course
Hispanic Cultures I

Dec 2012

I am someone who enjoys school and enjoys being challenged in the classroom to learn things outside of my comfort zone. I do not mind getting less than an A if it is a subject that is particularly difficult for me (which this was). But I hated this class. I am a science major, and I therefore do not have the humanities background that most of my classmates had. I accepted that I was going to be behind in this class, but I was willing to work a bit harder. I asked for help at the beginning of the semester, as I had done with Roxanna Sooudi, who gave me useful advice. Instead of this, Professor Russo questioned whether or not I was qualified to be in the class (I was) and told me that I should be taking another Spanish class (I wasn't) to make up for the fact that I wasn't particularly strong in Spanish. I soon accepted that I was not going to do particularly well because I didn't have the time to put into getting a good grade beyond the already heavy coursework that existed. This attitude seemed to be atrocious to Prof. Russo, but I still wanted to try and to learn within my abilities. Instead, I was largely ignored by the professor and treated disdainfully whenever it was that I did manage to get up the courage to participate. For whatever reason, she doesn't think that encouraging students to talk will make them better at speaking and understanding. Bottom line: Because I was not up to Prof. Russo's standards before entering the class, I was treated as someone who didn't belong there rather than allowing me to learn by trial and error in an encouraging environment. Trust me, if I could have dropped the class by the time I realized what a horrendously severe person she was, I would have.

Jan 2012

Professor Grieve is super sweet and tries her hardest in the class. There is a ton of reading to do (even after she shortens the workload) and most don't do it, producing stale class discussion. By the end of the semester, she would simply ask a question, hear crickets, and then point out the part of the reading that she was referring to and ask her question again. This is not the fault of Prof. Grieve, but the course itself as the amount of reading to be done was just unreasonable. Professor Grieve was very knowledgable and passionate about the material. She is also from Indiana, so she doesn't speak too quickly and does not have a strong accent. Being a non-native speaker myself, this helped me a lot. It is very easy to do well in her class. There are 4 compositions with a max of 400 words, each with a re-write. I found that as long as I put in some effort, I got a solid grade. The exams were also a cakewalk, especially on the last 2 since she gave out the questions on the test a week in advance, and for the last exam, allowed us to BRING IN materials (essentially, I just copied from one sheet to another on that one). I barely studied for the exams, but because I paid attention and class and did the readings (somewhat) I was able to get good grades. You won't be sorry if you take the class with Grieve. Sometimes discussion can be dull as with all spanish classes, but chances are you'll get a very good grade. It was easy to tell that Grieve wanted the class to learn the material and not worry so much about grading, which is why she simplified things so much.

May 2011

I signed up to take this class with Jannette Amaral, who was there the first day but was replaced by Dale. I should have switched sections. Dale was uninspiring, unpleasant, and the class was underwhelming. She would basically spew random facts from the assigned historical background, lead an awkward discussion about the selected literature/images, and hand back graded assignments at the end. The grading was harsh and her comments were completely unhelpful. For a Spanish class, she needs to lighten up, especially when it comes to judging content. She was very nit-picky and inflexible, and also chose clear favorites. Her Spanish was sometimes difficult to understand. She would make very awkward comments in class, sometimes revealing random personal things no one cared to hear. Overall, I wouldn't recommend the course, and definitely not her section. The syllabus and the accompanying website are a train wreck that the department needs to sort out. This class dabbles between language, history, literature, and art with no clear focus or thematic takeaways. Too bad this is the first half of a required sequence for the concentration/major.

Dec 2010

Goddess. Cute modest YET still very knowledgeable and clear in noting what you need to know for exámenes. Amor! Given the stupidity of the website-based pedagogy, janette allows a great deal of freedom for estudiantes while still al fin y a cabo, makes class time a breeze/studying minimal Read! Actually, don't. She explains everything in the last 2 minutes of class. Literally. But legit. I'm a major in whatever this department s called, and a -- gringo -- and give her the gold. La calle sabe..

Nov 2009

Orlando is a great professor. He's engaging, charismatic and laid-back. Though the course material can be pretty boring at times, his enthusiasm gets the entire class through the hour and fifteen minutes. Sometimes he tends to ramble and there isn't much class discussion, but neither I nor most of my class minds it at all. The workload is pretty light and it's clear that he wants everyone to do well. He is very clear about what material will be on the tests and even gave the class a practice exam before the first exam. He grades our compositions very fairly and I don't doubt that most people in my class will end up with B+'s or higher. I highly suggest taking Hispanic Cultures I with him.