First Year Seminar: Women and Culture

Dec 2020

Nina is the best professor ever. She is understanding, kind, and genuinely cares about her class's wellbeing. She uses the most interesting sources and no assignment is boring. Apart from great readings, she is just so amazing for essay conferences and will literally tell you exactly what to do, eg- the sentence you need to add somewhere. Her feedback was always specific and helpful which helped me so much. Her class did a great job at stimulating intellectual growth, while also an easy workload as long as you manage your time well. Most importantly, she is a kind person who is empathetic and willing to listen. The topic itself is so interesting, but the prof is really what makes this class so amazing. Overall, this is a great class, 10/10 recommend.

Sep 2018

I'm not an English person at all but I loved taking FYW with Professor Condillac and I think being in her class improved my writing a lot. She is definitely a harsh grader and there was a steep learning curve for her way of analyzing texts and of writing about them, so I (and I think the whole class) struggled with the first paper, but after that her expectations were a little more clear. I loved the class discussions we had, and the connections Professor Condillac chose to draw between the material and with current events. This was definitely a hard class but I learned a lot and loved Professor Condillac.

Aug 2018

I do not recommend this professor or this class. While Professor Benjamin is a very nice person, she grades extremely unfairly. Despite keeping up with the readings, class discussions, going to the Barnard writing center, meeting with the professor multiple times before a paper was due, I was still in shock every time I received my work back with her comments. The comments and grade did not reflect the work put into the assignments, including meeting with the professor multiple times and receiving positive feedback on first drafts. The class itself is slow and the discussion sometimes fluid and interesting. However - the focus of the class does not reflect the course name of Women and Culture. I was super disappointed with the course and DO NOT recommend taking it. Most students in the class agree.

Dec 2016

She is simply one of the greatest English teachers I have ever had, and I have had a great English education. She was always funny and engaging in class. She made so much time to meet one on one with each student to improve all of our writing. I honestly felt like she pushed me to the edge of my comfort zone with writing and made me a better person for it. I can attribute so much of my success in writing to her. Take any class she offers!!!!

Dec 2016

Elizabeth Auran is a goddess. She is thoughtful, kind, brilliant, and supportive. She will take your writing and help you mold it into something to be proud of and will make you think of literature in a new way. Taking Women & Culture with her is a truly Barnard experience and one I'm so happy to have had. If you can take a class with her, do it. As far as class goes, she assigns difficult texts but ones that she will help you unpack. Class is discussion based and she holds back from over-sharing her own analysis. She grades based on participation partially, and so it is in your best interest to participate - but also you will want to talk. She stimulates fascinating discussion and pulls in background from other disciplines. She also studies Biblical texts, and brings that context into some of the texts. She dedicates a huge amount of time to editing essays. She does the most intensive edits I've seen FYW professors do, and they were incredibly helpful to me. Auran will also meet with you for every draft, and first drafts aren't graded on quality. Auran is the kind of woman who you will wish you could have as your mother. She is loving and generous and a brilliant mind, and has been the highlight of my freshman year. I cannot recommend her enough.

Dec 2014

I was in the same situation as the review below - after scouring CULPA and finding horrible, horrible reviews on Prof. Springs, I tried my hardest to get out of the class, and didn't succeed. Now that it's the end of the semester, I can safely say that this was one of my favorite classes this semester. Prof. Springs is very knowledgeable and so very willing to help out students any way she can. The only time I saw that she used her iPad during class was when she was taking attendance from it. Although I may be mistaken, I do not believe she was ever disengaged because of it. She always responded promptly to my emails, and was always available during office hours. In my opinion, she was a pretty great professor!

Apr 2013

If you are a first year student who just found out they have Professor Levin for Women and Culture, you should be ecstatic. I chose to take women and culture because I thought I would get a good professor--and it worked. Professor Levin is absolutely fantastic. I loved her english class so much that I took her seminar the following semester, and it was just as great. I came to college not realizing that I didn't know how to write a paper, and when I figured that out, I was scared. Professor Levin helped me through the process and by the end of the course I really felt like I could write at a college level. She gave extensions, came in to meet with me during her own free time, and allowed me to submit about 5 different thesis paragraphs till it worked. Her goal is really to help you write well. She will make you work: there is plenty of reading to do and probably more writing than other classes, but it is nowhere near excessive and very manageable as a first year student. I found class discussions to be excellent in large part because of Professor Levin. You also don't need to be into English to enjoy this class--I'm a math major and I loved it. The bottom line with this class is that you will get enormous amount out of it as long as you put in the effort, and Professor Levin will really help you out along the way.

Jan 2013

Professor Fleischer was one of the worst professors I've ever had. She waxes at length about irrelevant topics, runs class overtime, dismisses intelligent student comments in favor of her own views, grades absolutely unfairly and frankly dresses inappropriately. The best way to succeed in her class is to agree with/expand on her own professed ideas and take into account every one of her scrawled comments on your papers. Worry about grammar more than you have ever worried about it: your grade is primarily dependent on your sentence structure. Participate in discussion. Her comments on papers can sometimes be helpful and she certainly forces you to reexamine your writing; that being said, she doesn't read final drafts of papers in a fair-minded or intelligent way.

Apr 2011

The real reason to not take any of her classes is because she is so closed minded that she refuses to accept any view but her own, which leads to a less than satisfactory learning environment. Although her comments on essays are somewhat useful and helped my writing structurally (she is a grammar nazi), if you don't regurgitate exactly what she thinks your thoughts should be, you won't get her stamp of approval. Also, annoyingly, she writes using sharpie markers and requires you to print single-sided so that her comments, which are illegible anyway, don't bleed through. I wasted so much paper.

Jan 2011

After reading the reviews about Professor Fleischer, I was scared to take this class. I was not looking forward to it at all and I was prepared to hate her. However, after going to her during office hours and getting to know her, I realized she really wasn't that bad. Professor Fleischer pushed me to do well. I would rewrite drafts over and over again until I felt it was perfect. And, I guess that's what helped. She really like dramatic differences/changes from the first draft to the 3rd and final draft. Also, I would recommend going to her office hours and seeing what she wants. She definitely forced my writing to become more clear cut and cohesive. I honestly learned so much from her and am thankful for that. She's honestly not that bad.

Dec 2010

Although her ideas weren't bad, we almost never stayed on topic and often wandered into discussions that were completely unrelated to the texts. This wouldn't have been a problem, except that in papers, Professor Fleischer basically just wants a regurgitation of her own ideas explained with perfect grammar. Although she said that she was really invested in helping us improve our writing, I know that my own did not improve at all. The only way to improve your grades in the class is to meet with her as often as possible, which won't be as often as needed considering how busy she says she is. For the required meetings she holds after first drafts, she almost always runs late, and often spends the entire time picking apart one or two sentences that might not even be that important to your argument. I did well in the class, but that is only because I tried my best to figure out what she thought about the texts and just repeated it. Always follow the advice she gives you on earlier drafts or she will hold it against you when you hand in your final copy.

Dec 2008

Elizabeth Auran is a nice enough woman, but if you're looking for an English class that will improve your writing, look elsewhere. Granted, it was a first-year english class, but I can confidently say that all of my high school english classes were better. I actually felt like my writing regressed. Her writing topics tend to be pretty interesting, however, and you do read some literature you might not otherwise have picked up, such as "the Lais of Marie de France". Unfortunately, most of the texts read for this class are translations, so it is very difficult to truly analyze them. Perhaps this is why this class felt pretty superficial. She does spark some interesting discussions, but they tend towards generalizing feminist statements. (Note: this is a female reviewer). Overall, it's a pretty good class to coast through, but if you want a challenging course that will develop your writing and analyzing skills, find a different class.

Nov 2003

whatever you do...DO NOT GET STUCK IN THIS CLASS. Fleischer was one of the most intolerable and rude teachers I have ever had. Although the workload was not to bad, she was certainly not an easy grader as our class surverys found very few people with higher than a B+ on their papers. Also, it is not possible to write a paper of your own ideas...anything you write will be crafted and directed by her own thoughts and opinions or else do not expect to pass. She does not give a *@#%^ what you have to say in class just what she has to say. The only good thing to come out of this was the much enjoyed laughter in recounting the latest horror tale of this first year seminar.

Nov 2003

OK so fleischer is not the most inspirational and enearing proffesor possible but alot of these reviews are tottaly exagerated. She is very open to class discussion and let her students comment as much as they want. Although she certainly added her own opinion, she did not condemn others views as some of the reviews said she does. Also, her office hours were always open and she gave much of her time to meeting with students to help them direct their paper topics. She was a fair grader and certainly was not unreasonable in her workload.

Jan 2003

Prof. Fleicher is rude and inconsiderate. She insists that parts of students' papers be proofread in class, which, under any other circumstances, might be a fabulous opportunity for constructive criticism-- yet, instead, she insists that students butcher each other's writing style until the resulting text resembles something she would have written herself, sacrificing often very productive stylistic elements to assure that the comma falls before the quotation mark, but that the period goes after the page citation. Her own editing comments are useless, stifling, and often somewhat limited to the grammatical, and the insigth she ofers into the reading material is bound to her most recent research project or another class she is teaching. Also, in a class meant to foster discussion, she has a tendency to make a statement, then await responses, which are only to be taken up if they are in agreement with her own position.

Jan 2003

This class was semi-enjoyable for a non-English enthusiast. We had reading assignments due every class which I found manageable, but I found out many of my classes didn't even do them and then talked about the books like they did. Vandenburg has a dry sense of humor and takes the class seriously. I found her to be semi-intimidating because of this, but she honestly really cared about her students and scheduled many out-of-class conferences with us, and contacted me by phone several times to discuss a topic I was unclear on. She's not an easy grader by any stretch of the imagination, but I feel that my ability to read deeply into works and write strong papers greatly improved over the course of the class.

Jan 2002

licia is great. she's incredibly intelligent and very nice. unfortunately the class could have been better. i've heard that she's much better teaching upper level classes.