Religion in America I

Dec 2013

This class was frustrating in the beginning. The one-page weekly analysis papers were tedious and the topics covered in the first few weeks of the semester were kind of dry, but as the semester went on the course material got better and better. Overall, the course was interesting and worthwhile, especially because Professor Kenny is such a great professor. She is an amazing lecturer (and often very funny). Also, she almost always reviewed and outlined/diagramed the readings during class, and we usually discussed them extensively. She and the TAs were incredibly helpful at office hours too. I definitely recommend this class!

Jan 2012

Randy is a wonderful, charming professor and I thoroughly enjoyed both classes I took with him this semester. His lectures consist of easy to follow (although not posted) powerpoints, with added commentary and explanations. Sometimes the lectures can get a little too theoretical or outright boring, but Professor Balmer is often outwardly apologetic about this and really tries to make the lectures interesting. He is a seriously respected scholar in the field of American religion, so you'll be able to get some really detailed information about some of the topics with which he's worked the most. He's always willing to see students during office hours. You WILL NOT PASS this class if you do not do the reading. He pulls many multiple-choice and short answer questions on exams directly from the reading. The reading is usually directly related to what is discussed in lecture. Some books are painfully boring but on the whole they're not that bad. Missing lecture isn't the worst thing, but make sure you get detailed notes from someone else. In the past, Professor Balmer gave out study guides prior to midterm and final exams, but as of Fall 2011 he has ended that practice. He made the midterms way too tricky for both classes. As a response to students' grief over their bad midterm grades, he offered the class the option to double their final exam grade if they completed a 2-page review of one of the class texts. This proved to be an AMAZING option, since the final was significantly easier than the midterm and if you studied, there was no reason not to do well.