Where do I start? Well, for starters, this was a great class, and Smith is a rare gem if a little goofy (he often opens class by telling stories about what his two sons did the night before). However, the class I took was called "Immigrant Experience: Old and New" but it should have been titled "Transnationalization of Race and Ethnicity." In other words, the course title is a total misnomer. The lectures and readings were all about assimilation theory and immigrants' reactions to their own identity formation. This would be my major complaint. I was expecting a broader history of the immigrant experience. My other reserved complaints concern the (dis)organization of class readings and the syllabus. It was a little guerilla style, with Smith emailing the class the night before saying what it needs to read for the next day. Above all: great guy, great (if pretty easy) class, and relaxed environment. Take him in any class if you can.
Nice guy. interesting professor. cute kids. Only problem is he talks fast when he lectures. If you haven't read the reading before the class, be warned... he slurs the authors he discusses together. You'll be confused. but you'll eventually sort things out. He's a nice grader. Not necessarily an easy grader, but he'll give you some leeway if your grades improve or if you try hard. Remember key phrases he says- bring them up in the exam and you'll do fine. If you ask in advance he will read your paper and help correct it before you turn it in for the final deadline.
Whoever said that this guy grades generously was obviously on crack. He's a really nice person- and funny too, but after a while, his obsession with his son can become extremely irritating. His grading policy sucks- or maybe its his two TAs. I don't know. That being said, Prof. Smith is always accessible and approachable. I think that if you're really in love with sociology, go ahead and take this interesting course. Just beware of his fucked up grading policy. Don't expect this to be like other easy A's sociology courses. If you take it, enjoy- because he is amusing and the course material is very...well, for lack of a better word, interesting. You will definitely learn in this class.