professor
Alheli Alvarado-Diaz

This professor has earned a CULPA gold nugget

Sep 2020

Alheli is amazing!! She's very passionate about teaching and super knowledgeable about the subject and material of the course. She's always happy to help, is open to questions ...

Aug 2015

Alheli is a queen.

Jun 2013

I have to disagree with the previous reviewer. Alheli is certainly easy, but she's not "enlightening." She would spend the first ten minutes of every class reading word-for-word a summary she had written of the reading. While this was very well-written, her points were always easy and obvious to anyone who had done the reading. And if you haven't read, don't sweat it. She allows laptops in class, so the most vocal member of our section was usually reading straight off Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. For class discussions, anyone can raise their hand and offer their thoughts on the reading. She usually guides the discussion and offers some conclusion of her own. If you say something she likes, her eyes will light up and she'll smile and nod. Usually, though, she speaks in a monotone and nods silently and absentmindedly to whatever point you raise and will call on the next person, who will try to steer the discussion in an unrelated direction in an effort to score those participation points. Some tips on getting Alheli's approval: she vehemently hates organized religion. Once she started a discussion topic on the Old Testament with "Let's talk about how the Israelites completely lacked logic or reasoning abilities here." If you don't mind sacrificing your intellectual integrity to pander to a biased teacher, Alheli is the way to go. As you can see from the workload below... well, there isn't much. Yes, this class is easy, but you won't learn much or be intellectually challenged. I deeply regret taking Alheli's class because I feel like I missed out on a crucial part of my Core experience. Alheli doesn't encourage class bonding, she doesn't try to get to know her students... heck, it took her a month to learn our names. The popcorn style of the discussion and her clear biases also mean you miss out on gaining a strong foundation in these key texts. If you care at all about your education and about growing as a thinker, do not take Alheli's class.

Jan 2013

Alheli is great. I'm puzzled by the comments suggesting that she is not enthusiastic; on the contrary, she seems deeply invested in providing insightful ideas about the texts, and guiding the discussion in enlightening ways. She does an exceptional job of moderating discussion and establishing a nice balance between her own valuable analyses and encouraging discussion. I always enjoyed her brief introduction to the texts at the beginning of each class, where she brings up some of the most significant features of the reading, and sets the tone for the ensuing discussion. I especially appreciated how she structured the class so that the emphasis was simply on the ideas present in the texts. Her comments on my first essay were quite helpful, and she allows a revision for a new grade. Overall one of my best experiences with the Core.

Jan 2012

When I first stepped into Alheli's lack, the fact that we delve into the works without introducing ourselves made me think I was on the cusp of experiencing some really strict and [potentially] mean professor. This proved to be a false impression. Alehli is truly excellent in her own respect, and a lucky choice for any sophomore taking Contemporary Civilization. I highly recommend her for anyone taking CC. The class is a no-nonsense class. Before the class Alheli always posts handouts analyzing the themes and passages of the work on Courseworks. In the beginning Alehli starts by giving a dense 10-15 minute lecture/ discussion on the work, covering major points and themes that are relevant to the discussion. She also ties in historical information, as well as important quotes and sections from the book. We then begin usually by Alheli referring us to certain passages, and after reading them we have to participate and interpret them and tie them to other sections of the work. While I do agree sometimes everyone just seems to be giving their own opinions or interpretations of the work, Alehli does try to reconcile some of the comments of the students and give her own clarification or interpretation. Moreover, this is CC, so the fact she isn't boldly making assumptions of the works is just an indication of the profound nature of the works and the freedom for students to input their own interpretations and give their own analysis. Alheli also lets us select certain passages and quotes that we found important, and she let's us build on them and allow everyone to give their own two cents, which is the norm in a humanities class. I don't know why the person below me views this class as a jumbled hodgepodge of random opinions that are never settled, because in the end I find the fact students actively give their views and participate with Alheli provides some clarification and interpretation without boldly making such difficult passages into a one-sided and definite truth is totally fine. The texts are really hard to begin with, and no one is ever completely right or wrong! Also, she does string a lot of passages and tries to show some overarching point or theme of the author. While not actively hopping and screaming in class, you can definitely tell Alehli is passionate and excited about the texts we are reading, and actively tells us her favorite parts of the works we read and why she thinks they are important or mysterious. She also integrates a lot of current events into the discussion to make the works more understandable and relatable. The only one con I had was that she does call on people, but then again she is only trying to make everyone participate since it is 30% of the grade. The pluses: no midterm to further stress you during Midterm week, and no annoying childish preclass dicussion entries or in-class quizzes or constant printed responses. You have two 6-8 papers, where Alehli actually lets you submit a draft of the first essay and she then comments and returns the drafts. The only complaint I had with this class was that her comments were all enthusiastic and somewhat ambiguous, but in the end listening to her advice is typically enough to land you in the A range. Her second essay is also a breeze. For both essays, you can also discuss to do your own topic with her. Before the final exam, she posted up all these analyses and selected passages from the works in addition to her handouts, which helped prepare a lot.

Jan 2012

The previous reviewer says that Prof Alvarado-Diaz is a wonderful discussion-facilitator -- I could not disagree more. Yes, it's true that she starts off every class by reading a passage. But this does not encourage productive or constructive conversation; rather, it invites the students to just throw out one comment after the next, creating a disjointed free-for-all, and she does nothing to try to bring the comments together in a coherent sort of way. Prof. Alvarado-Diaz lets the students sort of direct the class, which may have its benefits, but you leave each class with basically the same opinions and ideas on the reading that you had at the beginning. As for the papers, the grading seems basically fair, but her comments are weirdly arbitrary and hardly constructive. The prof does not convey any sort of excitement about the texts. This lack of enthusiasm creates for a rather dull class atmosphere. As for the good sides of the class, the prof is way better outside of class and seems to correct for all of her mistakes in the classroom –– she's cheery, conveys her own personal fascination with the texts and is really helpful in putting together an argument for the papers. Too bad none of this comes across in class!

Jan 2012

Professor Alvarado-Diaz was a great teacher for CC. She truly knows a lot of about all the texts, providing tremendous insight and guiding a deep discussion. There is not much outside work, which further emphasizes the significance of reading and considering in depth all the works. I really enjoyed not having too much homework and just getting to class to discuss the text for what it was, and not BSing my way through assignments. If you want to get rid of annoying homeworks/tasks/postings that sometimes interrupt core classes, and just get the essence of what you are studying I highly recommend Professor Alvarado-Diaz. Overall she is strict and professional, yet also kind and approachable. A great teacher to learn a lot from. With Professor Alvarado-Diaz, the core is big a hit!

Jan 2012

Professor Alvarado-Diaz was simply wonderful. She has an incredible understanding of all the texts, and this comes through in every class. She was also an excellent discussion facilitator: she really encouraged the students to lead discussions by starting with a passage and letting the class run with it, and if a question came up, she always gave an insightful answer. At first I was worried that she was going to be harsh or strict because she expects everyone to get down to business right when class starts (no talking about your weekends, etc.), but I found she was a very fair grader, offered constructive feedback on papers, and made sure to acknowledge everyone who wanted to comment during discussion, even if it meant going back to a previous topic. I highly recommend taking CC with Prof. Alvarado-Diaz if you can!

May 2011

Dear Alhelí, Your combination of youthful exuberance and scholarly skepticism is nothing short of artful. From the moment I stepped into class, I knew that I was witnessing a rare mind at work. You think deeply about the syllabus, which is reflected in your many additions and substitutions (Such as Vico, Camus, Martin Luther King, Jaspers, Ortega). You asked a lot of us in terms of reading, and challenged us to ask every question that arose in our sophomore brains. At office hours, you gave us personalized suggestions based on what we love---what you KNEW we loved. She's teaching a class this summer entitled: Revolution and Radical Politics from Marx to 1968. She knows so much.