Civil War and Reconstruction

Feb 2009

Gregory is, without doubt, the best TA I have ever had. His mission is very simple: to make sure you learn. To achieve this end, he will grill you and always make you justify your arguments completely. For those of you who are offset by this, remember, you are at Columbia for a reason. You are capable of learning if you put the effort in. If you do not want to put the effort in, you are wasting both your time and Gregory's. For those interested in putting forth the effort, I can assure you that all your work will be fully rewarded. All your arguments will be dissected objectively and you will receive excellent feedback that looks at everything from your initial thought process to the final product you hand in. If you have been at Columbia for long enough, then you will realize how priceless Gregory's help is in this respect. If you have not, take this class and find out! In short, Gregory is demanding but rewarding - exactly as he and all other TAs/Professors should be.

Apr 2007

Gregory runs a thought provoking and demanding section. Discussions usually veer away from reviewing the lecture material to dissecting a fairly specific question raised by the reading. Do the reading! Gregory will not summarize it for you. If you come to section prepared and interested, you will leave at the end of the semester with a complex understanding of the course material. This section is more appropriate to history majors, but IÂ’ve known non-majors to find it fascinating. If you are enthusiastic about learning, Gregory will be enthusiastic about helping you. Meet with him outside of class early to discuss your paper topic: he can recommend sources off the top of his head. He is also great at teaching how to write a history paper. Hand in a draft and youÂ’ll get it back drenched in ink. He runs extra review sessions before midterms and finals, meant to clarify the questions so that you can spend test time actually composing your thoughts instead of doing an information dump. Exams are graded more honestly than most at Columbia in order to push you to do your best. To sum up, Gregory is definitely the most responsive, dedicated, and knowledgeable person IÂ’ve had the honor of studying with at Columbia.

Dec 2006

I really liked being in MeganÂ’s class, she was a great TA. This was my best section so far, and IÂ’m a senior. She always came to class so well prepared and facilitated great discussions. Sometimes she went over relevant material with us on the blackboard to make sure we got it, other times we just talked. She seemed really devoted to the class and repeatedly told us we should hand in drafts of our papers. She always got back to my emails straight away, and gave me lots of useful feedback on my draft. If you get the chance, make sure MeganÂ’s your TA, sheÂ’ll make it a painless experience and you will actually laugh in class.

Nov 2005

Not so fast! I read the previous reviews. I can understand their awe, but can't agree with it. I am a histroy major who took foner three times, so I feel qualified to criticize him. Foner is obviously well aware of all the facts and the streams in U.S. history. If you read his books, it is easy to discern that he is of the radical wing of the progesssive side of issues. if you only take his class, however, Foner tends to present the consensus (read: bland and less controversial than a scintilliating course should be) approach to crucial historical controversies. He takes himself very seriously, lecturing as if he is giving a sermon, and Foner is not always immune to self-aggrandizement.