usually makes some insightful comments, but has no idea how to correct grammar. Ms. Kara has no control over her class and conducts herself in a very unprofessional manner. If you get her section, get out, or hope she's toned down.

Apr 2006

Hyper and Happy! Yay Writing!! I actually really liked Keri. I thought she did a good job of helping me on my essays, and graded fairly. She liked to sing and dance in class, which I enjoyed and helped me stay awake. I felt she chose good and fair texts, and was willing to help me when necessary.

Mar 2006

Reif is extremely passionate about the class. He was visibly enthusiastic about every reading he assigned and every writing assignment he introduced. He cared a lot for his students, even writing a long letter to us and reading it out loud during our last class period. Reif was very approachable and encouraged students to meet with him during his office hours. I think that I have definitely become a better writer thanks to this class. Reif typed up one-paged, single spaced comments for each of our four papers, filled with good points and constructive criticism. This, however, leads me into my next point... Reif is a tough grader. My biggest complaint about the class is that I feel he could've been harsher in giving us feedback for our first drafts. I was getting positive signals about the first draft of my first paper (e.g. "Great draft! Can't wait to see your final one!") until I received my grade for the final draft --> it was not at all the grade I expected, and my paper was accompanied by a page of harsh comments (esp. when compared to the positive comments from the last draft). Thus, it is wise to meet with him during office hours after your first draft to try and get as much negative feedback as possible out of him, and to get a clear answer as to what you need to improve on. However, I stand by what I said earlier: that Reif gives deserved criticism and makes helpful points about your final paper -- but I think that he is unintentionally "nicer" on your first draft and you need to watch out for that. So, recap: Reif = enthusiastic, passionate, approachable, helpful ...but, watch out for his grading!

Feb 2006

Ben does give out higher than a B+...So don't let that discourage you. He really is brilliant writer. Even his editorial comments on essays are fun to read. I think he's very passionate about writing and his teaching exudes this feeling. The only problem with his class, if you even want to call it a problem, was that he was overly ambitious with what he wanted us to learn. His lesson plan fell apart towards the end of the semester with the CCP paper, an exercise in futility if there ever was one. He is the best UW instructor by far. Fun, helpful, wildly intelligent. You don't want to take the class, but you have to. Take it with Ben.

Feb 2006

Zayd is a young and exuberant professor. He offers a laid back hands on learning approach, and encourages participation from all his students. While he is a stickler for grading, and often pushes for drastic revising, he is a fair and understanding guy. Do take the time to speak with him individually and seek extra guidance for your papers, it will make a big difference come grade time. Also try and take the time to get to know Zayd, he happens to be an aspiring broadway playwrite, with several works under his belt, and an individual strongly dedicated to acadamia. Overall an excellant first year instructor, and good guy.

Feb 2006

She is rude. Sure, she will tell all the things that are wrong with your work- but how to fix it? you figure that out. Drop it and take some one else. She is a worthless black mark on your transcript

Feb 2006

Teachers like Zayd are the reason you go to Columbia. His enthusiasm, intellect, and ability to drive discussion made University Writing the most intersting class during my first semester at college. Zayd offers very helpful advice during workshopping sessions and is dedicated to improving your writing. Put forth the effort for this class and you will get a lot out of it, but not only benefits to your writing. Make sure you go to any of his plays if he has any being produced while you're taking his class. The one I saw was about the Haymarket Square Riot in Chicago with a touch of Zayd's past thrown into the mix. He is probably one of the most interesting people you will meet at Columbia, so get to know him. While most people will bitch and moan about U writing consider yourself very lucky if you get Zayd.

Feb 2006

I took this professor last semester and she was not at all like what the other reviewers said. She was quite knowledgabe and i learned alot. the conferences were actually the best part of the class.

Feb 2006

I liked Joanna a lot. She was respectful, friendly, funny, and serious at the same time. Her comments on papers were very helpful, and she also understood that the design of the University Writing course was terrible, and therefore sympathized with us, if only inadvertently. She was a very fair grader and definitely tried to make the course a little easier on us. Her workshopping methods allowed the students in the class to interact with each other and also with her. She was also very accesisble. If you got placed into Joanna's section, consider yourself lucky.

Feb 2006

Matt Sandler is really down to earth and knowledgeable of some totally random facts. He engaged my UW class in a pretty non-invasive way, letting us interact with each other and create an open dialogue amongst ourselves. His grading wasn't terrible and he's pretty available to help you (while his schedule allows, he's getting like a 5 year Doctorate or something.) All in all, his class didn't give me any heartburn.

Feb 2006

I took University Writing with Alyssa Meyers last semester, and I think that the first reviewer was unfair. I found Alyssa to be receptive to everyone's ideas, easy as a grader, and generally positive about her students' work. I have never seen her come close to shutting anyone down, and I remember often wishing that she was more harsh with regard to her bullshitting students. My problem with Alyssa was that her assignments were not creative. We went through the same exercises for every reading: identifying arguments, evidence, etc., and this repetition was not necessary. My other complaint about the class, whether it had to do with Alyssa or not, is that it is not geared toward improving students' writing. We spent the whole semester writing responses to questions, but never really thinking about how to write well. I did not get much out of this class, but it was the easiest class that I have taken so far.

Jan 2006

Ok, so I do indeed agree with the previous reviews on Diane. So, to prevent giving a redundant "She's an absolutely wonderful teacher!111 you should chose her!", I'm just gonna list some stuff about the class that might be useful. Ok, first thing that separates her UW class from others (and my personal favorite) is that we had next to no writing assignments besides the mandatory ones for the course. Most UW teachers have students read handouts and write 500-1000 word assignments (often ungraded but nonetheless tedious) on them. We didnt have to. There were a few 'reflect and comeback with ideas' things, but nothing tedious at all. Another nice thing is that she doesnt call on people much in class. If discussion is rolling on its own, she'll let those with ideas/opinions keep talking, and the guy who didnt read the assignment can usually sit quiet and just listen. (you'll need to read the assignments in the end, because your papers will be based off of them) One negative aspect we noticed about Diane was that she tends to not voice the fact that someone is getting on her nerves, and once that built up a lot during class, then she suddenly voiced her annoyance and an awkward silence ensued. Anyways, she's a good teach and has my recommendation. I know several of us pulled off good grades in the class, and it wasnt bc she's an easy grader, so much as she'll give you the feedback needed to get the A.

Jan 2006

Adam G. Hooks was an awesome teacher. At first, I was a little hesitant for one reason another about how enjoyable or useful University Writing would be, but he really made it worthwhile. He was always more than willing to meet outside of class (whether to talk about the class or life in general), gave in-depth analysis of our essays, was a fair grader, and (most impressively) was nearly always able to keep all of his students up for the 9 AM Monday/Wednesday class. In addition, he completely changed my mind about the idea of having grad students as teachers—he was as knowledgeable and otherwise performed as well in the role of teacher as any professor I’ve had, and had the advantage (for both us and himself) of being only a few years older than all of his students—he could really relate. All in all, I would recommend him without hesitation.

Jan 2006

Ben is a grad student at Columbia and he is a really nice guy but he takes his job as University Writing teacher a little too seriously and ends up being impossible. He is an extremely hard grader, i think the highest overall grade in my class was a B+. There were essays where the average class grade was a C and for a required first year writing class that was ridiculous. He expects you to turn out amazing, extremely advanced papers, even if you think you are a good writer beware! He is very difficult to please. Also the fact that he gives you these low grades in such a nice way makes you unsure of how to question them. I would avoid this class if possible but if it is absolutely not possible, get to know him, he's a nice guy and go to his office hours as much as possible for advice. You might also want to go to the Writing Center for help. One good thing is that he allows you to rewrite essays at the end of the semester and he boosts the grades then. I strongly suggest doing these rewrites if you got a low grade. At the end of my semester, he actually apologised to my class for grading us too harshly and saying that he expected too much from a first year writing class (understatement of the year).

Jan 2006

Despite hating writing courses in general, Eugene was by far the best writing teacher I've ever had. Goals were clearly defined, and he actually wrote complimentary remarks on the things we did well. And we read some great pieces too (go Lorca!). Would highly recommend him to anyone taking U Writing.

Jan 2006

David made what could have been a very tedious class interesting. Drafts were required for all papers - just be sure to make all corrections as requested for the final draft. Fair grader, genuinely wants students to progress and succeed.

Jan 2006

If you are unfortunate enough to get Alyssa Meyers for University Writing, try in all your power to switch out. Shes cynical always serious and has no sense of humor. When she does laugh it is so off guard that you sit there shocked for the rest of the class. Try to kiss her a** as much as possible because she is very biased, especially with her grading. She is a feminist and does not appreciate it when her knowledge or authority is challenged. If you make a point in class, even if eloquently put, she will shut it down with her own version of exactly what you said. She must think that she is so great because she is teaching at an ivy league school, when it is apparent that she does not know what she is doing. Then again, I haven't met one individual who enjoys University Writing regardless of the professor. Just be prepared for a paper full of red marks.

Jan 2006

Dan White is a well meaning guy, but his grading process and outlines for what he wants in his papers is incredibly hard to follow. Hopefully he'll do better his second semester, but he gives you B+'s for papers that he told you previously were great. You have to push for what you want. He's accepting of ideas, but he's quite nervous. All in all I think he'll be much better second semester.

Jan 2006

Best instructor you could pick for university writing! He understands the student's and is very encouraging. I thought I'd hate taking a writing class, but ended up getting the most out of his class. You should take his class even if it is at an inconvenient time. You won't regret it.

Jan 2006

the concepts can be difficult to understand initially because Prof. Rosman's explanations are not very thorough. His comments are helpful and make sense, but do not make monumental improvements to your writing. Success in the class is almost guaranteed, as long as you write the papers. the other busy work is not entirely necessary, if you read the first page or so, you're usually set for the assignment.

Jan 2006

Diane is probably the best University Writing teacher you can expect to find in Columbia. I was assigned to her section, and I consider myself incredibly lucky for that. Diane is a great writer herself, and she doesn't just sit back and ask you to do the assignments, she completes them herself along with her students. She is very intelligent and "demanding" in the sense that you will have to work on your papers a lot, but she is extremely sensitive, friendly, fair and accessible as well. Even though our time slot was at 6:25 at night, this was never a hindrance to any of us in either inspiration or motivation; I think I speak for my class when I say that every class we shared took us forward in our writing and thinking capacities. Personally I was not expecting to get so much out of a potentially problematic class, but I came to cherish not only her classes but also her office hours and her remarks on my papers and writing in general. So if you have the chance of choosing your university writing section, do not hesitate to take Diane's, whenever it is. If you were assigned to her section, consider yourself extremely lucky. You will get an amazing teacher who not only makes the course thoroughly enjoyable but also helps you challenge and improve your writing.

Jan 2006

Fabulous. Knows his stuff and a nice guy. Make sure you take advantage of his office hours because his one-on-one advise always seems relevent and surprisingly insightful. He actually reads what you write thoroughly, proccesses it, and gives thoughtful responses. Awesome teacher.

Jan 2006

Joanna was friendly and helpful. She wrote detailed comments on your paper or met with you in person for each essay. She only had her students do one draft of each essay where others require two. Not a bad professor at all especially when compared to those of friends, and she even brought us cookies the last day of class. We workshopped essays in class instead of at home. She had a pretty formulaic system of workshopping

Jan 2006

Bina is a cool person and she keeps UW interesting and non-painful with her relaxed attitude and interesting readings. However, I have one major problem with her. The way she grades essays seems rather arbitrary. You can receive a bad grade on a paper just for one minor mistake that she blows out of proportion.

Dec 2005

Nathaniel is a wonderful wonderful teacher and person. He is a fair grader and puts SO much thought into his comments. He may take longer to grade, but its truly worth it. If you take time to read his comments and meet with him, then you will really do well and learn a lot. He doesn't ask for much really, there are no needless assignments or unfair workload. At the beginning there are some managable readings, and maybe one or two response paragraphs. The emphasis, however, quickly is put on papers and drafts. His draft process is very useful, because it forces you to right much of the paper and revise it. He is also very aware of time constraints and understands if you need an extension. The final paper, the CCP, can seem very daunting, which he knows, so he gives an inordinarily long amount of time to research and revise it, which is unbelieveable generous. I give him an A++

Dec 2005

If you have randomly been assigned to Ms. Stokes, you're lucky. She is one of the better teachers in the UW program. She is a very fair teacher and, although the curriculum in UW is restricing, she is very accomodating to the intellectual interests you would like to pursue in your work. That said, she is not a push over. Be prepared to write. I would not say it is an simple A but if you are willing to do some work it is highly manageable.

Dec 2005

She's really nice and down to earth, but sucks at grading, she grades so freakin' hard. All the guys in my class got B+'s, and all the girls got A-'s...I don't get it, stay away from her, there's got to be a better teacher...and one more thing, EVERYONE GOT THE SAME GRADE ON ALL OF THEIR PAPERS!!

Dec 2005

The best. The nicest, smartest, most caring UW teacher I can imagine. He's very accomodating and insightful. He will respond to your drafts with extremely helpful and thoughtful comments that give your no-matter-how-shitty- drafts a chance to receive a good grade. A fair grader, you will not get an A without serious revisions of your papers. As long as you do the work thoughtfully, no matter how bad a writer you are, you can still do well.

Dec 2005

Don't take UW with Prof Roseman if you want to improve your writing; take it for the A. He's a nice guy. He'll meet with you about your papers, and take your comments into consideration while grading. But don't expect him to actually tell you how to write better. He advised me to make my writing less formulaic, which was an absolutely valid criticism, yet he was unable to give me any advice on how to do so. He merely told me that his writing had the same problem, so he couldn't help me. On the plus side, however, he's a VERY generous grader; he told us we'd have to work to get less than a B. Overall, not recommended--we all have to take this class, at least get something out of it.

Dec 2005

Jennifer cares about her students becoming better writers. Dedicate yourself to improving your writing and she will guide you to revising your way into being a good writer. She is completely encouraging while being honest about your work when it sucks and when it excels. She does not use her position to just tear you apart. She uses her influence and comments to build your writing skills. The reading is not heavy but you must do it -- two or maybe three times to write a good essay based on the readings and she can tell when you haven't gotten to know your reading sources -- she will give you an opportunity to correct that. Her teaching and guidance on my rewrites positively transformed my writing. I think a couple of people in my class got 'A's on one or two papers (I did after 3-5 rewrites) which some other UW instructors won't even consider. Jennifer will grade you for the work you do not some arbitrary standard of only giving a B or less. If you earn it, she will give it to you whether it is a C- or an A. The only drawback to her class is that she has an attendance and tardy policy. Aaaargh.

Dec 2005

Great Prof. If you get Elizabeth consider yourself lucky. Very flexible, and very enthusiastic about the material. You really suck at writing if you get below a B on a paper from her....Great Prof

Dec 2005

Emily was such a wonderful welcome first semester freshman year. Unlike some other horror stories I read, she picked mostly interesting stories. Also, her word lengths was 500 words shorter for her CCP essay- which was wonderful for such a brutal essay. She was pretty relaxed about specific parameters in her essay, and liked to let us take the essay where we would. For every essay, she would give us the option of meeting with her, and always gave great detailed comments about our strengths in the essays and different ways we could explore our topic. My only complaint was that we were generally only given two days to write a first draft - but we also were given at least a week to rewrite it. To top it all off, she was the nicest grader!!! In short, take her class - she is the best.

Dec 2005

Adam is AWESOME. I had the class at 9 am and while I never exactly looked forward to waking up at that hour, his was the only class for which I would have done it. He teaches with an easy sense of humor, his comments are extremely helpful, and he's extremely accessible. Overall, he's my favorite teacher I've yet had at CU (although I must grant that he's the best out of four ...).

Dec 2005

Diane is absolutely amazing- she always puts forth the time and effort to make her students understand and to better our writing. She's almost like a student herself, insofar that she does all of the assignments with the class, and participates in the discussion section as if she were a student! You'll never feel intimidated by her, even though she is amazingly intelligent. UWriting was a life-changing experience with Diane.

Dec 2005

Karen is great. She gave lots of helpful feedback on papers, had great suggestions for possible directions to go in, and was really responsive to students' needs. She's fun and laid back, flexible about paper deadlines and excited about writing. take her if you can. Her grading is fair and she wants you to do well.

Dec 2005

Horrible. DO NOT take her. Comes unprepared, likes only boys in class, grades our papers in class giving those papers only 4 min of her attention, useless in class and during conferences. She is a waste of time and space. Unbelievable that she's allowed to teach here.

Nov 2005

The last reviewer is clearly someone who does not appreciate the class itself. For the most part, Casey Shoop is decent,borderline great. While he may give vague instructions, he does recognize that he is being vague and welcomes questions from students. Personally, I ENJOYED the fact that we had to read books for his class in addition to the articles. College classes are meant for students to learn, and while this class did not improve my writing skills, I still learned about the complexities of contemporary issues. Honestly, if you don't like University Writing, then you clearly will not like the professor. Personally, I thought this core class was interesting, not because of its applicability in writing future papers, but because of the progressions in addition to in depth discussions about the articles. Casey himself is extremely nice and is very lenient on pushing back deadlines. While at the beginning of the term, I was unsure of whether I should respect a grad student as my professor, I quickly began to appreciate his discussions more and more. Grading = fair, if you work hard (and hard does not mean an excessive amount of hours but rather attempting to apply his comments and mix some new creative ideas), you will do well. This isn't a joke class... don't think of it as one, otherwise its true you won't like the class or Casey.

Nov 2005

THE WORST. really very under-qualified, and knows it, and feels insecure and therefore is on a weird power- trip. The most painful class I have ever taken at at Columbia by far! once we did an activity where we cut up our papers into paragraphs, put them in an envelope and traded with someone else and then had to see if we could guess the order of the paragraphs and recreate their paper. ON the floor. Terrible.

Nov 2005

If you love thinking about or living in the abstract, as Nate once claimed that he does, you will love Nate's class. However, if you're more into concrete ideas, you will be bewildered and frustrated. However, Nate is really open to just about anything you want to write, which is pretty awesome if you have a great idea. But on the other hand, if you have trouble, Nate is more than willing to meet you for office hours...he is extremely extremely nice, and tries to accomodate to your schedule. As long as you know what to ask him, he is more than helpful with your essays, though his comments are sometimes overwhelmingly long. I actually looked forward to this class, and the class discussions were pretty insightful and fun. Although, there was often confusion as to what the assignments required...or even as to what the actual assignment was, but as long as you tell him so, he tries his best to make it clear. Overall, Nate is a really intelligent guy and he knows what he is doing, and you'll have an awesome time if you enjoy thinking conceptually and don't mind the occasional confusions.

Nov 2005

if you get this class try and switch out to another writing professor. really nice guy but can't teach at all. i came out of this class without learning one thing all semester. nothing ever had a point or made sense to anything relevant to what we were doing. it was very annoying to post to courseworks the day before it was due at 7pm. it was a huge pain in the ass. he's seems to be too busy making a movie to teach this class.

Nov 2005

University writing is a horrible class, but it can get a lot easier with a kind, gentle teacher like Professor Weiss. Although the work load is stiff and if you are like me (don't have much writing experience) Ms. Weiss will try and make the class as fun as possible. She will let you turn in the occasional late assignment with no penalties and if you do all your work, which you should, you'll end up a much better writer.

Nov 2005

SWITCH OUT OF THIS CLASS IMMEDIATELY. In my time in this class, I've seen Casey make 3 people cry because of his ridiculous workload and unreasonable marking. He makes you feel stupid and demoralized, and is generally just a bad teacher. On top of that, where other people could just get their readings on courseworks, we had to go out and BUY the frickin books on our free time. They were expensive too. If you can, do yourself a favor and get into another section as fast as you can.

Oct 2005

Acknowledging previous reviews, it is very hard to get an A in his class. Although this might have a deflationary effect on your GPA at a school where everyone else gets an A- just for showing up, this class will help you think, argue, and write in ways that you never imagined you could. Since I took this class two years ago, I've had no problem writing successful research papers, and more impressively, have never lost a debate with my parents. In short, swallow your pride and do whatever you can to take his course. He's one of the best teachers in the business.

Oct 2005

There are few professors who can really be outside of themselves enough to not only critique your work properly, but to also truly understand where you are coming from and what you are trying to say. Erin is such a professor. What is most noticeable is her upbeat energy which never fails to keep the classroom discussion going. This is a lucky find for GS students who have been out of school for a while because if you haven't been writing for years, or decades, you might be under a lot of stress to get your ideas onto paper in a fashion that you would be willing to show a tenth grader. Shocking isn't it? Well Erin understands that she will help you find your elusive thesis statement, even if you don't have one! Her critique on papers is unbelievable. She will not miss one point where you forget to give proof or evidence, or where you hide agency, although in other departments you'll be allowed to hide agency again! But for now, you'll have to be responsible for what and why you say something. Erin rules, there are no two ways about it. What a warm welcome Erin was.

Oct 2005

Initially I wasn't psyched when I learned that this class was a requirement for Columbia with no exceptions - the first curveball of my CU "experience." Also, University Writing was the very first class I attended at Columbia, so I was extra apprehensive and skeptical. That being said, I'm fortunate to have randomly selected her as my professor. Her friendly, conversational style is great and I ended up looking forward to every class. She's very accessible outside the classroom as well. At first I found the material rather difficult (pretty much a reading for each class), but her structure got me to put lots of time into the assignments — I ended up finding it very cool to see my essays come to fruition. Paper writing was never a strong point for me, so this class was very helpful in improving my comparative analysis skills. Hopefully, these skills will help me in future courses (in any department). Oh, and her grading is very fair - just put effort into the assignments and your grade will reflect that. I really recommend her as a professor!

Sep 2005

University Writing could not have been better without Joanna. She is a grad student at the English and Literature Dept and is an extremely helpful, and serious teacher. Don't be scared off by her cold outside - she is indeed very understanding and acceptive to new ideas. I am an ESL student and she was very patient in helping me wiht drafts and language problems. If you have her in your university writing class, you should be glad for she is always well prepared and nice to you if you are treating this class seriously.

Sep 2005

Alexis is the most awesome instructor anyone could ever have. Although she's now teaching Lit Hum I recommend taking her class. She's very fun and energetic. In addition, she'll never make you feel like an idiot and will always give good advice on writing. I truly enjoyed this class and would defenitely recommend her, whichever class she's teaching.

Sep 2005

I found Diane Greco to be an absolutely outstanding teacher. She cares a great deal about both writing and her students. When she returned my drafts, great care and attention to detail were evident in her remarks, which were often lengthy and always thoughtful. The insightfulness of her commentary often gave me the sense that my work was being critiqued by a professional editor. She is highly accomplished and demanding as a teacher but she demands no less of herself. As a GS student you have no choice but to take this course. I am very happy that I had the opportunity to study with her. I feel that I learned a great deal-both about my own writing, and the process of writing itself.

Sep 2005

Professor Deutermann (also goes by "Allison") is an energetic teacher whose excitement about teaching and writing can be very contagious. Although University Writing (as many professors may admit) may not be very appealing as a course, Allison seems to make the work seem just that bit lighter and enjoyable. She is understanding of all your struggles and problems, as she is simultaenously a student herself. She is one of those teachers that, if you take one step towards them, takes two steps towards you. She explains concepts very clearly and simply, keeping to those few points that the average student can absorb in an intensive four months. She is a laid back and unassuming person, and not ashamed to admit when certain workshops are becoming tedious or unproductive and try a new approach.

Aug 2005

A typical conservative southerner, Heather Samples does not approve of dissenting opinions. She is a proud, pompous, and arrogant graduate student who was out of academia years; and is the ultimate freshman nightmare. If you take this class, forget about academic freedom. She proudly acknowledges her inability to stick to the course plan, misses all timelines, and simply doesn't care about these at all. Don't be surprised if she sends a mail at 5:15am saying the class will not meet. You should attend the party at her home in Brooklyn on night before LitHum finals or your grade goes down. At the end of course, Samples asks students to post evaluations on CULPA, and before handing out course evaluations in class warns that these will 'stick to [her]' for seven years. The superfluous humility of the student evaluations from her first semester are questionable and dubious primarily because some of them were posted before grades are available, and also because in her second semester all of those praises proved baseless lies. Her classes have too much discussion on specific essays, and little, if any at all, on the writing process as a whole. We spent less than 30 minutes of class time in the whole semester with the 'Bedford Handbook' and the 'Craft of Research' two books that are commonly referred on campus as Bibles on writing and research. Taking her class at most tries to prepare for freshman writing; not for rest of the college life. If one intends to do research in senior year or later in grad school, this can be the disaster. Bottom line: stay away from Heather Samples. If you can't, practice saying 'yes'.

Aug 2005

Cris is a wonderful professor. I suggest STRONGLY that if you are an incoming student, take her UW class. She is a prof that strongly believes in her craft, and it shows in her excellent and inclusive style of teaching. She gives her students a lot of respect, is always interested in what they have to say, and gives constructive criticism that is immensely helpful. It is because of her that I am becoming a writing major.

Aug 2005

I had Jason as a UW teacher my first semester at Columbia. It was his first class, and he was great. I loved him. (and he's so adorable!) He made UW my favorite class even thought I wasn't too crazy about writing. Many say that UW doesn't help you become a better writer, but I think that's dependent on your teacher and what you want to get out of the class. Jason really knows about writing and is great about extracting meaning and analyzing texts... If you listen to him, and following his suggestions (espically the corrections he makes on your drafts), you really can become a better writer... Also, he's not a very difficult grader. In UW you get to write drafts for everything so if you make the corrections your TA asks you too, you really don't have a reason not to do well.

Jul 2005

I don't think he's going to be teaching again, but he was really a fantastic teacher. He tought the class with the knowledge that it was a requirement and that not everyone was a born-writer, but he was able to get people engaged and enjoy the class. He was a fair grader, and gave a much easier workload than most of the other sections. He was very approachable and helpful both in and outside of class. I highly recommend this teacher if you can get him.

Jul 2005

I definitely recommend taking this class with Rivka. University Writing is, in all honesty, not a favorite among the Core classes- parts of it are interesting, others less so, and the second half of the semester in particular can feel a bit too structured and high-school-esque. But Rivka tries hard to keep everybody up to speed, and although she does adhere to CC's attendance policy, she can be very understanding about personal matters or unexpected obstacles of any kind. She replies to emails from her students promptly and thoroughly, and although she will not tolerate consistently late work, she makes herself available to meet with her students individually, and will work with you if you are struggling with a particular assignment. If you want a professor who knows who you are and works with you intensely on an individual basis, Rivka is the prof for you. Oh yeah- she's also pretty funny and wears nifty outfits.

Jul 2005

By far Ms. Gogenini has been the worst instructor I have encountered here at Columbia. I should have seen it from the begining of the semester. She was often late and did not seem to care that she took away valuable time from her students. She was very cavalier about attendance, she expected attendance to be perfect, yet she herself missed several classes and did not inform the class on a timely basis. Her grading was arbitrary and the leniency she showed to certain students was as well. She misplaced students drafts and papers, and her ability to return first drafts in a timely fashion was completely lacking. Ms. Gogenini is completely unprofessional, shows no real interest in expanding the writing abilities of the students, and brings little to the table as a Columbia University instructor. I STRONGLY reccomend that you not take UW with this TA.

Jul 2005

Probably the worst instructor I've had at this school. Obviously, University Writing is a bad experience for a lot of people, but this man really can't teach. His class makes you feel like you're in high school again, as he calls on students who never talk and embarrassingly puts them on the spot, while ignoring those with their hand up in an implicit punishment of their actually being involved in the coursework. As one of the three students who regularly participated, he would express his frustration with us for consistently having something to contribute as if we were overpowering the voices of those who had absolutely nothing to say. I understand that he would want a balanced classroom environment but demanding that bored students slowly sputter their thoughts, or lack there of, on Baldwin just seemed cruel. Thus, all possible discussions were slowed down to death by his calling on a student with their head on the desk. As far as what he wants out of your writing, I seriously doubt that he even knows. It seems slightly unfair that someone so bad at expressing himself in a paragraph of commentary would expect a student of his to do so in an essay. Even after repeated meanings he cannot explain what your paper lacks, where it needs to go, how you can make it better. Class meetings were viewed by most students as an extremely uncomfortable experience. While he attempts to be familiar and friendly, he comes across as alternately patronizing, crass, or just extremely awkward. Particularly when he'd talk to us about how "down" he was with hip-hop music.

Jul 2005

I think Joanna is great. She's really nice and gives helpful feedback on papers. She always makes herself available to students and is generally pretty lax when it comes to deadlines. UW in general is a waste of time, but I enjoyed the discussions we had in class even if the class didn't help my writing.

Jun 2005

Avishek was really nice. He understands that university writing can be excruciatingly boring, and makes it interesting...by mostly having a class discussion on the essays we read for the class. I liked his selections: Said, Baldwin, Didion, Sontiag, Nussbaum and others. His principle area of interest is multicultural issues, or cultural/race/gender issues in general. Of course, the class discussion will greatly depend on your peers, but if you meet with Avishek to talk about your papers, you'll often end up talking about this issues and find that he's a very interesting and well-read guy. Papers-wise, university writing mainly consists of peer criticism/discussion and meeting individually w/ Avishek. He's extremely flexible, and once met with me late at night (until past 10 pm) to accomodate my schedule. He is much more effective at transmitting feedback in a meeting than in his comments, so I strongly encourage you to meet with him because you will get additional valuable feedback, which is important because Avishek has decided to single-handedly fight grade inflation in the ivy league. i.e.: if you want to do well, you have to work very hard for it, and Avishek will not accept intellectual sloppiness in your work. U Writing could easily have been abysmal. Avishek makes it bareable on worst days and frankly enjoyable on the good ones.

Jun 2005

By far the most interesting and engaging professor I've had here at Columbia. Uninterested in the inane and mundane details of the UW program, Ms. Gogineni focuses on the important aspects of the course: critical reading and analysis. She structures the class beautifully with fantastic reading pieces, although some of them are somewhat difficult, and great disussion fuel. After dreading UW for so long, I felt extremely fortunate to have her as my teacher, as I looked forward to going to class while everyone else outside of my class in UW complained. Liking UW... imagine that. She grades amazingly fair, giving rewards where rewards are due. She is also extremely leniant with deadlines and requirements, giving much freedom to the student. If you ever have an opportunity to take a class with her, please do so. It's extremely rewarding.

May 2005

While Julie's a great person, her teaching isn't necessarily the greatest. Generous with the deadlines - if you talk to her first and have a genuine problem. Listens to student input...but assigns more homework than most and grades a little harder than avg. On the whole - stick with it - you could do worse.

May 2005

Suzanne is very good at what she does. She makes you write a lot and her grading is tough, but you end up growing as a writer and--as my class did--having a good time while you're at it. Her sensibilities are down to earth and practical rather than doctrinaire or overly academic, which is good because it enables her to cut through a lot of bullshit and make you (or the class) get to the point. And for the most part, she's very personable about it so you don't really feel like she's being a bitch or too hard on anyone. I, for one, found her approach refreshing. I imagine other instructors are less helpful. Alas, Suzanne is not perfect. She is a little quirky outside of class and has a slightly odd sense of boundaries. But that, as a friend of mine likes to say, is "picking the fly shit out of the pepper." Suzanne is good. You'll have fun. Trust me.

May 2005

A very good University Writing instructor, probably one of the best according to what I've heard from other students. Jess is approachable, sharp, and - after the first few rather tense class sessions - rather funny. Best of all, he gives unbeatable advice about writing the academic establishment. Fair (but not necessarily lenient) grader.

May 2005

Hannah is one of the nicest teachers I've met here. At least she cares about you learning english. She'll give you a really high grade, as long as you agree with her ideas. But she allows rewrites as many times as you want, so really it makes the class so easy. Becareful though. She appears to not care about attendance and participation in class, but she will make it affect your grade at the very end. I recommend her though, because of the rewrites and the fact that you will learn how to write after taking a class with her.

May 2005

Richard is truly a great teacher. I wish that this class could have lasted for the entire year, rather than just first semester. We had really intense discussions and he listened intently to everyone who wanted to speak. He asked interesting questions. Class was rarely boring and it was always relaxed. My writing improved tremendously from this class because we would have "workshop day" where we would look over each other's work. It was really helpful and he always helped in whatever way that he could. If you are lucky enough to have him, take advantage of his teaching style and really engage yourself in the class discussions. You should also meet with him outside of class to talk about your work before it's due. Richard is a really funny, down-to-earth guy who will make you laugh and want to participate.

May 2005

Kairo Llobrera sucks. I've heard worse stories, so I'll give him credit for not being the worst that you can get, but he's pretty bad. The guy is obsessed with race and is definitely further to the Left than even your average Columbia student. He asks too much of the students on his rough draft comments, though I guess he's trying to be helpful. He's not hostile, and pretty approachable, so I'll give him that, but I wouldn't classify him as a particularly engendering instructor.

May 2005

I found Kairos to be somewhat of an embarassment to the University Writing program. He didn't know how to spell "approve" when writing on the board. Although he put up a front of equally weighing both sides of every argument, he was a) actually very biased (pro-Edward Said's arguments) and b) actually told me to change the argument in one of my papers because it might offend people. For the record, several of the students in my class personally confronted me to say that my paper was not, in fact, offensive. The discussions were often painful, in the sense that only three to five people actually ever participated. Only myself and one other person seemed to actually have a real interest in the subject matter, in writing, and in participation, but this was not reflected in our grades. Kairos also commented on one of my papers that my carelessness was offensive, referring to the fact that I had omitted page numbers and failed to alphabetize the authors in my works cited list, proceeding to downgrade me fairly harshly because of what he saw as poor presentation. Kairos' conformity to the system is upsetting and stifling, and I would not recommend his class if you desire any kind of originality or creative freedom.

May 2005

Julie is a decent teacher. She was a real bitch at the beginning of the year as she dished out 600 word responses to every 30+ page reading assignment nightly. It was a drag, but if you start out well in this class, the rest of the semester is smooth sailing. Make a good impression, see her during her office hours, and woo her a little bit and you're in.

May 2005

By the end of the term, Richard was quite good. I think I might have been in his first class. At first, he was hesitant to meet with me outside of class and insisted that we either got notes on our papers OR a meeting, but with pressure, he started making himself more available. As he became more comfortable teaching, he became much better. His comments on my papers became more clear and helpful. Classes were fun by the end of the semester. I spoke to someone who had him in the spring semester (2005) and said he was very good.

May 2005

Great instructor. When I'm took Uni Writing with him, I hardly felt any stress at all. His comments on the essays are very helpful as well. But be warned, his grading is very stringent and stingy. So be prepared to work hard for your A if that's your aim. Otherwise, if you're thinking of improving your writing, I would most certainly recommend this class to all.

May 2005

Well, most of us don't walk into UW with the feeling that we're going to get much out of it. I went in with that feeling, and I still feel like I didn't get too much. Kairos followed the curriculum (which is boring as hell) to a T and was sort of boring and dry. That said, you probably will do better than you think. You have to incorporate all of his comments and I suggest meeting with him a second time- he tells you what you want and if you do it, your grade will reflect. I had B range papers on my first two papers, and A ranges on the second two and I ended up with an A-. I'm not complaining with that...

May 2005

Garrett is absolutely amazing! Everyone truly loved him and he is very knowledgeable in many areas. If you put effort into his class and do the readings and participate in class it will help a lot. He is generous with grading but makes you think.. you need to work for the A. He keeps class interesting and has a great sense of humor. He is strict with peer-reviews, but will on occasion extend due dates and is very accessible and willing to work with students on a rough draft of a paper. If you have him, keep him. :)

May 2005

Tiffany was a great University Writing teacher. She was kind and always open outside of class. Class discussions and activities tended to be very invigorating and she definitely values participation. Her comments on essays are pretty valuable--she concentrates on structural and logical errors, rather than nitpicking on grammar and similar minor issues. She's not an easy grader, but she's not particularly tough either. She looks for improvement and is definitely generous with her final grade. We even had a scavenger hunt and group fiction writing excercises as part of the class. Participate in class, work with her on your essays and you will be able to not only get a good grade, but also learn quite a bit.

Apr 2005

Anatoly is an excellent option for U Writing. If you write well and think through your arguments, the class should not be a problem at all. The class basically consists of reading various articles and discussing them in class. You write the standard four essays, and two of your essays get workshopped in class (people read the essays at home and then give you comments in class). That's really all there is to it. Great guy, smart, no complaints whatsoever.

Apr 2005

Bina is one of the best teachers I have ever had. She took University writing, a typically boring, drudge work orientied class, and turned it into sometihng interesting. She picked her own reading list, and centered all the texts around the theme of transcultural society, exoticism, globalisation, etc. and she is especially well trained to teach these texts, having studied under Said himself, right before he died. Although she is strongly engaged in the material, she is also quite laid back, and I doubt you'll find a chiller UW teacher. She is extremely understanding when you cant get papers in on time, or if they are under the word limit. Whats more, she has no qualms about handing out A's for good papers, unlike many stingy teachers out there. You can expect her to show up to class late, dressed stylishly, everyday. Thanks to her my writing has evovled immeasurably. Long story short, Bina is awsome.

Apr 2005

I'll keep this brief. Everyone knows University Writing sucks and it'll make you miserable. The papers will still be a pain in the neck to write and the readings will still be a pain in the neck to do. But I promise that if you have Rivka she'll make it worthwhile. She's smart and funny and just interesting in general. She's a fair grader, not particularly easy, not particularly hard. You'll still hate doing the work but with her at least you'll actually look forward to going to class.

Apr 2005

Personally, I think Ms. Kirman was an amazing teacher. I came into the class with the belief that I had given up on writing and I would do just enough to get by but she very much changed that for me. She is very good at critiquing papers and knowing how to improve them. She is really great at constructive criticism and is very sympathetic to her students without being a pushover. She reminded me of what I used to like about writing and she is definately one of my favorite teachers.

Apr 2005

OK, so here it is: a long awaited POSITIVE CULPA review for Ms. Scott that should pursuade any future University Writing students to download the first two reviews on this page into his or her circular file (a la trash can). All that I can say is that Ms. Scott is by far the best teacher that I have had at Columbia. The amount of knowledge that woman has stored in her head is ENORMOUS and it is so refreshing to have a teacher who is so passionate about what she is teaching and so willing to share her knowledge with her students AS PEERS. My favorite thing about Marilee is that she made the classroom an engaging place and allowed us to be free to speak our minds. This is not your typical class with an old, boring teacher and tuned out students. She does not stand up there and lecture on what SHE thinks, but usually brings in an outside source to get us thinking and to open a porthole into a particualr text, and then asks us what WE think, before she gives us her opinion. I love that Marilee taught us how to critically engage a text, and to not just assume that because some author wrote it we have to believe it or agree wtih it. Aside from that, she makes writing a process that we were able to become involved in and really helped us to evolve as writers as the semester progressed. For those who wrote the other reviews, and obviously got bad grades, all that I can say is that you problably deserved it. Marilee may be a "tough" grader if you want to write like a first grader, but HELLO, we are college students and she takes your writing to the next level. I have used so many of things that she taught me in all of my other classes, and her cookies at the end of the semester were DELICIOUS. If you do not take her, you are a fool. Enuf said.

Mar 2005

This class was by far my favorite part of my first semester at Columbia! Granted, I was already passionate about writing going into the class, but the way the class was run, I feel like writing became somewhat less of a chore even for those who absolutely loathed it. Ms. Kirman created a comfortable atmosphere where everyone felt they could share their opinions and critiques of each other's works as well as the various essays we read throughout the course. The exercises were creative and actually helped with the larger essays. It was rare, if ever, that I felt that we were just doing work for the sake of work. Ms. Kirman also spent a great deal of time with students outside of class to help us with our essays. Rough drafts came back with writing all over them, which meant we had lots of help when we began the final copies. Ms. Kirman was definitely a veyr involved and enthusiastic teacher who was genuinely concerned with the progress of every student.

Mar 2005

Perhaps teaching this class over and over again, has made her jaded, but Andrea's class is nothing like the other reviewers mentioned. It's true that Andrea does not assign that much busy work (ie nightly essay responses), but that's the only good thing about her section. She gets kinda mad when people don't agree with her opinions. Several times, she has responded to certain student views by simply saying, "You're wrong!" The grades she gives out reflect her narrowmindedness. Basically, if you disagree with Andrea she'll slap you with a C. A few of my friends are actually appealing their grades, because she was so harsh. The structure of the class itself was equally awful. We'd basically get into little groups to discuss articles we've read the night before. This was not conducive to improving our writing at all. No one took the group discussions seriously. Often we'd exhaust the article in 10 minutes and spend the rest of the time chatting.

Mar 2005

UW sucks, period, and Donna didn't make it any less painful. Even though she seemed nice, it was always a little awkward to talk to her. Not a fun class at all, but I'm not sure whether that was because of the curriculum or the instructor. Sometimes she gave really vague directions regarding the assignments, but then again nobody seemed to understand the UW assignments.

Mar 2005

You can make what you want of University Writing in Ms. KirmanÂ’s class. I went in wanting to become a better writer and I think I did. SheÂ’s in the creative writing department. SheÂ’s supportive and inspiring, always willing to give leeway if you are passionate and honestly working. A few kids in the class took advantage of this lenience, but I donÂ’t feel this affected my experience. If you want a teacher who will believe in you and push you to be a better writer, thatÂ’s Ms. Kirman. I know this review sounds really corny, but IÂ’m being honest.

Mar 2005

Donna is very nice outside of class, but the curriculum of UW is shitty and therefore, the class sucked no matter how nice she was! Totally boring... she really requires you to go to class though (you can only miss two!) and yeah, I wanted to shoot myself most of the time.

Feb 2005

It is no coincidence that this man's last name is "Sage." I had the extreme luck of being placed in Mr. Sage's L&R class my freshman year--which is two years ago now. Take any class in which he is involved, you will become a better writer, thinker and scholar. He has the ability to challenge everyone through truly inspiring discussions. He encourages one-on-one meetings outside of class and genuinely cares about all of his students. Meet with him and give enough time for all of your assignments. Work hard, and this class will be one of your most rewarding at Columbia.

Feb 2005

I really enjoyed this class. Claire can make the boring University Writing class very interesting. She's very helpful outside the class-take advantage of her office hours!

Feb 2005

Fantastic! She cares about her students and it shows. I dreaded taking the class but she was a great teacher. The rough drafts were a big help.

Feb 2005

Frequently one to rock the stilettos, Ms. Deutermann knows what she is talking about and helped me a great deal with my writing. She has a lot of great insight about writing in general, and the articles in specfic, being able to find the merits of an assigned reading that may initially seem impossibly dry. She is certainly one of the more laid-back profs I have encountered, certainly in part due to her youth, but she knows what to do in order that her students succeed. Furthermore, she was very accessible throughout the semester to discuss papers, work, or whatever, always with much sass. In a class, like UW, which has a rather concrete syllabus to follow, one's experience is entirely dependent on the instructor. Allison Kay Deutermann made my experience absolutely fabulous.

Jan 2005

Christine, as she prefers to be called, does an awesome job of making a class almost designed to suck into something actually worthwhile. She chose articles that won't put you to sleep and made them relevant to college students' lives. Christine is really easy to get in touch with and welcomes any questions you have either in or out of class. Her help in revising my drafts was phenomenal.

Jan 2005

Nathaniel Farrell is nice. He understands the common Columbia undergraduate, as he was one himself not too long ago. He also understands that he is the instructor and thus must try to keep an objective distance to be able to comment and edit the essays fairly. He is a fun guy, but I don't think he intends much to be, he wants the class to be more structured and intellectual, so most of the class ends up pretty much covertly laughing AT him. Almost half the class is habitually late, which doesn't help much to make him happy. However, he seems to maintain a somewhat happy mood most of the time, even when a student is ridiculously late, condescending, or belligerent. When students question his opinion or his ideas or his assignment, he talks too much. The more he talked, the more his students became more and more confused, and some of the time it led to misunderstanding in assignments, which can cause contention after a rough draft has already been produced with much hard work. But do not get me wrong, he was able to produce a cohesive environment for his students to bond in the ostensible torture that is the Core Curriculum. In terms of him giving comments on papers, sometimes it's almost bewildering, sometimes it helps, but to what extent is unbelievably hard to comprehend. He, however, listened to students' concerns and would push back deadlines if the class had a desire for it. He would also make assignments a bit more experimental, making it a much nicer experience of one of the more unnecessary core classes. Overall, with knowledge that this was his first semester of instruction, is a FINE teacher. Definitely a Fun time, if it was nothing else.

Jan 2005

I have to begin by pointing out that I had her class more than a year ago, so take this with a grain of salt (which you should be doing with all CULPA reviews, anyway). Lesley clearly understands and is very familiar with the relevant texts. She appears to be quite knowledgable on the subject matter. The same cannot be said of her teaching style. Students complained that her lectures (when she did lecture) were not always organized and succinct. Be warned, she is not a funny or engaging lecturer. Instead, her style is to more subtly lay a groundwork for students to work up from and she can get her point across rather clearly, despite a reluctance to spoon feed you the answers. She consistently attempted to foster class discussion. Or rather, she tried. I can't say whether she is good or bad at doing so because half of the class barely did the reading, and all but a few others didn't know how to think critically about literary texts. If your classmates are better than mine and they look even remotely promising in discussion, then her class becomes a good one because she is far more inclined towards good class discussion than good lectures. The highlight: If you're not already a spectacular writer and you want to do some work in this class, your writing will siginifigantly improve. She works with students and is very good at explaining pitfalls in your writing. Furthermore, she effectively suggests ways to improve writing through broad comments, nudging you along instead of taking the easy route (of simply showing what exactly she wants). Recommendation: If you don't want to do much work and want to coast by, leave now because multiple students complained that she was not "easy." But if you're willing to put forth effort and want to improve your writing (and have no quips about a laid-back though sometimes muddy teaching style), then stay. Her grading is fair, if not generous at times. Also, keep in mind, some students in the class disagreed with my view and think she was unclear in her instruction and was a poor teacher (ie: it was never made clear exactly what she wanted). I would contend they were too lazy or stupid to appreciate nuance and do the thinking for themselves. So choose wisely.

Jan 2005

Jill is both good and bad. She is fairly easygoing, and likes to be in class and involve the students. This makes class a generally likeable experience. Her choices in readings were okay, and only one or two of them were really dreadful. That said, I don't think she should be teaching. She responded to me at times like I was the devil incarnate when I took alternative positions to her statements. It got so bad, I stopped disagreeing with her. She grades tough, and the only way I got anything higher than a B+ on any of my papers was by dumbing them down. She actually commented on one in such a way that showed she had taken a motif as a thesis. I subsequently showed the paper to several people, and no one could believe it had gotten anything lesss than an A. (not just fellow students, but teachers as well). If you are unfortunate enough to get her, write clear and deductive essays with tight, simple conclusions. If you write any other way, she may tell you to "master the basic college essay" before getting creative. And no matter what, don't disagree with her. She did not like me personally, and I got the first B I ever received in a writing class from her. (I should mention I am a transfer student, and have taken plenty of writing courses before UW)

Jan 2005

Wow, I really liked her. I think we all really liked her. And as the others are saying, we all liked talking when we were around her. Class was mostly discussion, when we were talking about the readings was usually interesting. Painless when it comes to grammar and stuff like that, just forceful reminders about what to do with commas and semicolons and stuff. We didn't go into it a ton. She didn't seem to like dullness. This one time she was trying to explain the metaphor of why it was called a constellation essay, and she broke down like, "alright, i can't do this." it was the most liberating thing ever. take her class, do it.

Jan 2005

Ok so most people in the class didn't really adore Kairos, but I liked him. He is laid back and a nice guy. He was really willing to help students formulate ideas and work on papers in paper conferences. As far as grading....I didn't think he graded unfairly at all....the lowest grade I got on a paper was a B+. I think some found the class painful because few of our class discussions were really ground breaking...but that has a lot to do with the type of people in the class (there weren't many talkers in the class....and more often then not there was little debate in the discussions because everyone agreed with each other). Okay sometimes the hw assignments were a little annoying, but that has more to do with the structure of the class, than the prof. Overall I would say that Kairos is a good guy and a fairly good teacher to have for University Writing.

Jan 2005

So I avoided reviewing Farooq for awhile because I wanted to let my resentment go down a little. Well, it's been awhile and it hasn't. This is the most painful class I have ever taken. Sure, he seems like a nice guy - hell, maybe he even is actually a nice guy! But that doesn't excuse his habit of doling out grades lower than deserved. Class discussions were pointless and he always avoids (or is unable to) clearly answer questions on how to improve your writing. He is very available outside of class, but meeting with him can often leave you feeling more confused and not help your grade at all. Don't make the mistake I did, take these reviews to heart and dig up a scheduling conflict immediately!

Jan 2005

Ichiro is a nice guy, but not such a great University Writing teacher. Although he is available for extra help and conferences almost all the time [since he is a grad student and his schedule is pretty flexible], he doesn't make many things clear about assignments. So after you spend much time on your first draft, he is usually still not satisfied, and expects you to change around your entire essay if you want to get at least a B. With that said, I cannot deny that I learned a lot about writing in this class. I learned that editing does not just mean simply grammatical corrections and revisions to sentence structure. It is far more complicated than that. I learned that stating an argument is not enough. You must really make one by providing heavy support and details in order to convince your reader of what you are trying to say. So if you end up with Ichiro as your teacher, don't be too worried. He will teach you, but you really have to work with him, and must willing to change an entire essay around that you were pleased with in order to make him happy, so that you can get a good grade.

Jan 2005

From the first day of class, I knew that something was wrong with this guy. He played us Aretha Franklin's Respect as a way to lure us into thinking that he was cool. Sadly, everyone in the class could tell right away that we had gotten stuck with a bad UW teacher. Kairos' class was never interesting. He speaks very slowly and isn't very articulate, which was frustrating. But worst of all, he seemed to grade all our papers on whether or not he agreed with our thesis. If he disagreed, you wouldn't get anything higher than a B. If he agreed, you'd only get by with a B+ or A-.

Jan 2005

Sarah Cole has been perhaps the most amazing teacher I've ever had. Her grading is fair, the workload adequate, not too much, but not too little, and she's very easy to talk to. If you have any problems with your writing, she will do her best to help you overcome them. I've heard that some UWriting classes are terrible, but I actually looked forward to this one.

Jan 2005

I really enjoyed Flora's class. She is not a stickler about class participation, but makes you WANT to participate because the discussions are casual and interesting. I agree with whoever said that she should be more guiding/critical during discussions, because some of the stuff people said was pretty off the wall. She was VERY helpful with papers and I actually found myself enjoying writing them. She is NOT easy on the grading, but hard work is definitely rewarded. Though at times she seems a bit unsure of herself as a teacher, Flora is approachable, kind, and seems to genuinely care about her students. In her class you will work hard but (hopefully) enjoy it.

Jan 2005

Ruchi improved a great deal during her first semester teaching UW. At first, I was skeptical about her ability to teach the class, but, in the end, I'm really glad she was my professor. She pretty much sacked the lame perscribed University Writing syllabus, and used the readings to her own end. She is extremely knowlegeable about writing and a bunch of other really interesting topics, and is always willing to share her own stories and experiences with the class. Her candid attitude, and dedication to her class and her work makes her wonderful to be around. Feel lucky if you end up in her class.

Jan 2005

OK I will be honest: University Writing is probably THE most boring and unnecessary and time taking class @ Columbia. But, Rivka made the class not only bearable but FUN! YES, she is a great person and teacher. The first day of class, when I saw her, I thought that she was a student! Rivka is a live, enthusiastic, and fun person who just adds so much to you in a single semester. Anyway, anyone lucky enough to get Rivka as their UW teahcer is about to have the most fun they can in the UW class. Rivka is always enthusiastic, motivating, supporting, and there for extra help if u need it outside class hours! 1 to 10 (10 being the best) I rate Rivka a 10!

Jan 2005

Outstanding instructor. I actually took UW last Fall, and I can say that of all the core classes I've taken, her class discussions were the best. She has a natural ability to raise engaging questions and get everyone deeply involved in discussion--it was a class I always looked forward to going to. She's also very dedicated and wonderful to discuss papers with in office hours or scheduled meetings. My only criticism is that she had a tendency to be too lenient both in criticizing ideas presented in class and in papers--I think because she was new to teaching (I think positive criticism to improving as a student and writer). Grades on the generous side. Overall, wonderful professor and person. You're lucky if you get her.

Jan 2005

I wanted to pipe in a word about Professor Wallack because I worry that too many freshman are caught up in work load and what their friends are doing in their core classes and end up missing out on a wonderful learning experience. I took this class with Prof. Wallack my freshman year and I can safely say that she is one of the best professors I've had at Columbia and she made what could have been one of the worst classes at Columbia into one of the better ones I've taken. You will be doing more work than your friends do in their university writing classes, but in the long run you should be feeling badly for them, because they most likely have some grad student and you have the assistant director of the whole program sitting right front of you. Nicole really does push you to the limit, asking you to try new things (she once made me literally cut up my paper and put it back together in a different order) and her advice has stuck with me in my writing throughout my Columbia career. The important thing is that she wants you to do well. She grades you tough but she wants you to do better, and you're allowed to rewrite your essays for an entirely new grade. She makes herself available to all of her students, has a quirky sense of humor and is very approachable and easy to talk to. Just to give you an idea of how different she is from the reviews written before me: She heard me saying to a friend that is was going to be my birthday on Thursday and when my birthday rolled around I went to class and she had bought me a cake with candles. So yeah. If you get in then consider yourself lucky. And just do yourself a favor and stay in this class. You can thank me later.

Jan 2005

I don't know if it was his selection of essays or the fact that the class sucks as a whole, but the only thing that made the dry and useless syllabus fun and enjoyable was Alex's never ending jokes and down to earth realistic way of looking at writing. Go to his office hours if you're stuck. He sincerely wants to help and does as much as tell you what would be smart to focus on, as well how you can get there. UW is not likely going to be a class you remember even 2 years down the line, but Alex is definitely a pleasant person to get through it with.

Jan 2005

Rivka is a great teacher. She is engaging and funny, extremely smart, preceptive, and understanding. She is always willing to meet outside of class and gives wonderfully detailed comments on papers. She is amazing, in fact, some people in the class developed a cultish obession for her (no joke) and created a facebook group fan club. Unfortunately, given the ridiculous nature of the writing assignments (a CONVERSATION essay? what does that mean?), Rivka--along with the majority of the class--struggled to discuss and convey the purposes of the assignments and the techniques that were supposed to be gleaned from them. This is not Rivka's fault; rather, it is the fundamental problem of this course. Give this great teacher and person a real class to teach, Columbia, and she will be amazing. Future students: mess with her and 12 dedicated students will kick your ass--that's how great she is.

Jan 2005

Whether discussing essays in class or working on our own writing, Heather Samples held us to the highest intellectual standard. Every day(bright and oh so early), I looked forward to class discussions because I knew they would be led in a way that encouraged participation while always proving productive. The amount of material we thoroughly covered in a given class never ceased to surprise me. The day our class discussed Andre Aciman's "Arbitrage" stands as a perfect example. Everyone came to class with ideas and left with better ideas. At first I wondered exactly what enabled such productive discussions, because Heather did not seem to run conversation- we were encouraged to talk about what we wanted. I truly realized the extent of HeatherÂ’s contribution to discussion and class as a whole when we worked on the CCP and broke into individual groups that were supposed to guide the class through a short discussion. Heather subtly directs and orchestrates discussion with mastery and precision despite this being her first undergraduate teaching experience. With this as her starting point, her potential as a teacher is truly staggering. With respect to essays, I was always impressed at the level of care Heather invested in making corrections and understanding not only what was on the surface of an essay but the ideas beneath. Heather returned my first draft with suggestions, I turned through the pleasantly marked up pages thinking about how helpful the comments were to my paper. The true prize, however, was the typed page at the end of the essay with HeatherÂ’s highly detailed overall analysis and suggestions. Besides her sharp mind, Heather understood the tangle of work and life that is college. While I never attempted to get an extension, I know other students were able to work things out with her when necessary. Even more than my other teachers, Heather was available and made a point of encouraging us to contact her with email or over the phone regarding any aspect of a specific paper or a course in general. In a class prone to painful tedium for often unclear rewards, Heather manages to avoid the pitfalls presented by the University Writing course. Many of my peers in other classes reported quite negative experiences in university writing under the yoke of uncaring grad students. At the end of the semester I realize how truly lucky my classmates and I were to have Heather Samples as our teacher. In this course, work gets done in the name of learning- not just for some empty grade.

Jan 2005

Dr. Wallack is hard. I spent more time on her class than all my others combined. However, she is also a passionate teacher, and truly cares about whether or not her students learn. If you are placed in her section, it is worth it to work your butt off. Not only will it pay off for your grade in this class, but it will improve your writing immensely. You will mostly learn about how to improve your IDEAS, though. I actually really dislike Nicole Wallack's personal writing style--it is wordy and overly-intellectual to the point where I can't feel that it matters. Again, though, you will learn a lot from her despite all of this.

Jan 2005

I liked Michele. Some of the kids in my class didn't, but most of us thought her reasonable and generally pretty chilled out. Sometimes she seemed to make fairly arbitrary decisions, but she was, for the most part, a good teacher of a terrible course.

Jan 2005

Armetta is an amazing instructor. I would always look forward to her classes and at the end of class, during a good discussion, would find it difficult to leave, as did many other members of the class. Armetta is passionate about the material and communicates that to the class. She asks interesting questions and participates in the debates and discussions that follow. I found that many other students would complain about their respective University Writing classes and said that it was just another dull requirement that they were forced to take. However, Armetta proves that a teacher really can make a class. Even if it was not a requirement, I would want to take a class with Armetta, because she truly is a great teacher.

Dec 2004

I took this course and because there were no bad reviews for this graduate student, so I figured all would be well. This course is a very tough one in general, if you have a graduate student who loves to assign busy work, this class is probably for you. The course calls for a lot of ungraded assignments, which you are required to do. Some teachers ask for a page summary, Avishek will ask you for at least a 600 word paper all the way up to a 1200 word paper practically every class period, and this is all after reading sometimes a 40 page article. We never received these assignments back, so we had no idea whether he even read them. At the end of the course we were asked to write a retrospective essay. More than half the class included fits of crying, chest pains, and extreme depression because of this class. Its a very tricky atmosphere, in the beginning he passes himself off as a happy go lucky guy, you want to put your heart and soul into the class, and only once its too late, you realize he couldn't care less about the class. The papers come back with one or two unhelpful comments, and he will never tell you how to raise the grade, ever, this was a common complaint. If you are already a good writer and like to do busy work, take this class. If you want to improve your writing, get into a different section. If you have to have a bad grade on your transcript at least ask for something out of the class.

Dec 2004

I was greeted the first day of class with an interesting assignment: to read an essay about the benefits of multicultural education. We then proceeded to read an essay by a black lady that proclaimed Christopher Columbus was a bad person (what a surprise), and it only got worse as she invited us to the "Anti-Bush Rally" that she was hosting with another Columbia prof whose essay we had to read, an essay so stupid and one-sided that it made me ashamed to go to Columbia. I'm not even a conservative and I was very off-put by the political climate of the classroom - no class, especially a freshman writing class, should even have a political climate to begin with. However, this is far from my biggest gripe about the class. I didn't learn anything. I learned far, far, far more in my HS English classes. Granted, not all of this was Ms. Mandle's fault, but some of it was - half of the comments that my classmates and I made went straight over her head, including very important writing questions, even grammar. She totally misread some of the essays we did in class and completely misunderstood some of my writing as well. In fairness, I think Ms. Mandle tried pretty hard and she was very friendly, outgoing, and nice. She made us cookies which was very touching (no sarcasm). She was so nice that I feel bad even writing this review. But this entire first semester, and her class more than any other, has given me serious doubts that I even belong at this school, and I've practically suffered a nervous breakdown. Columbia - please reexamine your U Writing class. I cannot believe that a class that lumps SEAS students who hate the humanities together with English majors who won writing contests in HS and then provides them a poetry grad student for a teacher is the best way to "welcome" students to Columbia.

Dec 2004

Religious Experience? I don't know about that. Two years ago, I had Ms. Fung for the "class previously known as L&R," and I really liked her. She's a nice, very approachable teacher who cares about her students. She's also a pretty effective conductor of class discussion, though not amazing. Overall, I enjoyed the class and ended up with a good grade

Dec 2004

Ruchi is amazing!!! By far the coolest teacher around. She is really understanding if you get sick or have a lot of stuff to do as long as you are not obnoxious about it and make up stupid excuses all the time. Her comments on papers were amazing and i went from random babble to being able to write a coherent paper with a focus. She was always available to meet with students and would rearrange her scedule to fit yours. During meetings, she tought me an amazing ammount and our class could tell how smart she was. The end of the year party was a great time. If you have the opportunity, take writing with her. She turns a pretty boring core class into an interesting, really fun class where you learn a lot. Awesome teacher.

Dec 2004

Excellent professor for UW, probably one of the best you can get. Easy to work with, great sense of humor, really down to earth. Very fair grader as long as you imrpove on your first draft by following his suggestions on the final draft..

Dec 2004

Suzanne is a great teacher! The classes were fun and the essays were interesting to write. Suzanne is even greater outside the classroom. Office hours really help to realize why our essays do not work after the 1st draft. Overall awesome teacher who managed to turn a boring class into fun. The only drawback was the amount of work - too much to do besides writing essays. But otherwise I would love to take a class with her again.

Dec 2004

In my opinion, Dara has absolutely no place in a classroom. As a graduate student studying poetry, she has no experience in writing expository and critical papers; even if she does, she doesn't show it in her explanations and notes on papers. I spent an extra 5 to 10 hours on each paper, in hopes that my grade would improve. I saw Dara and went to the writing center after each paper also in an attempt to improve my writing. My grade remained static. She offers no constructive criticism and offers no hope. In fact, most of my class lost hope in improving their grades. It was a lost cause. I lost all interest in writing because of the shoddy teaching and her perfunctory execution as an instructor for a course that is supposed to teach good writing skills for the rest of your college years. Granted, your instructor is assigned, try to switch out. And if you can't, good luck surviving through her monotonous, awkward lectures in a claustrophobic room and uncomfortable wooden chairs.

Dec 2004

Ichiro is the shit. Greatest guy, he's nice, tries hard to be funny, and always wears suit and tie to class (with a really great selection of ties, including a sunflower yellow one). He really enjoys the material, and gets students interested. The best thing about this class is that he opens up the class to debates and arguments, and really gets the class embroiled in conversation. Plus, you'll leave this class a better writer than you were when you came in - even if you come in as a really good writer. This class is invaluable, and this teacher is awesome!

Dec 2004

Elizabeth is absolutley the best person to take this class with. She is flexible with deadlines, very helpful with her comments, always avaliable for extra help, and most importantly, extraordinarily nice. If you have Beth, consider it a blessing.

Dec 2004

Jeff was a blessing to my University Writing class. Funny, smart, and very open to comments and conversation, Jeff made an otherwise dreary subject into an enjoyable experience. He completely understood that most of University Writing was ridiculous, and he accomplished the goals of the course in his own way. He never once talked about a "Lens" essay because he said that the name was stupid, and the "cooperative" portion of our CCP consisted of voting on which essay to write about and then writing our own essays about it. We also skipped the retrospective essay at the end of the year to spend more time on the major essay, the CCP. All in all, I could not have asked for a better teacher for writing class. Every lesson was designed to help us make better choices while writing, and I feel that I am a better writer now than I was before the class. His comments on papers and conversations about essays I was working on were always insightful, and he helped me to form better and more interesting topics.

Dec 2004

A really fantastic and amazing teacher. With such a drab and potentially loathsome curriculum, Heather transformed our classroom into a place of creative and fascinating learning. Even though she is well-read, articulate and lightyears beyond the first years she teaches, Heather never once exuded an air of pretentiousness or condescension. Instead, she is extremely accommodating and easy to be around. She's not a teacher who makes up for the lack of years between her and her students by putting up a front. Class is based around discussion of materials, with gentle direction from Heather, and you find yourself surprised at the end of the hour and a half how much material has been covered in such a digestable and easy fashion. University Writing took the spot as my earliest class at Columbia this semester, but Heather really worked hard to make sure the material stayed both inviting and invigorating to keep us awake. As a result, our class had a stellar attendance rate, with only a few students missing class throughout the term due to illness, etc. Her teaching style distinguishes itself on stressing the craft of writing as well as the argument behind it. Writing an essay for her consisted of caring both about the claim you're making and the way it's presented, something that had not been one of my priorities going in but certaintly showed its worth at the end of the term. She stresses the importance of the discursive community, making you aware that your goal is to be fully cognizant of the audience and how they would feel about your writing. Heather made herself accessible outside of the classroom more so than the rest of my teachers, sending out mass emails frequently and encouraging us to call her cell if problems came up while we were writing essays or reading material for class. Office hours ended up being a great discussion time relating the reading material to the discursive community or a chance for Heather to recommed further reading. Columbia should consider itself lucky to have a fabulous teacher who is not sucked down by the quagmire that could be University Writing. Heather instead takes complete control of the class and reading. By doing so, she creates a class that will change the way you think and approach your academic life.

Dec 2004

One of the nicest, most refreshing people you will meet at Columbia. He doesn't ask much of the class but somehow your writing will improve dramatically. He is a very faire grader and a lovely person to be around. Extremely available outside class, you can even email him drafts and he will email you comments back. The due dates are wonderfully flexible. He's great.

Dec 2004

In my opinion, Garrett is the best that you can get for this core class. He is very intelligent, and knowledgeble about so many different areas and subjects that at times it can be a little intimidating! Yet, at the same time, our class was never boring, the discussions were always animated and interesting, and he has a great sense of humor. He also spends as much time reading and commenting on your essay as you spend writing them, and I feel that he is a very fair grader. He gives very helpful comments, is also available to meet with, and really helps you improve your writing. I think that pretty much my whole class respected him and enjoyed our discussions. My only complaint was that we fell a little behind in terms of when our papers were assigned and due, but this was partially because our class got so involved in discussions that we spent a little too much time on the articles in the begining of the class than we should have. Another good thing: unlike most UW teachers, 'peer review' for our class was completely anonymous, so that your paper was not torn apart in class, which I really appreciated.

Dec 2004

This is the best university writing class ever. For those with tender sensibilities, the language can get a wee bit salty from time to time but Samples is one of the coolest and best instructors you'll find. She is easy going, explores everyone's ideas at length - even the ridiculous ones, selects the most interesting texts possible and makes comments that actually help you to become a better writer. Samples is always dead-on when she grades essays and she's young enough so she understands what it's like to be an undergraduate in our position. If you bust your ass, she recognizes the effort. SWITCH INTO THIS CLASS IF YOU CAN! Seriously.

Dec 2004

Jeff is by far the best University Writing professor out there. He is a really fun, funny, entertaining guy. He recognizes that it is an aweful class and that teaching how to write is impossible, and then proceeds in making the course as painless as possible. He does not follow the trend of grading really hard early on in the semester and then giving inflated grades later so he can pat himself on the back. Instead, he is a fair grader throughout giving all A's and B's. He changes the prompts to make them more interesting than any other teacher's, and he limits the amount of busy work. This resulted in my friends telling me that I was a jerk and that it wasn't fair how much better my UWriting class was than theirs. The class was in a consensus that Jeff O'Neal was the best.

Dec 2004

Johnson's awesome. You're going to love this class while your classmates suffer through the core because Johnson is such a good teacher.

Dec 2004

Rivka is a truly amazing teacher and I cannot recommend her class more highly. Not only does she have the craziest fashion sense (good crazy that is), she is fun, approachable and sincerely interested in her students. She is happy to meet after hours to help on any matter, and writes full and helpful responses to your work. I have heard terrible stories about U.W. but none came to fruition with Rivka. She made this class one of my favourites, and if you get half a chance, you should take her section.

Dec 2004

This was one of my favorite classes. David is funny and entergetic. He has a good sense of humor and is flexible for his students. On drafts he gives his students very helpful feed back.

Nov 2004

A good teacher. Although this semester was her first shot, she did a good job. She is approachable, nice and above all, understanding (she can extend deadlines, for example). You should definetely consider taking her class.

Nov 2004

Ichiro is my favorite professor at Columbia so far, he's awesome. While a lot of freshman don't like UW, Ichiro made class awesome. We had educated debates throughout class about relevant issues, and he really listens to and considers students' opinions. He leaves very helpful feedback on drafts as well as final papers, and his grading system is fair. He really knows his stuff and will make you a better writer if you listen to what he has to say. Usually you can't request a University Writing professor, so feel very lucky if you do get Ichiro. Seriously, this guy is awesome, and class was actually the best I took first semester.

Nov 2004

Very good, fun teacher. Quintessential book worm type. It's not my favorite type of class (at all), but she made the class time interesting at least. Of course, the work is a pain, and it takes up way too much time, but it's probabaly helpful in an undetectable way. She is rather ideological in her choices of readings and discussions, but thats good to talk about whether you agree with her or not.

Nov 2004

I hated this class, and at least half the reason was the teacher. I seriously have never hated a class more. It's a bit misleading for the other reviewers to say that the grading was a little tough (in my opinion); I'd rather say the grading was sporadic and unpredictable. She would write comments on my drafts like "excellent point", "natural storyteller", "original thinker", and would tell me my drafts were very strong, and then would give my papers B- (when I was getting A- on papers for all my other classes). Not to say that it isn't an instructors perrogative to grade as they wish, but I have a deep enmity for what she looks for in a paper. She could care less about content; it's form that matters to her--not even style, but form. Being a jounalist, she wanted all of our papers to be written as though they were newspaper articles, no tolerance (or understanding from what I could tell) of other forms or styles. So she'll be great for you if you want to be a journalist--not knocking her there. But if you like writing literary analysis papers, and don't use "snazzy verbs" and "attention grabbing phrases" you don't have a chance in hell of getting anything above a B. I disagree that her comments were helpful, because they were only helpful for the things she looked for--things to keep the reader's attention. Which, I supposed is helpful, but I don't know any other class where my use of colorful (read: uncommon) words was more important than the thoughts or points I developed. On the last paper in the class, when I finally gave in and wrote the paper she wanted (in half the time I spent on any other paper for that class), I finally got a B+. UW is a terrible class, regardless, but teachers can certainly make it worse--and she did.

Nov 2004

Tianhu was possibly the best instructor I've had in my four years at Columbia. He really takes the time out to listen to his pupils. He's also a very creative instructor. I particularly loved one essay prompt he assigned: "Prove the existence of feces or squirrels. Choose one." Man, my friends had the boringest assignments.

Nov 2004

Allison is an awesome person- very young, hip, and laid-back. Her skills as a teacher are just as impressive- she is able to engage the class and keep things as interesting as possible in a class that is structured to be relatively tedious. Our reading selections are always fun, and discussion, while oftentimes not necessarily about how to improve our writing, is interesting and engaging. The workload is not a piece of cake, but Allison does a good job of helping you through it; she is readily available for meetings and always gives a lot of feedback. UW is not a fun class no matter who teaches you, so if you can get a teacher like Allison, who can at least mitigate some of the pain, consider yourself lucky.

Oct 2004

First of all, Jennifer White is really sweet and very smart. Her class was excellent. While everyone else in the freshman class complained about University Writing, I actually thought my writing really improved. She really knows how to help your writing. I recommend putting a lot of energy into the first draft because she will give you TONS of feedback, and you also won't have as much work to do later on; if you take the feedback into account, you will definitey get a good grade.

Oct 2004

If you're a first year, and you just got assigned Jeff as your Uni Writing teacher, congratulations - you have just hit the jackpot. This guy is unbelievable. He teaches the class to think and analyze, and he is extremely helpful in his assistance on writing essays. His comments on your writing are always insightful, and he really seems to want people to succeed in his class and at this school. Everybody on my dorm floor hates University Writing except for me, and Jeff is the reason for that.

Sep 2004

Joanna is a wonderful person and I had a much better time in her class than I expected I would. She's always willing to help outside of class and gives really good feedback on papers. She also notices when you're trying hard (which is good if you're like me and your paper sucks no matter how much time you spend on it) and she's very patient. The only thing is that she doesn't really teach you how to write. Instead the classes are centered around class discussion of the readings. Still a very good class overall.

Sep 2004

Suzanne is one of the kindest, most personable instructors you could hope to have. Grading is tough though she is flexible on deadlines to some extent. Written feedback is tailored to the writer's level of expertise. A professor with liberal and compassionate political views. Suzanne could make an excellent class even better by putting a lid on the overly talkative students in class who add little to discussions. Off-topic debates in class were an annoyance, but there is no reason to think Suzanne can't quash these better going forward. A very capable, likeable instructor with a gift for writing.

Sep 2004

I'm disturbed by the fact that students at this university would blame their lack of participation in a class on a teacher. Obviously, as a previous reviewer pointed out, you will not get a good grade if you sleep through the class. Then, the class will be a joke, but the joke will be on you. That being said, you can get a lot out of Asifa's class. She is a sweet and understanding woman, and she really does know how to write and teach. In exchange for sharing this with you, she expects that you will participate and be respectful, but that's not out of the ordinary. If you pay attention and work hard, you will emerge a better writer, and you will probably get an A.

Sep 2004

She's fantastic. Very insightful, very helpful. Dedicated to making you a better writer, and very real with evaluations. I highly recommend her class.

Jun 2004

I didn't mind the class while taking it. There was a bigger workload than most other UW classes, but it really didn't seem too bad. About halfway through the semester, though, I started feeling like a lot of the grading was very arbitrary. After one essay, Leora emailed the class to reassure us that she would follow the "trend" of grade inflation. At the end of the semester, though, I was shocked to see that my grade was lower than I expected rather than higher. Be careful with this class. Even if a response seems insignificant, it will probably wind up being graded. There are rarely drafts on essays, so your first chance is probably your last. If possible, I'd switch profs. I didn't, and now I have to deal with this low grade in a supposedly easy freshman writing class.

Jun 2004

Erin is a talented teacher of writing and a good analytical thinker. Of course, this semester we suffered a grad student strike, which cost us our last several class sessions. The extra free time was nice, but I was honestly very disappointed to be without my twice-weekly sessions of talking about how to write better; Erin created a wonderful environment in which we could learn to write better and spent a huge amount of time encouraging and supporting each of us as we tried to take up her challenge of writing papers that forced us beyond our comfort zones.

Jun 2004

Casey is not a bad teacher, he just happens to be an english PhD. And English PhDs are as uptight as they come about critical writing. I would not say that the class is useful at all-- I love the readings we did, and I still quote some of them in conversation. However, the structure and the stiffness of critical writing really turned me off to essay writing. I think that if I had been given a bit more freedom in the subject/aproach to writing, I would have liked this class. If you can, try to find an MFA student who teaches this class, they seem to be generally much more open to new styles of writing and less uptight about rules.

Jun 2004

Great aproachable guy. He really enjoys teaching this class, and the best way to get to know him is outof class. His greatest flaw is controlling cnversation in class, sometimes, my own fault included, conversation could easily get sidetraked. But for a UW teacher, and the horrors i have heard from my friends, Antoly is one of the few at the top of a short list of goo UW proffesors. Feel lucky if you get him

May 2004

I think she's probably better than the average UW instructor based off what other people say. She has useful commentary and is very open to multiple drafts. She's flexible with due dates, and makes class relatively fun. Eh, I haven't heard of many better UW profs.

May 2004

Christine is a really sweet teacher. She offers a lot of help if you need it and is always available outside of class. She was pretty lax about how you chose to approach the boring and weird essays outlined by the department. Sometimes she let the students talk too much. Not a bad grader.

May 2004

Woe to you if you have been assigned Parmasad. Fabricate a conflict in schedule or be prepared to accept your sentence of mental rape until brain damaged. This woman, her class, and your freshman semester by association, will be a NIGHTMARE in which you will be relentlessly and repeatedly subjected to mindless writing "exercises". Get out and run for your social life.

May 2004

ATTENTION: No matter what other reviews may say do not take Leora's class! And I am sorry if you have no choice and have to take her class because it is miserable. The biggest problem that I had with her teaching of University Writing is that she did not allow us to write drafts. While all of my other peers had the opportunity to really focus on their writing and making it more effective by three or four drafts most of the time our class had to turn in ONE, FINAL DRAFT.

May 2004

Robin Schaer is extremely nice and very helpful with comments. I would say she is a fair grader. She takes a true interest in the course and is very interested in feedback. She was always very relaxed but extremely competent and doesn't take herself "way too seriously" the way UW teachers are often reputed to do.

May 2004

Catastrophe doesnÂ’t begin to describe the situation. The teacher didnÂ’t arrive on time to a single class! CanÂ’t be bothered to even begin listing the reasons for not taking a class with this teacher (and there are many reasons). you who are searching for the worst teaching experience in Columbia, search no firther! You have surely found what you sought. Also not a very generous grader. Stay away at all costs!

May 2004

Do not take a class by this professor if at all possible! She makes you read the worst possible texts, and then she goes on and on as if they are the best pieces of literature ever written. When you are writing your essays, she leads you in completely different paths. After one draft, she may tell you to do something, and then after you do that, she says something completely different. Also, if you are a guy it will hurt you, because she gives advantage to flaming liberal girls. On top of all of that, she grades very harshly. Most of my friends who take this class received A-s or As, and I looked at their essays and they weren't anything special. I know kids in my class who received Cs and their essays were much better than those who received As from other professors/TAs. Maybe it is because she just taught English grad students at NYU, and expect that level from us, but I don't know. If you are unfortunate enough to be put in her section, I recommend switching out by some means.

May 2004

I had heard all of the horror stories about University Writing, but Michele was the ideal teacher for this course. She did a phenomenal job, even though she seemed very demanding at times. Always willing to help out via email or office hours, she seemed incredibly dedicated. Her comments are always good, even if her suggestions are somewhat unreasonable, especially on final papers. But you'll actually be able to enjoy writing with Michele. The strike notwithstanding, UW was a worthwile class. Even though we didn't get to really do our Collaborative Critical Projects, and Michele didn't want to meet outside of Columbia like some other teachers did, it was probably more of an ideology issue than anything else. Highly recommended.

May 2004

Bina is awesome. She's basically a kid just like us but she knows what she's doing. She usually comes late to class, but that means that I don't have to rush to get there myself so it works out well. She's a lot of fun to have as a teacher, and makes the material interesting. She grades pretty fair on the papers, and is flexible with giving extentions(no rewrites though). It does tend to take her a little while to get the papers back. I would definitely recomment taking her for University Writing.

May 2004

The other review is essentially right, although understated. He's good. Very good. Probably the best U Writing teacher there is. He's approachable, fair, and insightful. If you see him on your schedule list, take him.

May 2004

Compared to what I've heard about other UW sections I believe this one was typical. Flora is a very nice person, and she dressed nice to every class. She was flexible, which is good if you are a procrastinator but frustrating if you are trying to plan your schedule with the due dates. Her class is fun to go to; discussions are interesting, and the essays are not unreasonable. Her comments and conferences can be very helpful, and unlike some people I found this course to be very helpful to my writing and making an argument.

May 2004

I thought Joanna did a great job in writing comments on my papers and helping me become a better writer. The class discussions were generally boring and a waste of time.

May 2004

Tiffany Fung was an inspirational teacher. I learned so much. The experience can be compared to a religious one. Take her class!

May 2004

The phrase "deceptive android" is a little severe for Farooq. As a result, possibly, of his CULPA reviews (which he reads - hi Farooq!), he wasn't SO tough this semester - I know at least one person who got an A on every paper. No easy class, however, is this. If you'd like to do well, I'd recommend conferencing with him outside of class as much as possible. It'll give you a better idea of exactly what he wants to see on your revisions. Farooq is a really friendly and intelligent guy, and he knows how to get a good discussion going, but he sometimes has trouble backing up his ideas. He often, for instance, told me in his comments on my papers that I should explain the "whys" and "hows" of my arguments in my revisions. Fair enough. When, however, I asked him "Why should I provide those details?" and "How should I provide them?", he was unable to come up with whys and hows of his own, so I was confused as to how I should proceed. To Farooq's credit, however, I've found myself thinking far more critically about my academic writing - for all of my classes - since the start of his course than I was before the semester started. That's no small accomplishment on Farooq's part. In addition, Farooq was always available to conference outside of class and just a sweet guy in general. I give him, therefore, what I believe is his favorite grade anyway: a B+.

May 2004

Kevin Newman is young, easy on the eyes, and pretty damn smart, but he doesn't exactly impart a passion for the subject. I'd be more suspicious of him if he did. Columbia just cannot figure out how to develop a truly useful writing class. Kevin's approach seems to be to dig around the week's pile, select the most comically pitiful student work, and tear into it (in his own delicate sort of way). Complaints: He'll pretend to be interested in the most vapid comments and act like every essay--even the ones written 45 minutes before class--is a revision away from respectability. Uh, no. Grading is standard, which is to say, merciless. I pulled an A-, which makes me a bit more sympathetic. You'll learn a few invisibly fine points of grammar (which I intend to lord over friends and family) and develop a tremendous aversion to inductive reasoning. My essays did get better, mainly because I was scared out of my mind that my lot would be drawn.

May 2004

Ms. Schulman made University Writing a more pleasant experience than I expected. She did not remove readings or essays from the workload, but gave us great latitude in discussing the readings and choosing topics for the research paper. She's a tough grader; A's are hard to come by, but she always explains the reasoning behind her grades and is always willing to sit down and discuss your papers. My only complaint, and a mild one at that: sometimes she comments so much on your papers that you don't even know where to start fixing them. But from what I've heard, that's not out of the ordinary for UW teachers. If you end up in her class, stay with her because she does her best to make a typically unpleasant class more pleasant.

May 2004

It's impossible to overemphasize the importance of taking this course with someone else. While theoretically every section of University Writing should be more or less interchangable, Ms. Wallack manages to make sure that her section always has more work to do than any of the others. In addition to assigning more work, she tends not to be too specific about exactly what she's looking for, and never returned assignments quickly enough for the next one to reflect her comments. She also has no sense of time management in the classroom, often beginning what should be a 20 minute discussion with 5 minutes left in class. While she's willing to be somewhat flexible on major deadlines to those who she thinks make the class a priority, there's no predicting whether or not those people are the ones who actually give a damn. She'll let you redo your papers for an improved grade, but if you fall into the trap of doing so, you'll fall hopelessly behind.

May 2004

I completely agree with the previous review. Monica in my opinion, is a truly brillant professor. First, she is not bias - if you do not agree with her opinion, just substantiate it with evidence. She will not hold it against you for 'disagreeing' with her. Second, she is patient and willing to help you out with your writing, provided you are serious at all about it. I have found myself improving immensely throughout this semester. She will make every effort to go out of her way to offer pointers on how you can further improve on your writing skills. She is the type of professor that will teach you how to learn - a trait I have realized that only a dozen or so professors possess. An A in this class is not esay (but then, so is every UW class). It is only when you compare the A to the B and C essays you have written, will you recognize how far you have come in writing academic papers.

Apr 2004

Tiffany is a great instructor. Although a lot of students think University Writing is a pain in the neck, getting through it with Ms. Alkan is OK. She is a very fair grader, and I really feel like I learned a lot about my personal writing style and bad habits, and how to improve them. Ms. Alkan always made time to be available to talk about papers and concerns, and I found this to be extremely beneficial, especially for re-drafting papers. She can be picky on the first drafts, but after getting over your ego and realizing that your paper really DOES need some work, incorporating her comments really do make a better paper, and you will be a better and more conscientious writer for it. Ms. Alkan is cool and personable, and seems to enjoy interacting with her students. I definitely recommend her class.

Apr 2004

Monica won't stand for your BS or your excuses, and it is for this and many other reasons that she is a wonderful instructor. She'll make you work hard. She won't dole out undue praise. But, she will sit down and talk with you about your writing, give you honest input, and always push you to produce something better than you thought was possible. She doesn't regard A's as her first born child; it's just that you actually have to earn them. And while to some, all this might make her sound like a drill sargeant, she actually has a sharp wit and friendly disposition. She tends to choose politically charged material for the readings. If you don't agree with it, don't be afraid to share your opinion. She's not going to penalize you--but she will ask you to provide the same evidence for your argument that she requires of everyone else.

Apr 2004

Unbelievable. As the past reviewer wrote, consider yourself truly blessed if you land yourself a spot in Andrea's section. She's young, fun, brilliant, New Orleans-bred, Stanford-educated and truly a breath of fresh air on this stuffy ivy-league campus. She's humble and never takes herself too seriously and despite enormous amounts of work as a third year PhD, she was never in a bad mood and always willing to take time out of her schedule to conference with students. She KNOWS writing and more importantly, she knows how to teach writing. She made class discussions interesting despite tedious material. And last but not least, Andrea is very easy on the eyes which, among other things, made going to her class a pleasure. If there is anyway you can get in her section - do it.

Apr 2004

This class was so helpful! If you are an international student you are definitely going to learn a lot. Interesting essays from Norton Reade rand great topics for exams. I loved her!!!! But be prepared,grading is tough though! It is almost impossible to get an A. But the knowledge she gives is worth it!

Apr 2004

Brantley Bryant is a really nice guy. He won't assign too much homework and he will always extend your deadlines. On the downside, he has trouble making classes very exciting or shall I say even remotely interesting. He's super lenient with his attendance policy which can be frustrating in a class that is based around workshopping. On more than one occaision people were left without partners and Brantley seemed ambivalent and didn't do anything helpful to solve the problem. His overall approach to the course was unstructured. On the last day of class we studied English grammar. Helpful?? No.

Apr 2004

I wholeheartedly agree with the previous review. One of the worst classes I have taken, and one of the worst teachers I've ever had. For all the assignments, she never made it clear what she wanted. When we would get graded papers back, we would be downgraded for things that had never been mentioned in class before. She was often unprepared for class. She made assumptions about what we already knew, which were completely unfounded and wrong. She made us do in-class exercises that felt pointless, didn't go anywhere, and didn't relate to the graded assignments. You're not allowed to change UW sections unless you have a conflict. But, like the last review said, if you're assigned to be in Ms. Paramsad's class, you should definitely create a conflict to get out of it.

Apr 2004

Casey's a cool guy. He's definitely smart, knows his stuff, interested in stimulating class discussion. He's pretty nice about pushing back deadlines on papers if there's a general class consensus on how much work they have coming up, and is really good about meeting up with you outside of class to go over any questions.

Apr 2004

Eugene is a fantastic teacher. I can only agree with the only other review of him. He is a little quarky, but it only adds to the flavor of the class. You can tell that he is passionate about what he is doing, and it truly is engaging. You go into class after having done the readings, and you find out a whole new way to think, a way to analyze. You learn theories, you learn concepts, you learn! This is not a high school english class, it is completely about learning how to think! And in the end how to find your own voice. It is a shame that what I learned there is not appreciated in other classes. Because after his class I truly began to learn how to write. I was able to understand a sense of purpose in each sentence and the sentence construction. That is to say, nothing was written without my strong belief that it should be written. It has been the single greatest experience I have had in school so far. I just was intoxicated by the subjects we discussed. I spent more hours working on one essay than I probably did working on all essays in my previous 'english' classes. I can only hope that all the rest of my classes could be like this. Eugene is engaging, truly brilliant, and if you thought going to class was fun, it is even better to go in during his office hours and talk about your essays. He is fantastic one-on-one During his office hours, time passes so quickly as you get off on tangents on literature, literary theory, writing, what it means to write. Learning is fun with Eugene. He will make a fantastic professor one day. I say if you can get a class with him...take it. If he is TAing in a class...take it. You will not regret it.

Apr 2004

Tiffany was pretty great, as far as a U Writing teacher goes. I think she helped my writing improve, and as far as grading goes, I didn't think she was harsh at all. I went to speak with her regarding most of my papers at least once or twice, and she gave great feedback. As long as you made an effort to improve, revise, or rework your paper, she generally rewarded you with a good grade.

Apr 2004

Rishi is one of the most helpful, enthusiastic, and interesting professors I have met at Columbia. Although I was initially intimidated by his syllabus and rules ("tardiness is a practice that will be frowned upon" and a 3 absence limit), he doesn't take attendance. Instead, you will want to attend his class just to watch him in action, sometimes getting so excited about a thought that he will write on the board so quickly as to be unintelligeable. He is very flexible in his due dates and syllabus, but he is also a very good editor and writing teacher, something it is not easy to be.

Mar 2004

Some UW instructors seem to think that a B- is an excellent paper. And others give A's to people who show up. Claire is perfectly in between. She won't go out of her way to screw you over, but if you get an A on a paper, then you really deserved it. Take advantage of her office hours. I cannot stress this enough.

Mar 2004

Eugene is an excellent instructor. He has vigour and passion in what he does. He knows the readings well, but is not strict about THE interpretation. That is to say he ll always look into new ideas and perspectives, and this he does without going off topic or no longer making sense. His approach to writing and learning about writing is great. through the readings he has taught us to close read and analyze liek no one else. Incredibly smart, and nice in a slightly goof way, this instructor also can understand students, their demands and concerns when homework is due. He makes the class thus enjoyable, and I actually like pumping out papers for him. If he's teaching UW again and you haven t taken it, take it with him. Watch an eye out also on what classes he may TA in the English dept...

Mar 2004

Beware! Avoid at all costs. This woman is ridiculous, the course itself is already very consuming, but her requests are way beyond that. It is obvious that she favors certain students (cutting off others). In addition, her mind is on her own dissertation paper. She doesn't take the time to get into the minds of her students as they write. Her first words of thanks, and the lenth of comments is only a false image. (Unfortunately she is the assistant director to the writing program.)

Feb 2004

Coilin Parsons is one of the best teachers I have had. He is extremely intelligent and makes sure that you are a better writer from taking his class. Not an easy grader, but his class is worth it.

Feb 2004

This is a review I should have written a long time ago. Shayne is very smart and an incredibly committed and effective teacher. Taking his class helped me become far more organised in my thought and in my writing. I do not remember enough else. Shayne is wonderful. Help him help you and you'll learn a lot. Oh yes, Shayne was so good that he was an instructor for L&R instructors the year after he taught us. And then I believe he pioneered the University Writing course. But I'm not sure. I don' t think he teaches L&R anymore. But take anything with him. He's too bright and too committed not to do a brilliant job.

Jan 2004

At first I was skeptical about Ichiro due to his thick Japanese accent and the fact that he had a hard time understanding us. He got over the language barrier though, and was a great teacher. He really cared a lot about the class and was always really prepared. He probably worked harder than we did (and we worked pretty freaking hard). He's a great guy, and class was always a lot of fun.

Jan 2004

Dohra is a jewel. She is down to earth and honest. She'll help you with any problem you have no matter what the subject. My favorite quality about her is that she won't let you get away with anything. She can see right away if you're not working to your potential, or if you're slacking off. Don't even try it with her. She gives excellent comments and really makes sure that you understand them. All papers are first due in draft form. Then, after a week or two of comments and revisions, you turn in your final draft for a grade. She knows more about grammar than most professors twice her age. If you're lucky enough to get her, take advantage of the opportunity you've been given.

Jan 2004

Mr. Trask's class was certainly not enjoyable, nor do I feel I learned much, but overall, it was an easy A (and the whole thing could've been worse). His class discussions were often frustrating and boring, but they certainly weren't difficult-- you could easily get away with sitting in a corner silently for most of class, perhaps spouting off a few lines of BS if absolutely neccessary (I do think, however, he boosted the grades of those students who participated readily in discussion). He was very anal about getting the early class assignments in on time; in fact, he was quite rude about them. His attitude was often difficult to endure, but if you can manage to maintain your composure, he generally settles down and behaves. He really got into our class' research paper; he even took us on a field trip that was fairly enjoyable. Despite his poor assignments, which were generally vague, not offering the student much direction, he was a fair grader. Although he was not very nice about coming in outside of his office hours (if you have another class at that time), if you did manage to meet with him frequently, he would help you with your paper and, as a result, give you a higher grade. In short, endure him with grace, play his games, and your experience will be bearable...

Jan 2004

Great writing professor. If you can get him, you're really really lucky. He's helpful on papers, and wants his students to do his best. He can also take a really bad core curriculum syllabus and make it interesting. Great sense of humor, and not too much pressure.

Jan 2004

I don't know whether his grading was harsh or not because I never compared grades with anyone else in the class, but it seemed reasonable considering the amount of effort I put in. He didn't seem to respond well to improperly formatted emails, but he was nice enough to reply to them anyway. He's rather nitpicky when it comes to grammatiks, but if you ignore the penciled-corrections it won't annoy you too much. He's a good teacher, though, and I thoroughly enjoyed the class.

Jan 2004

Becky Dean is a very nice woman. But she's too nice. She goes along with everything you say in class, but behind the guise of the red pen she is far different. Class time is spent going around the circle and inputing a worthless affirmative or negative or going around the same circle adding another point to the list on the blackboard. It's painful, boring, and not at all thought provoking. The time spent in class with Becky is pointless and a total waste of time and money. Her grades are unrealistic and diluted, with everyone receiving grades mainly of B or close to B. Her comments on papers are concerned mainly with MLA format or misuse of colons, and her grades are arbitrary and defended only by generalizations that can be found on your classmates' papers as well. Becky is a safe and nice teacher, but she is a bad one.

Jan 2004

Lively teaching manner. Likes to involve her students. I found her knowledgeable on a number of subjects. She's very humane and not at all standoffish. Always willing to provide extra help if needed and always made herself available to her students. Good sense of humour. Kept the class flowing. Fair grader. With her, in the end, what you get is what you gave. It's that simple.

Jan 2004

I'm so glad that's over. This class was so bad it makes me laugh. We freshman were eager to get to our (for some) first class at Columbia way back in September, so all of us whom were early didn't notice that the teacher was sitting there because of the awkward silence. One student even sat next to Becky and commented on the awkward silence and Becky concurred. What a way for the class to begin! The truth is, the class would have been even better if it were one endless awkward silence and not an attempt at another Core blunder. In essence, University Writing seemed to have the potential of being a sometimes-decent course, but the extremely dull and nervous teaching style crushed all hopes we had. On top of that, the grading seemed somewhat arbitrary- based on what i saw during peer-revision, some of the students in that class truly deserved to fail, but it seemed the more simple and dull or randomly novel your paper was, the better your grade would be. My advice: Either chose to write a very simple essay- or attempt to do something extraordinary with the topic and refrain from consciously attending the class because you will feel as though your brain is collapsing on itself. For 2.5 classes we openly brainstormed different topics and subtopics to pursue in our groups and our final essays, but after we seemed to have narrowed down our focus to 2 very interesting topics Becky came to the next class and politely removed them on the basis that they had nothing to do with our readings and instead mustered up all of her false enthuseasm for the topic of Wall Street which turned out to be even more mind-numbing than it sounded once we devoted a month to it and which had less to do with our readings than the 2 interesting topics we had formed as a class. At best this class is laughable. Hopefully, there will be a couple people in your class that know what they are talking about, one that sleeps with his eyes open, a few whose comments are so pointless that they are entertaining, and one whose attempts at making the class less formal are so asinine that your UW notebook becomes a collection of his quotes. I found that most of my time was spent watching pigeons make fecal stalactites on the opposing building, wishing I had wings and a pea sized cortex.

Jan 2004

Andy is just the best. There's no other way to describe him. His section of University Writing (a class which should be just a HUGE drag) was fantastic. Not only is he phenomenally brilliant, but he's so down-to- earth and...young. He was working on his dissertation while teaching this section, so he's totally sympathetic to the role of student. Andy was always accessible when I needed help on anything or had any questions and made this stupid course a hell of a lot of fun. He's an amazing professor and just an awesome guy. He's a winner.

Jan 2004

if you end up in andrea's section of UW, consider yourself blessed. from what i heard about other sections, this new course had the potential to really bite, but in andrea's first shot she made it a pleasure. shes surprisingly brilliant (you may not think so when you see her on the first day-- youll understand soon), very helpful, exciting and caring. as a graduate student, she knows enough about her field, and is young enough to assume the role as a friend. she's got an incredible ability to make you make your writing a hell of a lot better (as bad as that sentence was). take advantage and put in the effort-- she will make it pay off, and you will grow greatly in your writing. very, very cool person. great dresser. i wish she taught more classes.

Jan 2004

He takes his job very seriously. Unfortunately he also has no sense of humor. He comes up with complicated exercises, doesn't explain them well, then gets frustrated when no one understands what we are supposed to do. Because of this class discussions could be frustrating. On the other hand, he was available during his office hours and flexible about other meeting times. He is very willing to help and provides useful insights during one on one meetings, unlike in class time. He also took the class on a fun field trip. He gets overly excited about the library and his doctorate, but his enthusiasm can be sort of endearing.

Jan 2004

I found Gisolfi's instruction challenging, but she's a great teacher. Taking University Writing from her helped me a lot with my writing. She's very critical of everything that you turn in, but if you pay attention to the problems that she's pointing out your writing will improve. I learned a lot in this class. Gisolfi's also funny, and leads some really great discussions in the class. She's also very responsive to ideas that students have.

Jan 2004

I completely disagree with the previous review (What kind of person expects to get an easy A in any class, especially when they sleep through them?). The class was extremely helpful for developing my reading, writing, and research skills, thanks to the instructor´s thorough comments and frequent encouragement, especially in the very difficult but rewarding research project. All in all, Asifa´s a good instructor and Í´d recommend her class to any one who really wants to learn how to write a research paper.

Jan 2004

Very good professor who makes you work hard. His analysis of your paper's argument is excellent and incisive, and he forces you to consider the worth of every sentence. Coilin is not an easy grader, but he is fair. You'll get the grade you deserve.

Jan 2004

If you get Jennifer Sonntag for University Writing, you are very lucky. Although timid at first, Ms. Sonntag qucikly establishes a great dynamic with the class. During discussions about the excerpts we read, rather than pushing the class towards a particular focus, she gently guides while allowing the students to expound upon their own conclusions. The topics assigned for the essays were pretty flexible, allowing you to explore your own area of interest (save for the dreaded constellation essay... no one in any university writing section really knew what to do about that). Ms. Sonntag is a very fair grader as well... she is more concerned with the structure and quality of your writing, rather than nitpicky about small grammatical errors or punctuation mistakes. (She'll correct them on your paper, but she won't take off unless it's really bad). Also, you can tell she really puts effort into reading each paper by the lengthy and insightful comments she makes. I feel I grew more as a writer in one semester with this class than in my entire four years of high school.

Jan 2004

Just how I like my teachers-- supportive with her students while maintaining a cynical NY attitude that all Columbia instructors should be required to possess. She really wants you to experiment with your writing and try new things, which is exactly what University Writing (or L&R, whatever) is all about. Funny, engaging, and a snappy dresser; if you get her as an instructor, consider yourself extremely lucky, especially if you have any intention of going into writing as a career.

Jan 2004

Tench is a good guy, a fair grader, and an average teacher. Don't be fooled by his black shirt, black jacket, black pants get up; he's not French, not gay, and not an existentialist chain smoker. If you're an okay writer, meaning you have good grammar, okay composition, good flow, then you won't learn much, if anything, from this course. Partially that's because the U.W. ciriculum/concept sucks a fat one. Bottom line: the course sucks, but you have to take it, and Tench has no real mean side, and I dont think he gives less than a B- for grades, so go ahead and take his section.

Jan 2004

Ichiro Takayoshi is by far the most amazing writing teacher I have ever had. He puts a massive amount of effort into the class. His teaching style is quite effective (he weaves tips on writing into discussions of texts), and I feel that, after having succesfully completed the class, I'm a much better writer than when I started. All comments on the drafts were comprehensive and useful. Overall, a truly great instructor.

Dec 2003

Simply said, she's awesome. I'm just here to rave. Work with her, ask her questions, respond to her criticism, and you will learn a lot. She's great at student/ teacher communication, and she's great at challenging you to think and think and think, and write really well. If you get her for University Writing, you're really lucky, take advantage of the term.

Dec 2003

A history grad student with no writing background teaching an English class is questionable to begin with. She will reasure you that there is no question, her ability to teach is just shy of pathetic, and her attitude is that of a drill instructer. Just not as loud and much more sarcastic. If you are interested in your GPA look elswhere as she is not at all concerned with fair gradeing. Bottom line:Nasty women, cant teach for her life, and will murder your GPA.

Dec 2003

Terrible Terrible Terrible. She has to be one of the worst university writing teachers out there, and that says something considering the generally terrible teachers in the UW department. She doesn't know what she's doing, and that comes through in the way the class is taught. One day she showed up to class without a syllabus and she had no idea what she was doing and then let the class go an hour early because she was so lost. Also, when she pronounces adverbs (especially those that end in "ally"), it sounds like she is saying "bay-sik-ahh-leee" and it gets really annoying after a while. You'll see what I mean. She also is really bad at proofreading and made one person write "In this essay, I will discuss..." as their thesis. Are we still in 3rd grade? She is a joke and so is this class. Also, I'm not bitter, I ended up with a great grade in the class, but it was a severe pain in the ass. Make a conflict ASAP in your schedule so you can switch sections!!!! Beware the ides of Parmasad!!!!

Dec 2003

at first, i thought dara would be a cool teacher. i was wrong, and i believe my class, for the most part, felt the same way. she seemed very nervous to be teaching a class, so class room discussions were dull and she had little to add. essay assignments were very vague. for the most part, she gives everyone a blanket grade for an assignment (either all A-/B+ or B/B+ depending). i wouldn't recommend taking dara's section, but it's not terrible if you happen to get stuck in it.

Dec 2003

Jeff is one of the coolest teachers for Uni Writing. He is awesome. Class was actually fun and interesting and the reading wasnt the worst. For the research paper the class got to decide the topic rather then the teacher like in most others. It helped alot because we actually wrote about something we wanted to rather then something that the teacher wants. Jeff was very helpful in editing papers and he altered office hours so that everyone could meet with him.

Dec 2003

I partially agree with the last review. All I have to say is that this guy is someone who will having you believe that he cares about your opinion of the class and that he's "one of you" (his "Revolution" bag only seems to secure that view), but in the end, he will listen in order to appease you, not out of genuine concern. It seems like that song from the 70's "Backstabbers" was made just for him. He won't admit to not knowing or not understanding a topic, which will leave you confused half the time... you'll probably end up writing a paper or two that's full of B.S. and at the last minute. I can't stress it enough... if you have a "contrary" opinion, expect sh*t.

Dec 2003

All right, there's a lot of Farooq bashing here. I admit, for a good majority of the class, I didn't like him, but in the end, I don't think he (or the class) was very bad at all. He is a VERY tough grader (I think the highest grade given to any one EVER was an A-, and you'll never achieve above that). But, in the end Farooq's not such a bad guy. I think he's a good teacher stuck in a very bad department. He'll have interesting debates with the students in class that are related (or not really) to what we're discussing class, and I think that's what made the class most enjoyable. Don't listen to how horribly awful the man is, because in the end, he's really not that bad at all.

Dec 2003

Though this class had the possibility of being a living hell, Christine Nadir made it one of the my most enjoyable experiences of the semester. She is an AWSOME teacher. Though appearing unbelievably intimidating at the start of the semester, she turned out to be a real softy. When she realized that some of the readings were excessive, she changed the syllabus and she always gave us extensions if we needed them. Moreover, she is a really smart, critical woman who want us to improve our writing skiils. Anybody who gets this class is definitely blessed by the register gods.

Dec 2003

The grading was kind of rough, I had to work pretty hard for Bs, at least on the first two papers. That said, the grading wasn't at all unreasonable and her comments were always specific and immensely helpful. You can definitely learn a lot if you work, or if you go to get help for all the papers. She's frequently available outside of her normal office hours if you ask. Overall, I can't imagine how any other UW teacher could be better.

Dec 2003

Ms. Wallack is a highly intelligent person and generally has a good teaching style. But, with both her teaching and commenting/grading on essays, she tends to deconstruct ideas and statements to the point which one feels he has to write an entirely new essay. She is an extremely harsh grader, and will push you to your limit until you have exhausted the subject and the current assignment at hand. Depending on how you see it, this could either be a good or bad thing. Other U.Writ instructors are much more lenient and don't grade at such a high level - so getting an A in this class is not an esay task, but, at the same time, you do actually learn to refine your thinking and write at a higher level. To put it this way, I hated the class while taking it, but now I am so grateful. Yes, Ms. Wallack is really tough, and doesn't take s**t (like late papers, bad papers, etc), but she is a human being and gives a lot of feedback and consideration, including extensions, to her students. In all, I think she's tough cuz she knows we can take it.

Dec 2003

I would have to agree with the other reviewers: Cristine is an extremely nice and easy-going person who is very approachable and a joy to chat with. Her comments on your writing are extremely insightful and they really help improve your writing, but her grading is not that generous at all. Overall, though, if you have Cristine stick with her - she's a really cool person and she can really help make you into a better writer.

Dec 2003

Cristine is a wonderful professor: she's funny, easy-going, and a joy to chat with. Her assignments are fair and fun, as long as you don't leave the work until the last minute. Her grading is a bit tough, but her comments always make you feel good as a writer. Her idea to use peer workshops to critique papers is excellent as you get to learn from your peers and not just from her. Your writing will definitely benefit under Cristine’s guidance. Also, try to get to know her outside of class-she’s a very cool person and writer. If you get Cristine as your UW professor, you’re lucky—she’s a keeper!

Dec 2003

I am advising you please get your schedule changed. You will not get an A in the class. He grades super hard. He acts cool towards you and talks nice in class, but he will f**k you when it comes to your grade.

Dec 2003

Cristine, as she asked us to call her, was a fairly good writing teacher, working with a fairly new class that is a huge waste of time. Although Cristine can let the class be a little too "democratic" in picking due dates or paper topics, she did a good job of being flexible about paper due dates, and gave insightful comments on rough drafts. She definitely an expert in critiques, and has a lot of good journalism insight if you're at all interested in that. Overall, if you have Cristine, stick with her. Just make sure to do your work -- it's nearly impossible to hide in a class of 12, and participation is a huge percentage.

Dec 2003

Dara is a graduate student in poetry, which means that she has a genuine interest in what we read. The fact that she is only a few years older than her students and very outgoing made being in class with her a joy. I think everyone had a really great rapport with her. She cares about your writing, which I think is probably rare in a large university. Then again, I am only a feeble freshman. The group project was kind of a drag and the objectives were confusing, but all in all it was bearable. She gives incredibly helpful comments on drafts, too. I don't know if she is going to continue teaching UW but if so it'll be lucky for you if you get placed into her section.

Nov 2003

Anatoly is most definitely a grad student--he comes in dressed in a sort of bomber jacket and jeans--but he does know his stuff. Really mellow, speaks sort of slowly, and has a slightly annoying habit of letting his voice drop towards the end of his sentences. But he will really push you to be a good writer if you take his suggestions. Extremely helpful and prompt, always returned papers very quickly. The main problem in this class was that we had some engineers who would complain in class about the fact that they have to take a writing class. Anatoly stuck with it and kept class discussions pretty focused despite the interruptions. Overall, a good teacher to have for your writing requirement.

Nov 2003

Not bad, especially considering the course was L and R. She wasn't such a great discussion leader but did raise interesting points and her assignment were actually pretty stimulating, especially considering the horror stories about L and R papers. And she had my back when I ragged on this kid for being pretentious.

Nov 2003

It's clear to me that the earlier raving reviews of "Miss Park" were written by her; it's entirely impossible that someone would a) find this class interesting and b) understand her very own patented type of English. The way she speaks, the new rules she imposes, her cold demeanor -- you sit through these classes thinking that someone has to be playing a cruel joke on you. The first paper was based on a subjective topic (the most impressive person in your life) that she expected us to answer as objectively as possible; everyone ended up getting low Cs and Ds. Your grade only improves over the course of the semester because she knows it would reflect badly upon her to have these low marks; she's afraid someone will catch on to her tyranny, so she's a bit merciful with Bs. She is wholly unapproachable because while she pretends to care about your grade and progress, when you go to see her during office hours she basically laughs at you if you don't get it. And why would you get it? This class taught me nothing about logic, nothing about rhetoric, nothing about anything particularly pertinent, just about how Sunyoung understands English, her second language, and how you should, too. There's something to be said about an English class taught by someone who struggles with basic pronunciation, yet knows the ins and outs of grammar in the outdated and irrelevant Holy Bedford Manual; it also speaks volumes about how much the Core department cares about poor first years who are forced to take this class. So if you find yourself in Sunyoung's class, either run for the hills and beg the Core people for forgiveness or sit back, survive and be ready to laugh at yourself, her, and the ridiculous situation in which you've been placed. Afterwards, remember to remind the Core dept that they owe you BIG.

Nov 2003

Brian Seibert is an amazing teacher! University Writing sucks like no other, but he made it tolerable. Brian is funny, smart, and incredibly nice. The class involves a lot of stupid activities, and he laughed with us about how dumb some of it was. He puts alot of time into making helpful comments on one's papers, and seemed to genuinely want to help everyone in the class become a better writer. In addition, I respected him because he is a writer himself, having written for the Village Voice, the New Yorker, and probably others. If you get him, rejoice!

Nov 2003

While I can't say it was AS bad as the other review for him, I will agree that Mr. S is not a good teacher. For someone teaching L&R, he had a horrible sense of both grammar and logic. One example: He told us syllogisms were bad to use. Be that as it may, he claimed that they were false. He gave the example that if we assume that all men are mortal, and that socrates is a man, then it follows that socrates is mortal. He "disproved" this one because he has a cat named socrates who isn't a man . . . He did regular grammar exercises, taking sentences from our papers and asking us to find what's wrong with them. About a quarter of the time, the sentence was fine and his proposed solution was wrong. On occasion it took half the class trying to explain it to him to get him to understand and agree. All in all, I more or less enjoyed the class. I wrote my essays in the hour or so before class, got a decent grade, and though Mr. S was a nice guy at least. And I really did enjoy class discussion, at least when Mr. S had his mouth shut.

Nov 2003

She is a very good teacher, but she gives too much homework and expects too much out of people. On top of that, she is very high up in the English Department, and does not curve. The average is a C+ on most essays!! She lets you redo essays. However, instead of permitting us to redo essays, she kind of expects us too. It's as if she grades us very low so we HAVE to redo the essays, which there is no time for. Try to stay away from this professor, because the work will occupy all of your time and even if you spend insane amounts of time on the essays, the grade won't reflect that.

Nov 2003

Basically she was awful. Granted I did have her the first semester she taught but isn't L and R (or University Writing) supposed to be an automatic A?..not for her! I think I slept through 90 percent of the classes and although all your friends will say L and R is a joke her class really is.

Sep 2003

I thought Monica was great. Granted, very little could make L&R an even remotely enjoyable class, but I found her friendly and very approachable. L&R with her was about as painless as possible- and don't worry, she definitely gives out A's if she sees you're working.