Worst professor I have ever had. She was completely disorganized and unprofessional. Her lectures were lengthy ramblings of whatever liberal, communistic thought that popped into her head at the moment. The book was terrible as well (not even high school equivalent)and the readings were baisically useless. Though i happen to agree with many of her political views, they were fairly inappropriate and irrelevant in this context. Cohen was unable to teach objectively (not to mention engagingly)and I found that the few times i bothered to pay attention i just got pissed off. I did the BARE MINIMUM amount of work required and got an A- which didn't seem like nearly enough for what i suffered through with this useless class.
She was highly disorganized- often forgetting/losing papers, coming to class late, and repeating the same material in class week after week. The grading was inconsistant, and she even admitted writing harsh comments on people's papers because she was in a bad mood while she reviewed them. The mandatory attendance was ridiculous, particularly because no roster was ever created, so we would take time to fill out our names each class. She said she'd consider class participation despite it being a lecture and not knowing our names. The last class we introduced ourselves. This was her first time teaching at Barnard/ Columbia, so perhaps that is why she was disorganized, so hopefully for the benefit of future students her style will change. Otherwise expect a professor whose approach is pretty unprofessional.
This class is really terrible. No, wait, correction: this class is really terrible with Prof. Cohen. This woman is a disaster. She breezed in once a week to teach the class (she only taught this class, the rest of the time she teaches at Hunter College), totally disorganzied and spacy. The lectures were PAINFULLY boring. She took attendance, so I opted for no reading and all class. The lectures were textbook anyway. She always raved about her Hunter students, and you could sense an ever so slight attitude of hostility toward the class because we go to Columbia/Barnard, and therefore must be elitist brats. The papers were very stupid, especially the first, which was an autobiography. She told another student that she refuses to give As on principle!!!! Then she freaked out when the TA was giving ppl As, and tried to reduce everyone's grade! It was unreal!!! Then, to top it all off, at the final she asked what we would be writing on (seemingly unaware of the use of blue books), and since she didn't have any, we had to write on unlined Barnard letterhead. It was laughable. Seriously, spare yourself.
Only take this class with this professor if you have to. Lectures rambled and rambled and rambled, and never strayed from the book - you didn't actually have to go to class because lectures added absolutely nothing. it got to the point where I could only force myself to go to class once every two weeks (and because of the "mandatory" attendence, which was, in reality, only checked sporadically, and given my sparse attendance and my grade - in no way actually held against you).
I hated this class. Prof. Cohen taught directly out of the (boring) textbook, and I found myself bored almost into a coma. The good news, knowing things and paying attention in class was not necessary to achieve a good grade. Attending all lectures could help, but overall she was very disorganized and I don't know if she would have noticed any absence anyway. She lost everyone's grades and my paper (though it was eventually found), and wrote rude comments on some of my classmate's essays. Overall, I would skip this class.
This is an easy intro class if you want to fulfill a requirement, but not great on content. She's a nice lady and tries to bring class discussion into a large lecture, which is tough. Ernesto the TA is great, but a little hard to understand with his thick accent. Mandatory attendence is a bummer, but classes are occasionally a bit interesting.
I'm writing to combat the lukewarm reviews of Prof. Smith. I left his class with a great understanding of the impact race, gender and status has on our society. It was an eye-opening experience. As far as the course goes, yes, the first half is mainly theoretical, but it has to be, in order to lay the foundation for the second half: application of that theory via the life-story of the struggling individual. Prof Smith is down to earth and approachable. He understands the student mentality. He KNOWS you aren't gonna do most of the readings and he hones in on the major points in class. What's important to Prof. Smith is not the content of his syllabus, but the ideas that can be drawn from it -- ideas that speak volumes about the human condition. One more thing: to those who say he has "chicken-scratch for handwriting"- that may be true, but he speaks articulately enough that you don't have to rely on his short-hand. Just pay attention and you'll be fine. This class is a basic and thorough introduction to sociology. If that's what you're looking for, I reccomend you take it.
I feel really bad giving Smith a bad review, because he's such a nice guy, and his laughter is infectious. He's quite pleasant and tries to keep the class interested by cracking jokes... but unfortunately, the jokes can only go so far. Half the class stopped going around february/march (including myself) because the man just can't teach. His handwriting is horrible and he meanders around for the whole lecture, actually soliciting the class what they would like to talk about.... inappropriate!! He takes questions from the audience and tries to learn names... just teach the goddamn stuff and there would be less questions!! In any case, it's the easiest class ever. The first half really really sucks (i got a C+ on the midterm) but the end is easy and a good opportunity to up your grade. You can easily improve over the semester and be rewarded for it.
I found Smith to be intelligent and engaging. He has an extraordinary nack for phrasing his ideas perfectly-- concise and clear. I am planning on taking his Immigrant Experiences class, also. While it is true that you have to do the readings in order to follow the class, the readings are basic texts that have been useful to me in the two years since I took his lecture. Also, he took the time to learn my name (in a class of 250!) and answer my questions fully.
good prof. but random and horrible chicken scratch for handwritting. mixed feelings. took his immigrant experience class and loved it. this class was not so great. he was less approachable about pre-final draft papers and helping you go over it. still talked just as fast. sometimes hard to keep up but he keeps it interesting and funny. do not be scared by the books. don't have to read. (except for ur paper)BUT KEEP IN MIND IF YOU DON'T READ IT'LL BE HARDER TO KEEP UP DURING LECTURES ! as in he slurrs readings together. so you won't know who said what. pay good attention in class for terms. drop them during the exams. instant b+