Great Professor! He is very knowledgeable and always available to help students. I highly recommend taking the bio class with him.
This class is not easy for a non-Bio person like me. Maybe it's different if you've taken AP Bio but with only freshman biology I couldn't understand the material being taught without doing the reading, even if Wallenfang says you don't need it. It takes a LOT of time to keep up with the reading, but if you read before each class suddenly lectures are much easier to understand. My recommendation is to always ask questions. Wallenfang is always up to answering your questions and though he get swamped before midterms, understandably so, if you stop by his office hours or just go up to him after class he's always willing to talk with you. The hardest part of class are the midterms which are really hard. Part of being able to do well has to do with how good of a multiple choice test takes you are, but you definitely need to know your stuff. Read the questions REALLY carefully and no matter what your normal studying habits are make sure you get enough sleep before the midterms because he asks very tricky questions that require you to apply everything you've learned. There's really no way to predict what his questions will be like, even with the online quizzes and the old test questions before every class. I definitely recommend going to class though, and reading the ny times articles he assigns, because there are always questions on the midterm based on those and if you just read the book you probably won't do so well on the exams. Overall Wallenfang isn't the best lecturer but he is really dedicated so he'll do everything he can do to help you out. Just be prepared to actually work in order to get a good grade, unless you took AP Bio.
Poindexter is the worst professor I've had at Barnard. Her lectures are awful, and she's never nice to the students (at least she's never at all nice to me). I agree with the other reviewers that she seems to like to impress the students with her knowledge rather than to teach them. She's cold and insecure. Take another instructor if you can.
I have to honestly say that I hate this class. I read on the reviews on here, most of them being bad, but I still thought there was a chance that this class wouldn't be as bad as they said. Well, I was wrong. His lecture are very very disorganized, and his explainations make no sense. I find myself every night simply learning everything from the textbook. Plus, he moves incredibly slowly. I spend most of the classes looking at things online on my laptop. This class is a total shock coming from Paul Hertz class. Even though I didn't do well in that class, I still find myself wishing I could go back to it. So, unless you're a pre-med or taking this class for another major (like me), I wouldn't suggest taking this class.
Like the other reviewer said, she's nice, yet a terrible teacher. Her lectures and example problems come straight out of the textbook, so the textbook can't really be used as an alternate source if you don't understand something. Her intentions are good, so going to her office hours was sometimes helpful, but only if you really pry her for explanations because, I think, many times she doesn't fully understand your question. There was a physics help room, where physics majors basically go through the problem sets each week. The physics majors were much more helpful than Prof. Savin in their explanations.
I agree with many of these reviews--Wallenfang isn't terrible, and his enthusiasm for the subject is impressive at 9 am. That said, though, this class really wore me down by the end of the semester, mostly because it requires a lot of interpretation of what, precisely, the man is trying to say. He makes a lot of mistakes, often corrected somewhat embarassingly by one of the TAs or lab instructors, and my notes were a big mess--firstly because of these mistakes and subsequent corrections (although some were left uncorrected, so I had a lot of contradictory information that necessitated many google and wikipedia searches), and also because he draws a lot of diagrams with a lot of arrows and they aren't really all that helpful. Another annoying trait is that he never, ever spell checks his exams, emails or online quizzes--it's a little thing but seems unprofessional or something. Also, while the first exam was really straightforward and fair, and the class average was a B+, Wallenfang was clearly compensating on the second exam, for which the average was, I believe, a C-. The final evened it out somewhat, but the guy is still trying to find his place as a young professor and doesn't always know what he's doing. If this class is necessary for a major requirement, it's manageable. If you can avoid it, though, take something else to fulfill distribution requirements.
While many students seem to be enamored by his cute appearance and likeable personality, this does not compensate for disorganized lectures and mediocre teaching. However, the TAs for this class tend to be good, and you can get by with not going to class and keeping up with the reading. Don't take this class though if you aren't pre-med--it isn't worth the competition or the teacher. Overall, it is a mediocre experience--not the best and not the worst.
If you're at all interested in biology, Wally Wallenfang's class is great (on the other hand, if you're just there for the requirement, you probably won't like it). He's very passionate and interested in the material and wants you to be as well. Reading is absolutely not necessary as long as you listen during lecture. If you do do the reading, it's light. His sleek attire is a definite plus to a 9am class.
Wallenfang isn't the greatest professor ever, but he isn't the worst either. The first thrid of the class seemed really slow and drawn out, especially if you've ever taken any form of high school chemistry, but the pace picks up after the first exam. As the material gets more difficult, Wallenfang gets more disorganized in his lectures, providing an extremely complex long-winded example of a very concept and then failing to give a simple definition that can be studied. Overall, not bad for a first time teaching, and I'm sure he'll get better as the years go by. He's an earnest guy who wants us to do well, and from what I've heard, he's very approachable and available outside of class. What can I say, not a great class, not a terrible class. Oh, and he seems to REALLY like his cat...I'll leave that to you what to make of it.
This guy is not everything everyone says he is. All he does in lecture is draw pictures of examples and he tries to explain things. His lectures really have nothing do with the midterms or finals. Lecture is a joke half the time. He may be young, "cute" and nice but staring at his physical appearance is not going to help you understand what he teaches and give you a A in the course. If you want to do well study your textbook and make sure you pay attention at lecture to see what he might include on the midterm and finals.
He tries hard and seems nice but is very very boring. He is not as organized as Hertz and makes a lot of mistakes. His tests are fair. He is not a very good teacher; his way of teaching is not systemized.
So basically, I love this class. Prof Wallenfang is really funny and even though the lectures are packed with info, he makes it easier to sit through which at 9 in the morning, is appreciated. He really knows what he's talking about and what's more is that he really wants us to know it as well as he does. He's excited about what he teaches which is adorable but it also makes it easier to listen to him since he's not just droning on and on. He makes jokes during class, he's really organized (with handouts every morning), and he's really approachable if you make the effort.
Professor Wallenfang is just so darn cute! Some of the Barnard girls in my morning class give him a hard time (I think because he's new), but in all honesty, he's really energetic, passionate, and enthusiastic about biology. He was a little nervous about speaking in front of all us girls in the beginning of the semester, but now he's golden.
what a mess. Poindexter is a very sweet lady and genuinely cares about the subject matter but she is convoluted lecturer and her tests are nearly impossible unless you have come into the class well prepared. If you did well on the AP exam you will be prepared, if you did not take AP, you might want to turn to prayer. Her lectures were circular and she often contradicts herself and I found them barely intelligible. This is not what I would call a straight forward class by any means. Find another professor if you can.
There is lecture twice a week. I go half the time because there is a problem set due every week. Lectures are boring because she follows the book exactely and she does not lecture too well. Problem sets aren't bad except for when you waste sooo much time thinking you have the wrong answer when the answer that she posts for the problem set is incorrect. Even the practice final exam has errors in the answers and you wonder why you study for so long and you never get the right answers. The midterms is no longer open book. The lab is a joke, you go to class to pull on a string.
poindexter is not as bad as everyone is making her out to be. chances are, the book will be the one you used in high school. and yes, her lectures are slightly circular and she did cellular respiration in the most ridiculous order i can imagine, but she is really okay. she's much better answering specific questions one-on-one, if you go to office hours. honestly, you are kidding yourself if you think you can take this class without doing a hell of a lot of reading. that said, the class wasn't overly difficult. her tests were challenging, but seriously, this is college... exams will rarely be easy.
Where to begin indeed. The material was interesting, but I thought lab recitations were much better than the class lectures. Poindexter has a wierd way of being condescending and talking over your head at the same time. Ugh. I hated going to lecture, but it was good for catching up on sleep when I did go. Loved the book, but the, I loved it when I used it in high school too. Unfortunately, almost all of you won't have a choice about taking this class, but if you have a choice of who to take it from, take it from someone other than Poindexter.
Poindexter is a very boring lecturer - she pauses at all the wrong times and speaks/goes through the material she is teaching very quickly. Though the class is organized and we covered most of the syllabus, the material we go over in class is usually a more detailed description of one little piece of the material in the book. Tests are a weird multiple choice type thing - she writes a statement and then gives many choices and you circle the true answers - It's a little tricky at first but I actually liked the format. There are also a few fill in the blank-type questions. This class is not so bad though.
Professor Poindexter obviously knows a lot, but she doesn't seem to have much interest or ability in helping the student learn. It's too bad when a professor's ego is more important than the students' learning in a course. If it weren't for the textbook, I don't think any of us would have learned anything.
Worst lecturer ever. she sounds like she's trying to impress herself, doesn't impress me. Wish she seemed to care that her students learned rather than that she showed off. I'm mean, come on, we're not graduate students (yet).
Poindexter doesn't seem to care about the students actually learning anything. She doesn't explain things well and tries to stuff so much information into a single class, you think your head is going to explode. There might not be much choice in taking this class, but avoid Poindexter if you want to actually learn anything. Well, you do have to learn something to pass, but only by using the Cambell textbook on your own (I agree it's a good book). Take anyone else if there is ever any option.
Where to even begin. On a positive note- the textbook is awesome- it will become your bible over the course of the semester. Poindexter also is a brilliant woman and has been teaching the course for 40 years; however she doesn't necessarily understand that we're not as brilliant and she is and therefore does not know how to convey the material to intro biology students. Just a warning- unless you need this class to satisfy a major requirement- it's not worth the stress. The material is amazing but her lectures are so over your head and you walk out of class being even more confused than you were before lecture. But don't be lazy about going to TA help sessions because they are wonderful. Overall, interesting material, just the lectures are not so great.
I did not find her lectures particularly helpful. The Campbell Biology book (which you may have used in AP bio) is wonderful. This course is the first step towards pre-med and bio/biochem majors, but I would not recommend the lecture part.
don't be fooled by the easy first day and Larkin's pleasant and sweet first impression. her handouts are pretty good, but her lecturing style isn't very engaging (esp. for a class that meets MWF 9AM). she is very scatter brained and constantly behind schedule, leaving you to do a lot of learning on your own. her exams are mad hard. her questions almost always have more than one right answer and you're supposed to pick the best one --- but its not always obvious which one is the best. her questions are very detail oriented.
Prof. Larkin is really scatterbrained. She jumps from topic to topic, without good organization. This is very annoying, although apparently she is much easier than Poindexter. She seems like a nice lady, and she is very lively in class. However, she tries to make her tests tricky and she succeeds.
Professor Poindexter is incredibly organized and fast-paced. Although class is very informative and interesting, because she goes so fast, it is difficult to stay awake. However, if you manage to stay awake, you'll find that she is brilliant and can teach you so much. This class should be taken for learning and not for the grade.