course
Sedimentary Geology

Jan 2006

Prof. Christie-Blick is an extremely dedicated professor who has a true affection for this subject. Unfortunately his drive and passion can be focused on the discipline, while students' focus must be distributed across 5-6 classes. This leads to students persistently and inevitably failing short of Prof. Christie-Blick's expectations. Prof. Christie-Blick's use of an almost-Socratic method of constantly asking questions, both slows down the overall presentation of material and hampers his teaching, while mortifying students. Most graduate students were not able to provide adequate responses to questions posed. Rarely was any student able to respond sufficiently. This class entails a very heavcy workload, for little reward, and Prof. Christie-Blick did not handle the mid-term particularly professionally either: he called people to the board with no notice to explain the questions they did the worst on from the mid-term. In a department where grading is all over the place, the grades in this course were harsh. Unless you are trully passionate about the subject (sand ripples): avoid.

Jan 2006

Nick is an incredible professor. He is 100% devoted to teaching this class, and making you learn every little fact and factoid about sedimentary geology. That being said, I cannot in good conscience recommend you take this class. Seriously, don't take this class unless you live and breathe sedimentary geology. Not even just geology, but intense sedimentary geology. Nick will go out of his way to help you, he will come down to Morningside on his day off just to give you extra help, he will reply to your emails at all hours of the night. He will send you hundreds of emails and keep you incredibly up to date as to what you should know by heart already. He uses courseworks constantly, with every day's class delicately planned out. He hands out notes on everything he shows you, literally reams of paper over the course of the semester. This all sounds excellent right? The kind of teacher who actually cares? Yes. BUT. At the same time, he expects you to hit the ground running like an olympic sprinter. Its not that he assumes you arrive at the class knowing everything there is to know about sedimentary geology, its that he assumes you have no other classes and are able to memorize every single thing he says. Expect from the first moment that you will be reading serious academic papers that are on the cutting edge of modern sedimentary geology, things published up to any day now. Nick will expect more of you if he thinks you know more or can do better than you do. His midterm was incredibly difficult, with definitions drawn from various single lines in various single sheets in the hundreds and hundreds of pages he handed us. He is so involved in the class and how much we learn that when the mean was like a 60, he described it as "disappointing" and sent out a blistering email. He then spent the whole next class calling people to the board to do the questions they did wrong on the exam. He literally wrote on the cover of our blue books what parts we got wrong, and photocopied and saved them. He then asked to have little meetings to discuss our "disappointing" performance. Seriously, in a class of only majors and grad students he acted like that. It was ridiculous. Though I don't want to give you the wrong idea. Its really him trying to help, every thing he does is directed towards helping you learn sedimentary geology. He really loves sedgeo and teaching, its just incredibly, incredibly frustrating as a student. Especially a busy student. Seriously, don't take this class, even if Nick is begging you. This shouldn't be taken as a comment on Nicks Death Valley trip, which I hear is amazing fun. Oh and he's very British. It wears on you, and complicates already difficult geologistese, for intance Foreland Basin always sounds like Fallen Basin, and don't even ask how he (constantly) pronounces Facies. But seriously folks, don't take this class.