First-Year English

Aug 2020

Elizabeth Auran is an ANGEL. I cam into her FYW Women and Culture class extremely nervous about writing and interpretations of texts, and while her teaching style does seem a little whack sometimes, I promise its worth it. She's so helpful in office hours, and would literally FaceTime with us when we went online after covid. She really wants all of her students to do so well, and she's willing to help you as much as she can. She is a tough grader when it comes to papers, but don't let that scare you away from the class. She lets you do rewrites, and she grades her class based off of participation, enthusiasm, and the papers. I genuinely feel so much more confident in my writing skills, and its all thanks to her.

Jul 2015

Eh, okay professor. Should provide a better introduction to the texts we read and moderate discussions better. Also: is he gay? Kind of mysterious. The discussions were poorly moderated and monopolized by those who just wanted to pontificate. I wonder if there's a pedagogical intent in not getting our papers back to us on time; I think maybe he likes to play mind games with us. Overall decent though. Enjoyed it more than I didn't. Learned a lot. Have a good appreciation for greek history now. Took in Fall.

Dec 2014

Not a big fan. I was a relatively good student in the class and tried to speak and voice my opinion as much as possible (she clearly stated the more we speak in class the better our grade will be the). The class is in fact in a harkens discussion group atmosphere. However when we do speak she cuts us off or belittles what we have to's actually quite upsetting . On another note i actively participated and consistently got A's on all papers..yet my grade was not a reflection of the grades i had received back... Don't take this's upsetting how she doesn't fairly grades and she definitely picks favorites

Nov 2014

Professor Schneider is a nice guy and a pretty chill teacher. Honestly the class is pretty easy. He tends to dominate the discussion which can be annoying, but at 8:40 in the morning everyone is basically asleep anyway. If people make an effort to speak up then he will sit back and let the discussion happen for the most part. He focuses the class a lot on writing and gives good comments. He focuses heavily on writing style and clarity, and much less on content. Overall not a bad FYE teacher and definitely seems easier than other FYE teachers. I would't say try to get him, but if you do get him don't worry.

Apr 2010

In light of the comments that Professor Massimilla (or Prof Mass, as you will be sure to call him) is condescending to Barnard women, I have to say that I did not find this at all. I don't think I heard him make a derogatory comment about Barnard throughout the entire semester. With that cleared up, I enjoyed the class. He does tend to ramble on a bit, but what he has to say is usually quite interesting. His background with languages adds to the discussion, as he often talked about the differences in the connotations of language between the original text and the English translation. He definitely loves teaching this class. He does ask for people's opinions and encourage class discussion, but there will be times when he talks for an extended period of time about the book. You WILL need to do your reading; your essay grades will not hold up if you do not. You probably don't need to do all of it, but definitely enough to keep up in the discussions and be able to write knowledgeably about the book. I think the best thing about this class, as someone not enamored with literature, is the feedback on your papers. Prof Mass actually does read your papers, and he is not afraid to mark them up quite a bit. It will definitely not be easy to get an A on a paper, but it is doable. He wants to make you into a better writer, and you will definitely learn a lot by the end of the semester. Especially in light of what I have heard about some other FYE professors, I would recommend that you take Legacy of the Mediterranean with Prof Mass!

Sep 2009

Shelly Fredman is a great professor. She's willing to change her syllabus to the student's needs and she's always willing to help you after class. About one essay per month, maybe two at most not a lot at all. She is very friendly, open minded, discusses her daughter who is a first year in college just like all of us in First Year English.

Jul 2009

Here's why all his Columbia students love him and write rave reviews whereas Barnard students do NOT feel the same: he thinks Barnard is INFERIOR, and treats us as such. During class he constantly sang praises about the Lit Hum curriculum and his brilliant students "across the street," and would tear us apart and offend us whenever we finally spoke up about whatever we were discussing. Not that he gave us much of a chance; even though Legacy of the Mediterranean is supposed to be a discussion-driven seminar, he literally rambled 90% of the class time and would never stick to one "discussion point" for more than a second. He seemed more interested in showing off his knowledge of literature as opposed to encouraging us to speak our minds and offer our own opinions on the text. Every class was torture, and I don't speak for myself when I say we literally dreaded every Monday and Wednesday afternoon.

Jun 2009

I had Prof Mass for First Year Writing at Barnard and I absolutely do not recommend it. Without a doubt he will make a comment about Barnard being inferior to Columbia in every single class. I am not easily offended but by the end of the semester his comments became out of control. If he has such a problem with Barnard he shouldn't be teaching here! The only good part about the class is that he loves to hear himself speak so you never have to do any of the reading for class since he'll do all the talking anyway. Overall, I highly recommend avoiding him at all costs.

Jan 2002

avoid this woman at all costs. she can't teach plus she's ultra snotty and rude. watch out first years! don't get trapped in with this one!

Jan 2002

Ok, Profesor Genter is a DANCE instructor. What made her think that she can teach English baffles me. She can't even speak English (honestly we had to finish her sentences for her). Her grading is unfair and the class is extremely uninteresting. She should not, and I stress not, be teaching this course. Do not take any course that she teaches unless it involves twirling your body around.

Dec 2001

Timea rocked my first-semester world. She is smart, honest, compassionate, and funny as hell. At first she seems like a cute little professor with a very sweet accent who waxes nostalgic about her own days as a Barnard student, but pretty soon you'll discover her kick-ass sense of humor. She had my entire seminar rolling practically every class. Once and awhile some overly fatigued student would fall asleep, and Timea would [affectionately] bust her ass while the rest of us giggled. Her grasp of the material is commendable. She will make some of the more boring stuff -- i.e. the Homeric Hymn to Demeter -- tolerable and even interesting. I love this woman! Take her class! I command you!

Dec 2001

I could just slap the girls in my class who didn't spend more time on their course evaluations. Prof. Kassanoff is a fantastic, enthusiastic teacher who thrives on class discussion and makes every book seem exciting, whether beforehand or in retrospect. Her comments on papers are thorough and helpful, making rewrites both a learning and enjoyable experience.

Nov 2001

He's not nice. At all. Individual conferences are sometimes helpful and sometimes demeaning. He's good at destroying your confidence. Avoid at all costs. There is no reason to put yourself through this. There are better places to improve your writing.

Aug 2001

Professor Fleischer's class is based on criticizing students. One person presents an essay and everyone is responsible for saying why it's horrible. She is very unsympathetic, but warms up a little if you meet with her privately and show her that you really care about the class.

May 2001

really witty and incredibly intelligent. she really knows what she's talking about! she always gets the class to participate, and not forcibly. she's so funny, you come to class just to hear what she's gonna say next.

Apr 2001

Professor Fleischer is probably the worst teacher I've ever had. She is an unkind person who is not on the students' side. She does not trust her students and usually assumes the worst. She is rude, insulting, unapproachable and basically unhelpful. Unless you are a masochist, never take a class with this woman.

Apr 2001

This course was horrible! The classes were extremely boring. Her comments on papers were not helpful at all. She gave frequent grammar quizes that made me feel like I was back in elementary school! The essay topics she assigned made no sense. I would not recommend this class to anyone.