professor
Jason Polisar

Jun 2018

I saw the last few reviews for Professor Polisar were pretty old, and that they were also for when he was a TA. Now he's back with a PhD in hand. I felt compelled to give an updated review. Given how terrible the previous reviews were, and that scraps of parchment have a way of augmenting douchey behavior, I was expecting Dr. Polisar to have aged about as well as a used diaper in a hot car. But I was pleasantly surprised. He was a consummate professional throughout the course. The notes and handouts he provided were on point, and he made every attempt to make the material relatable and understandable. Yes, there is a lot of information that's expected to be memorized, but that's not Professor Polisar's doing, thats just the nature of chemistry. A lot of rules, a lot of exceptions to the rule. The guy literally gives you handouts that cover each rule and prioritize the exceptions, what more do you want from him? Short of breaking out the crayons, I can't picture any way he could've possibly made the class any easier while still covering the depth/breadth required by the curriculum. He tries very hard to set you up for success for the later chemistry courses. Even the class TA regularly noted how well his class prepared you for later chemistry courses. If you're moderately interested in Chemistry, do not be chased off by these old reviews. Maybe he's mellowed out over time, maybe he's one of the few professors who actually cares what's being said about him on Culpa, but given the stark contrast between the reviews and his actual personality, I have to conclude that they were either written about a different person, or that they were written by some poetry majors who watched too many episodes of Breaking Bad (their dates fit the run of the series) and thought it would be fun to tourist their way through a chemistry class. Seriously, the class is not bad. And as a physics major with a math minor who watched too many episodes of Breaking Bad and thought it would be fun to tourist through a chemistry class, I can honestly say that Professor Polisar is far above average for the hard science faculty.

Apr 2010

It's funny because the person below said almost exactly the same things I'm going to, but I'll go ahead and say them anyway (this is the review I put on his evaluation). I have to preface this by saying that I think it's totally inappropriate to swear in a course evaluation. However, when it comes to Jason, I am forced to make an exception, because there is just no better description than "asshole." Jason is the rudest, most condescending person I have ever encountered in my life. After the second exam, he stood up in class and mentioned that some people hadn't finished the test. Then he told us that he would have finished in 20 minutes. How or why that is appropriate is beyond me, and it was not an isolated incident. Jason would frequently tell us, in response to questions, that he doesn't bother even opening our textbook, saying that he didn't "need" to read the book because he could just think of the topic and make up questions for his quizzes. He said all of this in a tone that seemed to anticipate the class giving him a standing ovation for his great accomplishment, when in reality I would expect no less of any TA for any other class. He has clearly let the "power" associated with being a TA go to his head, which is too bad because I think he could potentially do a decent job if he could lose the attitude. When we went over topics in recitation, I thought he did a good job explaining, but he did so in a way that made us feel stupid for asking, or like we were inconveniencing him. Jason was also not above making fun of students in his sections. I think he is in need of an extreme reality check: being a chemistry grad student does not make you some "ruthless deity," and it certainly doesn't give you the right to treat your students (some of whom are actually older than you) as your inferiors. I came to loathe chemistry this semester, and it was mostly due to Jason. I think that basically sums it up, although it must be said that the other TA for the class (Corinne) wasn't any better. The class itself is decent (Beer is a nice guy), but unfortunately I would just not recommend this class unless there are better TAs. A good TA is important for understanding chemistry, and Jason is a mediocre teacher at best and such a horrible person that I'm not even sure he should be allowed to exist.

Apr 2010

I completely agree with the previous reviewer. Frankly, before I took Jason's section I had read that review and brushed it off as some overly dramatic person writing the review. I retract that completely after having taken his section. Jason is extremely offensive and just generally a bad person; it seems that he almost takes pleasure in his students failures. He refuses to carry a textbook, formula sheet, or anything that might be mildly helpful to students during recitation sections. He never does the homework problems, but he is granted slightly helpful with homework problems if you do ask, which is probably his only redeeming quality. I sat in the back during lecture, within earshot of Jason and his co-TA; he is constantly making rude comments and remarking on the Professor's teaching style and knowledge. If you attempt to ask him any question during a test or quiz he'll likely not even attempt to answer your question and brush it off with a "everything you need is there" statement and walk away before you can respond. Similarly, I believe that every single time we've taken a test he has remarked while passing it out something to the effect that "you guys shouldn't worry, this test took me 20 minutes to finish." This same kind of comment will come up often, as if he wants you to get on your knees and praise his genius, or validate his statements with look "oooohs" and "aaahhs." It does seem as if he's always searching for justification or something in everything that he says, which leads me to slightly doubt his actual knowledge of chemistry. If he doesn't understand a question you ask him or doesn't know how to do a problem, he'll go into a talk about his organic chemist background and how he "doesn't do this stuff" or something to that effect then just tell you to read the textbook. Though I have encountered bad TAs here before, Jason is by far the worst and I would avoid him at all possible costs. It's not just his teaching that is bad. In fact, his teaching is really not the problem at all, it's his attitude towards the class and his students in general. He acts like he has way more power than he does as a TA, and seems to think that all of his students should worship him as their superior. In short, you should DEFINITELY not take him, or any class he TAs for that matter, if it can be helped.

Dec 2009

Jason is clearly very excited about the power that he associates with being a TA. He was available and held review sessions when the other TA (Matt something) hardly even attended class. Other than that, I cannot think of a single positive thing to say about him. He is one of the rudest individuals I have ever met. He got into arguments with multiple students and has some serious aggression issues. He regularly and openly belittled students. For example, he made fun of one student's poor grades in front of a large group of students. His favorite quote is "memorize it." I think that he honestly didn't understand a lot of the concepts and was ashamed of this fact. Whatever the reason, his role as a TA is to explain concepts and not just tell us to memorize things. His lack of chemistry knowledge also made it very difficult for him to lead section. He was, frankly, the worst TA I have ever encountered. Not only did he not have a firm grasp of the material, but he is such an offensive individual that I did not even want to be in the same room as him.