Animal Behavior

Apr 2021

She's so sweet. Great for a first Upper Level Bio class, or if you want to know cool facts, or have a science but lighter load.

Apr 2021

Definitely A LOT of memorization. I don't think she's as bad as some of the previous reviews mentioned, but she can go way too into depth about some topics and then rush through the rest of her PowerPoint. Thankfully she posts the slides and her tests are pretty straightforward, only consisting of concepts and definitions she taught during lectures. One thing I appreciate about Prof. Wooley is her passion for what she teaches; it makes the lectures a lot more interesting to listen to. That being said, only take this class if you're genuinely interested in animal behavior. Otherwise, it's just painful memorization.

Apr 2021

Okay... I took this class thinking the reviews must be outdated or something. Certainly, she can't be *that* bad... but now I know I would not have taken this class if I knew what I knew now. It is not hard, per se, but my only goal is to pass so whatever. Anyway, Dr. Woolley is very passionate about the material, but I do not actually learn much from lectures. They are interesting, but you have to read the relevant scientific studies if you want good grades on exams. I only attend lectures because she produces verbal sound effects for every animal and my girlfriend thinks it's hilarious. She is very strict about deadlines and extensions.

Feb 2021

Professor Pischedda is a FANTASTIC professor. She is hilarious, kind, and genuinely wants her students to succeed and actually learn the material, not just memorize a bunch of facts. I took this course during Spring 2021 in the immersive format, so it definitely was different than in past years, especially because there were no exams. However, I feel like I learned more in this class without exams because instead, we had to write answers to "critical thinking" questions and actually take the time to apply what we learned. Take this class!

Dec 2018

After a year of waiting to write this review, I have gone back to my notes which I have kept regarding my interactions with Sarah Woolley, solely for the sake of moral justice. This is a cautionary tale for those who are considering taking her class, highlighting reactions of Professor Woolley to the unexpected situation of one of her students having a concussion a few days before the first exam of the semester. Throughout my experience she has proven to lacks basic communication and social skills, actively go against the values of the profession of teaching, and shown more empathy towards the birds she researches than her actual human students. I have never had such a bad experience with not only a teacher but any other human being that I inhabit this planet with until taking Professor Woolley's class. If you are reading this review, I would suggest do not take her class, and also do anything in your power to not have to interact with this lady until you graduate. All of this started when she refused to write me a make up exam after I was abruptly hospitalized for a concussion the weekend before the actual date, and with the doctors medical suggestion found out that I should not take the official make up but instead be administered an exam a week later. She did not reply to my emails regarding the matter, and was extremely pissed off that she had to write another make up. When my advisor interfered and she actually had to write it, she omitted information like points appointed for each question that every other student had on their exam. She was unresponsive to all of my emails throughout the whole recovery process of 10 weeks, except when she asked for my advisors email because she believed my frustration with not being able to get access to slides for the lectures I missed with a doctors suggestion was a violation of conduct due to its not so friendly tone. She literally refused to open her door during office hours before my make up while I knocked and emailed outside her door, and instead followed through with an email cancelling her office hours 15 minutes in while she was literally inside of her office and I was at the door. I managed to schedule another office hour with the interference of my advisor once again, which she cancelled the last minute (and her TA straight up did not show up to) and therefore managed to not see me before administering this make up exam. When I took the exam two weeks after my concussion without information about the three lectures I missed and got a 45, I did manage to get into an office hour with her to go over my mistakes in which she had the decency to make comments like "I do not have to see you" and call me out for my pronunciation of certain words. When I questioned her motives in correcting my pronunciation she responded with "I thought you wanted me to help you and that is why you are here", insinuating that I was trying to get points off of her I did not deserve with this office hour and not actually learn. Not only that, but she took it upon herself to correct my English as a second language pronunciation when a week prior she was literally refusing to open her door to go over questions I had about the lecture material during her office hours. This professor will treat you like dirt under her shoe until she makes you cry and not bat an eye, smirking at your face in victory while you explain to her how she is bullying you and abusing her position of power when she is correcting your pronunciation and calling that "helping you". She refuses to see, recognize or appreciate effort of any kind and is a literal adult bully that will go out of her way to make you feel insecure, incapable and inferior. I have never ever expected to interact with such an immoral professor, and am honestly still disappointed to this day that Columbia would hold such a despicable professor in their psychology department for the sake of her research. Do not take her class if you do not want to get bullied and triple the huge stress you are already experiencing in this institution.

Dec 2014

Calisi is a new professor, so she is kind of unorganized, even with her own TA to help her grade everything. She is nice, and her energy will lure you into the class as she is super bubbly and funny especially on the first day. Her midterms were not hard, but she gave multiple choice that had multiple answers, which always suck. Also, there is no curve, but usually the average is a B- to a B. The first test, we were allowed to get our grades changed in-person but she stopped doing that, saying it was too hard on her. That was fine, because we were allowed to hand-in written arguments if we wanted our grades changed. But she sent the class an email after reading the arguments saying if we studied more as much as the time put into written arguments we would've done just as well as the other animal behavior experts who got 100s. I thought remarks like that were silly and rude and over time they made me dislike her more and more - especially when most people at this school work their butts off. Anyways maybe she is just not for me but I know she annoyed a lot of people. I just don't think she knows how to write a test and her lectures come STRAIGHT from the textbook, which makes me wonder, why even have a professor? The one class that was not from the textbook was her own research, which she refused to upload her powerpoint for, saying she wanted it to be a research lecture like real scientists... Whatever... On the bright side, things I appreciated from this class 1. she sent a survey out to get our thoughts on the class mid-semester and changed some things on her test, such as making us write only on 2 lines per question. 2. she gave us 5points automatically on the final exam because she was going to be gone. 3. she makes herself really available to talk to you if you need help 4. she tried to make lecture dynamic with videos

Nov 2014

Not a great professor, but she might get better as this was her first time teaching. At first she seemed incredibly cheerful and bubbly and I was excited to be taking Animal Behavior with her, but there are two main issues that quickly became apparent during this course. Firstly, her email policy is a bit unreasonable considering how hectic Columbia/Barnard student schedules are. Although she repeatedly prides herself on being accessible, I found her policies strange and her behavior overall inaccessible. She would only look at emails made to set up meeting requests, and ignore any other questions, comments or concerns sent via email. This alone is not the worst policy, but I found that when I tried to talk to her after class she would often just tell me to set up a meeting with her, and when I tried to set up a meeting with her via email she would refuse to schedule a meeting between us since I am at work during her normal office hours. In a particular email in which I was trying to find a time to meet with her to review an exam after she had denied an initial meeting, she got a bit combative with me, which I found unprofessional. Other students may not have had such experiences, but as a particularly busy student I did. Secondly, her exam grading policies were absurd. On the first exam she would give us a short (maybe 3 inch?) line on which to write 2-3 sentence responses, and then clarified halfway through the test that any parts of answers not directly on the tiny lines would not be graded at all. The second test was better after complaints from students, and hopefully she will not do this in the future. The material is the only saving grace of the course. Calisi does know her stuff and the lectures are generally enjoyable and interesting. The material itself isn't too challenging especially after taking intro level bio, and I liked the research-driven focus of the textbook and of the lectures. Calisi's passion for animal behavior is certainly commendable, but the strictures and rules Calisi has set up for her class are not. Although I was disappointed in her this semester, I think in the future she may be a better professor.

Mar 2009

Professor Horowitz is very sweet and very approachable. Her lectures were often semi-tedious and followed the textbook pretty closely, but she had lots of interesting examples and videos. A very low-stress course. She's always willing to help if you don't understand something or just want to talk about animals. The concepts were all very straight-forward and easy to understand.

Jan 2009

Prof Horowitz is great. She has this infectious smile that keeps me awake during class (except this one specific lecture about dancing bees...embarassing because the class is relatively small). In any case, the reading is interesting and she shows videos during class! The tests are definitely doable, although there are specific examples of certain animals that she tells you to know beforehand. I would suggest going to lecture as it condenses the wordy textbook's explanation of animal mating habits and the like in a mere 1 hour and 15 minutes. Our final project was an animal study, which led me to sit in a penguin house for about 10 hours of my life. Rewarding nonetheless, as she bought donuts to our class presentations. She is wonderfully helpful, captivating, and i highly recommend this class.

Dec 2008

Dr. Horowitz is the most engaging and helpful professor I have encountered at Barnard or Columbia so far. Although the final research project seemed daunting at first, Dr. Horowitz is quick to help students arrange visits to any zoo or aquarium in NYC and answer questions pertaining to the project (or any other animal-behavior related subject) before and after class. She is also very accessible via email and responds to student e-mails quickly. Her own work on domestic dog playing behavior is fascinating, and she sometimes uses videos of her subjects (or David Attenborough videos) to illustrate concepts, which made it very easy to understand the reading and the exams. Her lectures are interesting and an integral part of the course; students who skip class will be surprised by some of the examples given on exams, so go to class and pay attention! If you do miss a class, however, you can usually access the lecture from home using iTunes. Overall, this was an enjoyable course that I would recommend highly to anyone with an interest in animal behavior.

Jan 2003

While he is a nice professor whose powerpoint lectures are organized and concise, his tests ask you to connect ideas in novel ways that were not discussed in class. He is extremely anal with his grading and hardly gives partial credit. He is often unresponsive and unhelpful with questions, and does not seem to be very knowledgeable in the subject. He also at times contradicts himself. While the material covered is very interesting, the professor is not a very good one. I would not recommend him.

Nov 2002

The professor has all Powerpoint lectures and makes them available online. I was actually fascinated by most of the material and came away with a lot of new found respect for animals and the ways they cope with their environments and each other. The lectures in class highlight the important parts of the textbook (which I thought was very readable and had some interesting pictures) and the professor is relatively organized, clear and straightforward. It is a higher level bio course, but not intimidating and definitely something I would recommend.