Briggs has high expectations for his students but brings his all to the classroom, and he is very accessible during office hours to provide clarification and advice. The class is focused on grammar and mastery of the Spanish language, but the key is to have a genuine curiosity for the texts and to be open to revision (and there will be a lot of it). For each assignment, including compositions, presentations, and final essays annotating the text, some independent research and office hours usually result in a good grade. Not to mention people are generally pretty chill and friendly in these classes, undoubtedly fun to take with a friend and to satisfy a global core requirement.
Ronald is not a bad guy, per se. His class, grading standards, and what he wanted from an individual was just unclear. He was nice enough in office hours but even after meeting with him, fully rewriting essays, I would end up with the same grade as he projected. Def picked favorites but was not cruel/rude to his non-favorites. The class is more a complit/english class in examining texts than a spanish culture class, which was frustrating.
Professor Briggs' W3350 class was not easy for me. I struggled with Spanish in nearly all areas - writing, reading, speaking, listening, cultural understanding, etc., but go to his office hours, and he'll be pretty helpful in regards to how you should fix up your essays (which are probably the most important part of the class grade). He's a good guy, but he's not wary of asking questions that are difficult to answer immediately, and he's not afraid to tell you straight-up that you're not thinking far enough for your essays. Be prepared to work hard, and you should be fine.
Adrian is an incredibly kind person and an excellent, knowledgeable instructor - I enjoyed Hispanic Cultures II despite the department-mandatedly boring curricula. Despite the weekly readings which were often pretty mundane (but challenging), Adrian enriched our academic experience with his own knowledge of the topics and texts covered, encouraged classroom debate, and understood when we were confused or sleep-deprived during midterm season. I HIGHLY recommend this class, but mostly recommend any class Adrian teaches - he is a gem and one of the smartest and most compassionate instructors and people you'll find at Columbia. If you participate enough, attend class, and write papers that exhibit dedication to the topics, you'll get a grade you're happy with.
Ben is a fantastic teacher, and like other reviews I highly recommend him. Spanish 3350 (Hispanic Cultures II) rushes through a ton of material- over 500 years of the history of Spain and Latin America are covered in 1 semeter. However, rather than focusing on memorizing dates, Ben emphasizes the readings, the social movements, and how either will relate. He is incredibly knowledable. It is worth noting that classes with Ben are never boring as he has a good sense of humor, and loves allowing students to do group work. Additionally, while he is not ethnically hispanic, he speaks amazingly fluent spanish, and I feel like I have learned a lot from him. At the beginning of the course, he seems a little intimidating (the course itself is a lot of work, and Ben always expects a full effort), but it is definitely very doable. I feel like I am a stronger reader, writer, and speaker after taking this class with Ben.