I expected more from this class. The topics were interesting, Becs is charasmatic and funny, but somehow, despite always completing the reading, this class left me confused. I left it with a pretty good grade but instead of feeling like I had a deeper knowledge of the many issues in women's health, I felt like I had heard a lot of terms and themes and ideas instead of a firm grasp of the material. All in all, I am glad that I took it because I had not expected to ever take a women's studies class and I do feel that some parts of the class really provided insight. I just wish it had been a little more solid. Otherwise: The guest lecturers are great; very informative and clear and come with Powerpoints Becs can be somewhat disorganized but she is so great as a person It was clear that most people did not do the reading on a daily basis--she once proved this to us by giving a pop quiz
This class is a prime example of why people consider women studies to be a joke. I took this class after sitting in on 2 lectures and being impressed with Prof. Young. When I decided to take it I know IÂ’d be made fun of. I heard from almost everyone I knew - youÂ’re taking a class in the Barnard womenÂ’s studies department?! My response was, the class is a serious epidemiology class using women and their relationship to the healthcare system as a case study. I ATE my words. This class was a boring waste of time. There are maybe 2 lectures that have interesting material. Everything else Â– you know or should know. There was a visiting lecture by one of the barnard deans in which we were asked Â– Â“does everyone know what DNA is?Â” I am NOT kidding. Other classes included sobbing Â– sharing your experiences psychobabble waste of my time. In one class we were told to spend 15 minutes reflecting on our 1st gynecology exam. The next 20 minutes were spent sharing different peoples stories. It is not appropriate in an academic setting to spend time like that. I guess it was good there were no guys in the class. You might be asking yourself Â– why did I go to lecture if it was such a waste of time? Lecture is required. Prof. Young passes around a sign in sheet. In terms of work and other requirements. Prof Young was so vague that nobody quite knew what was going on. When we were told we had midterm poster presentations, it wsanÂ’t until someone asked a question about where to buy the poster board that she clarified the Â“postersÂ” were actually wiki files to be made online. Not that that helped much seeing as noone had every heard of a wiki file (except having to do with wikipedia) and that didnÂ’t help clarify the assignments. To be fair, some of the reading is interesting Â– if youÂ’re willing to spend the over $200 on coursebooks/packs for the class. If youÂ’re generally intelligent and donÂ’t mind the money youÂ’re spending on an education to be wasted, the class is an easy A (at least I really donÂ’t understand how anyone could not have gotten an A in the class)
I thought that this class was going to be more about health problems that women experience but it was more about how their place in society impairs their health which i found really disappointing. Also, she spends each class on a different topic so you cover so many topics superficially and then she expects you to know tem all for hte final. the class seems a lot more intimidating than it actually is though. I barely did anything in that class and managed to pull off an A. She also gives a comprehensive study guide for the final with everything you need to know on it. Overall I thought this class was really intersting but very one-sided. She actually states in the beginning of the course that the material we will be learning is from a strictly feminist perspective so that kind of gets annoying sometimes because some of the information feels more like perspective than actual fact.
This class is a straight up intro course--it does not delve into much. Though Becks is extremely knowledgable on HIV/AIDs, the HIV/AIDS class was her worst--she forgot her slides and forgot how to teach without them. The material is outdated and very rooted in the 60s and 70s. Most of the material complains about how bad things were for women's health then, how little improvement there was in the 80s, and barely gets into the 90s or 00s. Instead of establishing in the beginning that there was injustice towards women in basically all aspects of health, Becks devotes most of each lecture to repeatedly lamenting how women were gypped in treatment of each disease. Guest lecturers were hit and miss--Brenda Slade, Jenny Higgins and the director of the Columbia Rape Crisis Center were AMAZING--but many others were so boring I wanted to cry. Becks doesn't attend most guest lecturs, so not only does she repeat a lot because she was unaware of what was covered, but she doesn't try to establish any cohesiveness between herself and all the guests she brings in. You are allowed two absences, and attendance is taken every single lecture.
In this course, you focus on women's health issues and not women in health professions. She tells you exactly what's going to be on the midterm and final, so as long as you follow that, you'll be well in the course. Attendance counts, as she passes around an attendance sheet. The TAs are snotty about grading: if your answer doesn't match exactly with their answer, you'll be down-graded.
I have mixed feelings about this class.. Beck Young is an amazing person - she teaches several intense classes, she's fun, she's a parent, she's writing a book, and she's done a lot of influential research. She knows pretty much everything there is to know about women and health, in both history and current news. But sometimes her class is kind of confusing; the questions on the homeworks aren't really straightforward, and often she just rambles, which is interesting but not always conducive to a good grade, for those who care more about grades than about learning. A lot of the readings are quite medical and a little abstruse for non-premed students, but mostly it's fascinating and relevant to your life (even if you are not a woman!). She had several guest lecturers, who added to our knowledge and scope but I thought there were a couple too many. She is very enthusiastic and her language is very precise; she obviously cares about her subject; but with such a wide topic it was hard to cram everything in. There were some topics I wish she'd spent less time on and some I felt she completely ignored. But I am definitely walking away from this class with a much better understanding of women and health and all the complex issues surrounding it. I'm really glad I took this class, and am going to be a women's studies major largely because of it.
This was an incredibly interesting class with an amazing professor who was interested, dedicated, and intensely engaging. I have never felt so much passion from a teacher and I would recommend this to anyone.
I admire Professor Young as a scholar. She is the worst professor I have ever had. The environment of her class contradicts learning--it thwarts more of it than it stimulates. She seems to feel insecure about the perception of the subject, Women and Health, as easy. She addresses this insecurity by trying to make an inherently straightforward class difficult. She concocts a grading scheme and style to ensure that the average grade is lower than it should be in order to prove to the world that Women and Health is a rigorous and challenging field. I wish she had realized that that by enrolling in her class, students already acknowledge that the subject belongs in Academia and were there to be awakened to and excited by it--instead Professor Young turned me off to Women's Studies altogether. Don't let her seemingly organized syllabus dupe you; the class is not well structured or thematic, it is disjointed. Her lectures are boring. Some of the readings are great. If you're interested in this subject, then I recommend reading about it on your own. The class is a waste of time.
This class remained interesting to me from beginning to end. Each lecture covered a completely different topic, ranging from social disorders to straight up biology, all within the realm of women's health. The homeworks were graded a little too roughly by the TAs, and the online quizzes could get tricky, but overall if you attend lectures it is not hard to get a good grade. She delivers a study guide for midterm and final that basically spoon-feed you exactly what you need to know. Sometimes it's really nice to have your hand held. Overall, I'd recommend this class highly to anyone who is interested in gender studies from a more medical point of view.
I write with mixed reviews about Professor Young and about her class. I feel like she really wanted to use this course to arm us with the information that we need to make informed decisions about healthcare as women and possibly as future doctors. Guys should not feel like they won't find the class interesting; the class is pretty much a public health course with a focus on women and there is a teensy bit of biology. The texts and the lectures are usually interesting. Prof. Young has an unusually high tolerance for stupid questions and fails to tell people that asking dumb questions in class does not count as class participation. The kind of stupidity displayed during class wouldn't have been allowed in my elementary school. Although lectures were usually cool, the discussion sometimes made class unbearable (girls, listen up: no one wants to hear about your 158 trips to the gynecologist). The midterm actually wasn't hard, but because of nitpicky grading, people did badly even if they obviously had a good understanding of the material. The homeworks are graded just as harshly. The TAs are morons and if your answers don't match their answer sheet verbatim, no points for you. Overall, the material of the course is interesting, but I find that the grading is unnecessarily nitpicky and makes the homeworks and quizzes more of a bitch than they should be considering how easy they are.
Please note: It appears Professor Young got the memo that her class used to be the easiest class on campus. I suggest you speak to someone who is presently taking the class, like myself, because the average on the midterm was a C+. It's not an impossible class but she has become maticulous in her grading. Watch out... I wanted to let you know before you add it to your Spring 2005 Program.