General Chemistry I and II

Mar 2013

I usually don't write reviews but I feel I have to in this case. I had two semesters with Beer because he's only teacher who teaches in the evening. Nice guy, pretty funny but he can't teach...seriously. He doesn't use powerpoints, jumps around, isn't receptive to students, and writes his test questions in a way that doesn't readily relate to what we learn in lecture, recitation or the textbook. He messes up his own tests, as though he didn't take the time to look over them at all (questions are numbered wrong, or the right answer isn't one of the choices which he admits afterwards, that type of thing). If you have questions, even about what he meant in a test question, he usually refers you to TA's. I really don't know where he gets his exam materials. The exam questions are related to the topics we learn in class but they're more think outside the box, critical thinking questions than anything that you'd be able to actually study and learn from the resources provided. He curves but not nearly enough considering how he teaches and tests. I consistently learned twice as much from my TA's in the 50 mins a week I had with them than with Beer in the 3 hrs a week of lecture. The one and only upside to Beer is that he gives good feedback after the tests, i.e. puts up solutions and class performance statistics. It doesn't at all make up for what his teaching does to your grade though. My advice, unless you have a private tutor, keep away from him.

Nov 2009

Well, Dr. Brydges is no longer with us. She has moved on to another institution of higher learning. Inquiring chemistry students, you do not know how lucky you are. She was one of the worst professors I have ever had the opportunity of taking. She has permanently scarred my GPA. Oh dearest Stacey, you are gone, but you are certainly not forgotten. May the students of her new school be spared. I am just lamenting. I really feel that Columbia made a mistake hiring this person. Perhaps that is why she no longer teaches here. I guess I still have a lot on animosity toward this professor.

May 2009

I had this professor for General Chemistry II. First of all, this is her first time teaching general chemistry so I felt she didn't present the information in a concise, comprehensive way. The practice exams never mirrored the real midterms, in fact, they were on a whole different level of reasoning--deciphering the question was difficult to impossible. It seems that some professors are not ready to be teaching, and I knew that chemistry would be competitive and difficult, but she was no reassurance. I was unfortunate to have her but I believe if you work hard in the class, despite her inability to teach, you can do well in the class.

Mar 2007

Dan is a great, if not the best, TA for this course. He makes sure that all the assignment problems are covered by the time you take the midterm and outlines the sections nicely during recitation. He's great in office hours and very approachable; take him if you can.

Apr 2005

Professor Brydges is a wonderful professor. Her heart is definitely in the right place. She's very enthusiastic about chemistry and passes that enthusiasm onto her students. Furthermore, she genuinely wants all of her students to do well. This attitude is reflected by the fact that her door is pretty much open to her students. She has absolutely no problem answering students' questions. The downsides to the class is the fact that it's in the evening (that might be good for non-morning people). Also, Professor Brydges was a bit busy during the second semester with grant writing, and unfortunately she wasn't able to dedicate as much time as she usually does to her class. It's because of this that most students bombed the second test, the mean was in the 40's, maybe 50's. The grant writing also prevented her from posting her lecture notes and assignments in a timely fashion.