I thouroughly enjoyed this class!!! Professor Read is laid-back with a sense of humor. He does not try to over complicate the theories and other concepts covered in the course. The reading seemed like a lot, but he tests you on the major concepts, nothing picky. The mid-term paper is on a book of your choice and allows you to pick an area of interest. Very fair professor. Some days the lectures seem dry, but he really is a good guy and I highly recommend his class.
Quite possibly the worst class I've taken at Columbia with the exception of Frontiers. Everything about this class was unclear and ridiculous. This man is utterly unprofessional. He has 8:30am office hours once a week and takes forever to return emails and phone calls. He gives ridiculous exams based on your ability to recall (i.e. memorize a huge mass of information) rather than actually applying theories. He doesn't return midterms which consisted of 105 multiple choice, true/false, and fill-in questions. The midterm was so difficult that he had to make a curve and even then a lot of people still did poorly. On top of that, our midterms had soda stains on them from when Read graded the exams...how disguisting! Oh and the TA is an incompetent nervous wreck. I would say to avoid this course at all costs!
The course isn't very challenging..... Read is a nice guy and an easy grader.... The course may not thrill you... but it won't stress you out either. Some of the material was a bit dated. I think the course would be fine for a first year... but anyone else may be bored....
This class was possibly the most disappointing class I've taken at Columbia. While Prof. Read is undoubtedly a very nice guy and tries to make lectures interesting, I walked away from the class learning nothing. Lectures lacked substance and gave bare-bones outlines of theories and theorists. Read seemed to only cover the theories he liked and left the others to be learned on your own in readings. The midterm and final were also huge jokes. The midterm tested nothing regarding criminology and consisted of a miscellaneous mix of T/F, multiple choice, and fill in the blank questions on nitpicky statistics and random keywords. The final was a three page paper on the movie "Changing Lanes." The only assignment that had any merit was the 10-page paper applying theories to real-life cases. If you're really interested in the subject and hope to learn more, this class won't help you. Stay in bed and catch an extra hour of sleep instead. but if you just need another class to fill your schedule and want a funny laidback prof, maybe this is the right class.